June 10, 2023

A Palestinian man has been killed by an Israeli settler in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

The ministry said 28-year-old Alaa Qaysiyeh was shot dead “by the occupation” south of Hebron in the southern area of the West Bank on Friday.

The Israeli military said the Palestinian man attempted to stab a resident in the Tene Omarim settlement and was shot by an armed civilian. Israeli settlements in the occupied territory are illegal under international law.

The military said the assailant was “neutralised” and there were no Israeli casualties.

The incident occurred as people in the settlement were gathering for prayers for the Jewish Shavuot festival, Israeli media reported.

Security camera footage from the site appears to show a Palestinian male crawling in under a gate and walking into the settlement while holding a knife. The video does not show the alleged stabbing attempt or the man being shot.

Qaysiyeh’s sister-in-law, Nana, told the Reuters news agency that the youngest of nine siblings worked intermittently, largely kept to himself and was not a member of any armed groups.

She said his brother Murad, her husband, was released six months ago after 17 years in an Israeli prison on accusations of firing at an illegal settlement and wounding three people.

No armed groups claimed Qaysiyeh as a member.

Violence has surged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for more than a year, with frequent Israeli military raids and settler violence in the occupied West Bank amid a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.

Since January, more than 140 Palestinians and at least 19 Israelis and foreigners have been killed.

Israel occupied the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of an independent state, in the 1967 Middle East war. US-sponsored statehood talks have been frozen since 2014, while Israel has maintained military rule over millions of Palestinians and continued to expand illegal Jewish settlements.

Settler violence

The incident came as several European countries condemned Israeli demolitions and settler violence in the occupied West Bank, which flared again as Palestinian farmers said Jewish settlers fired at them while they were working on their agricultural land.

Bashar al-Qaryuti, a field researcher with the St Yves rights group, said Jewish settlers harassed Palestinian farmers in three different areas of the West Bank, with the backing of Israeli soldiers on Friday.

In the village of al-Mughayyir near the city of Ramallah, Palestinians said settlers fired and hurled stones at them as they were working on their land, then set their cars on fire, setting off clashes.

“We were moving bales of hay when the settlers arrived with soldiers and started firing at us,” said Murad Abu Alia, who said he counted at least 25 settlers who descended from the illegal settlement outpost of Adei Ad.

Attaf al-Naasan told Reuters the settlers poured fuel on his car and set it on fire as the soldiers watched and prevented him from reaching it.

The Palestinian health ministry said it was treating five people who arrived from al-Mughayyir, one with a critical bullet wound in the head and four others who were hit by stones and were in a stable condition.

The military said Israelis and Palestinians hurled stones at each other in the area, resulting in injuries on both sides. It said the Israelis also fired into the air and set several cars on fire, and the forces responded using riot dispersal means.

A European Union delegation to the Palestinians issued statements condemning Friday’s settler violence and calling on Israel to “halt all confiscations and demolitions in the occupied West Bank, to return or compensate for donor funded humanitarian items and to give unimpeded humanitarian access”.

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