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Middle East: Israel: Far-right MP welcomes settler violence

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The situation in the occupied West Bank has spiraled out of control. Israeli settlers set houses and cars on fire. “That’s what I want to see,” announced a member of parliament from a coalition party.

A deputy from the extreme right-wing coalition party Ozma Jehudit in Israel expressly welcomed the serious riots by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. Such acts provided the necessary deterrent after the deadly attack by a Palestinian on two young Israeli settlers, Knesset member Zvika Fogel told Galei Israel radio station. Police Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also belongs to his party.

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In revenge for the attack in the town of Huwara south of Nablus, Israeli settlers set fire to dozens of houses, shops and cars on Sunday evening. One Palestinian was killed and hundreds injured in the riots in Huwara and neighboring towns. The Israeli army said the Palestinian man who was killed was not shot by soldiers.

The search for the suspect in the attack continues. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had called on the Israelis not to take the law into their own hands and to trust the security forces. However, MP Fogel said of the riots: “After a murder like yesterday, the villages must burn if the army does nothing. Huwara closed and burned, that’s what I want to see.”

The security situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories has long been extremely tense. However, since Netanyahu’s right-wing religious government took office two months ago, it has once again come to a head.

Since the beginning of the year, twelve Israelis and one Ukrainian have been killed in Palestinian attacks. In the same period, 63 Palestinians lost their lives – they were killed, for example, in confrontations with the Israeli army or in their own attacks.

Israelis and Palestinians in direct meeting in Jordan

At a meeting in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba on Sunday afternoon, confidence-building measures by Israel and the Palestinians were agreed. Government officials from the USA, Jordan and Egypt also took part in what are believed to be the first direct talks of this kind between the two sides in years. Another meeting has been scheduled for next month in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Israelis and Palestinians wanted to suspend “unilateral measures” for three to six months, they said in a joint statement without giving further details. Israel pledged not to discuss building new settlements in the West Bank for four months and not to approve new settlement outposts for six months.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand, said on Twitter that Israel had not committed to any construction freeze. The expansion and legalization of settlements in the West Bank should proceed as planned.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who controls, among other things, the construction of the settlement, wrote on Twitter: “The expansion and development of the settlement project will not be frozen for a single day.” The Israeli army will also crack down on terrorism throughout the West Bank without any restrictions, he stressed.

No explanation was given for the apparent contradiction between the statements made by the government politicians and the Israeli negotiating delegation in Aqaba.

Source: Stern

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