Israel vows more settlements amid West Bank violence

Israeli leaders call for expansion of settlements in West Bank as two Palestinians and an Israeli killed on Friday.

Palestinian crossing at Qalandia checkpoint to pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque
Clashes broke out at the Qalandia checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Friday [Atef Safadi/EPA]

Two Palestinians and an Israeli settler have been killed in the occupied West Bank, as Israeli leaders threaten to build more Jewish-only settlements in the territory. 

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Tayseer Habash, a 63-year-old Palestinian from the Nablus area, died on Friday due to excessive tear gas inhalation, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health.

The incident took place at the Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah as Israeli troops fired tear gas during clashes with Palestinian youth.

“There were lots of people because it’s the last Friday of Ramadan,” Erab al-Fuqaha of the Palestinian Red Crescent told Al Jazeera by telephone. “There was some pushing, and the Israelis fired a lot of tear gas.”

In a video posted on social media by the Activestills collective photo agency, Israeli soldiers are seen hitting Palestinians with batons, throwing sound grenades, firing tear gas canisters and threatening to “use force”. 

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In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, a Palestinian woman was shot dead by Israeli forces during an alleged stabbing attempt, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld wrote on Twitter. 

Outside Otniel, a nearby illegal Israeli settlement, an Israeli man died and three of his relatives were injured when their car flipped after allegedly coming under fire by a Palestinian assailant on Friday afternoon, Israeli media reported. 

Although unable to comment on the Qalandia clashes, an Israeli army spokesperson told Al Jazeera the three people injured in the crash near the settlement were evacuated to a hospital.

“Forces are now searching the area for the assailant,” the spokesperson said by phone on Friday afternoon. 


Friday’s violence came just a day after a Palestinian teen was shot dead after entering the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron and stabbing to death Hallel Yafa Ariel, a 13-year-old Israeli girl. 

Within hours, Israeli forces blockaded Bani Naim, the assailant’s village near Hebron, activist Issa Amro told Al Jazeera on Thursday night. 

On Friday, the Middle East “Quartet” – the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – published a report calling on Israel to stop building settlements. 

Israel’s policy of usurping Palestinian land in order to expand existing settlements and build new ones “is steadily eroding the viability of the two-state solution”, the Quartet said in the report.  

Yet, at the girl’s funeral in Kiryat Arba on Friday afternoon, several Israeli politicians vowed to expand Jewish-only settlements across the occupied Palestinian territory, Israeli media reported. 

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Referring to areas in the West Bank and present-day Israel, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, a member of the ultra-nationalist Jewish Home party, said: “We will build in Sarona and Kiryat Arba, in Jaffa and Jerusalem, in Itamar and Beersheba.” 

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, the girl’s cousin and a key figure in the Israeli settlement movement, said building settlements was needed “now more than ever” and called for “Israeli sovereignty” in the West Bank.

Yehuda Glick, a far-right Israeli politician, called for Israel to annex the West Bank and Jewish-Israelis to increase their excursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site for Muslims. 

More than 530,000 Israelis live in settlements – considered illegal under international law – across the West Bank, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. 

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Source: Al Jazeera