By Mondoweiss Palestine Bureau / Mondoweiss
Key Developments (October 3-6)
A Palestinian teenager was killed as Israeli settlers attacked the Nablus-area town of Huwwara, hours after a Palestinian was killed by soldiers for shooting at a settler vehicle on the town’s main road. On Thursday afternoon, October 5th, a man was filmed shooting a handgun at an Israeli settler vehicle that was driving on Route 60, the main thoroughfare that passes through Huwwara, connecting the central and northern West Bank, and is used by both Palestinians and illegal Israeli settlers. According to Israeli media, the settler family that was in the car was on their way back to Jerusalem after visiting the nearby illegal Giv’ot Olam outpost in the Nablus area. Hours later, Israeli forces reportedly hunted down the Palestinian man, killing him. The identity of the man remained unknown.
Later on Thursday night, hundreds of Israeli settlers descended upon Huwwara in a concerted attack on the village – which has been the target of numerous settler pogroms over the past year. Local reports said settlers began damaging Palestinian homes and businesses while Palestinians attempted to fend off the attack. Palestinian media reported that during the confrontations, 19-year-old Labeeb Mohammed Dmaidi was shot and killed by Israeli settler gunfire. The Israeli military claimed in a statement that one of its soldiers fired at a Palestinian who allegedly threw a rock toward a soldier and that “a hit was identified.” A military spokesperson also said the army was “unaware” of any settler having fired a weapon during the attack, Reuters reported.
According to Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, Dmaidi’s family said he was shot in the chest while standing on the roof of his family home as he attempted to fend off settlers who were throwing rocks at the house and vandalizing the family’s car. Hundreds of Palestinians from Huwwara participated in the teenager’s funeral on Friday, marching down the main road of the town, carrying Palestinian flags – a clear act of defiance given the army’s and settler’s attacks on Huwwara and the presence of Palestinian flags in the town. Israeli forces reportedly attacked the funeral, confiscating people’s flags and shooting tear gas towards mourners. The Palestinian Red Crescent said it treated at least 58 people who had suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Two Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces, and five Israeli soldiers were injured in separate incidents near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. On Thursday morning, October 5th, Israeli forces opened fire on a Palestinian vehicle near the village of Shufa, east of Tulkarem, killing two Palestinians inside. They were identified as Abdulrahman Atta, 23, and Huthaifa Fares, 27. The two were reportedly shot after carrying out a shooting operation targeting the illegal Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz.
Earlier Thursday morning before dawn, Israeli forces raided the Tulkarem refugee camp, sparking armed confrontations with the Tulkarem Brigade, a local militia of armed resistance fighters in the camp. Israeli forces also simultaneously raided the Nur Shams refugee camp in the city. In the Tulkarem camp, fighters fired back at Israeli troops with live ammunition and explosive devices. The Israeli army said in a statement that five border police officers were injured, including at least one in critical condition. The injuries were reportedly caused when resistance fighters threw a grenade or similar explosive device towards the troops during the raid.
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Armed resistance groups in the camp from various political factions released a number of statements following the raid, claiming victory. “Our guns will not be silenced until the complete liberation of this land, from the river to the sea. Indeed, it is a revolution until victory,” the Tulkarem Brigade said in a statement. Also on Thursday morning, fierce confrontations and clashes were reported in Nablus, following an Israeli raid on Joseph’s Tomb and the Balata refugee camp in the eastern part of the city. According to local reports, Israeli military forces were escorting buses of Israeli settlers to Joseph’s Tomb to perform religious rituals, sparking confrontations with Palestinians in the area. Israeli forces simultaneously raided the adjacent Balata refugee camp, where they were met with armed fire from resistance groups in the camp. Around 100 Palestinians were injured in Nablus during the raid, including at least four with live ammunition. The rest of the injuries were reported by the Palestinian Red Crescent to be tear gas inhalation and rubber bullet injuries.
Thirteen Palestinian families have been displaced from Masafer Yatta since July 2023 as a result of coercive measures and restrictions on freedom of movement by the Israeli occupation. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Palestinian territory said in a report that since early July, 13 families comprising of 84 people, 44 of whom are children, were displaced from their homes in Masafer Yatta, also known as the South Hebron Hills in the southern West Bank. Since a May 2022 Israeli Supreme Court decision to forcibly remove the Palestinians of Masafer Yatta (around 1,200 people), Israeli forces and settlers have ramped up their attacks and restrictions on Palestinian communities in the area.
OCHA reported that those incidents have increased since this summer, following the establishment of a new military base, further restricting the movement of Palestinians in the area, resulting in “a coercive environment that has pressured residents to move out.” Israeli forces in the area have also embarked on a policy of confiscating the vehicles of Palestinian residents under the pretext that they are present “illegally” in a military “firing zone.” OCHA added that two schools in the area reported 24 students have dropped out this year, including those whose families had left the area and others who “fear the unsafe journey to school.” According to OCHA, one community in Masafer Yatta, Khirbet Bir Al ‘Idd, was completely emptied of its residents, making it the fourth such village in the West Bank that has been completely emptied due to soldier and settler violence since 2022.
- An estimated 248 Palestinians have been killed by Israel since the start of the year
- The UN has documented more than 800 settler attacks on Palestinians and their property since the start of the year