Hundreds of Jewish settlers went on a revenge rampage in the West Bank on Sunday night, setting over 25 cars and 15 houses on fire, leaving one Palestinian killed and over 100 injured.
Settlers marched from the Tapuach junction in the West Bank to the Palestinian town of Huwara in the northern West Bank, chanting “revenge” for the terrorist attack that killed two Israeli brothers earlier in the day.
Video documentation showed large parts of Huwara burning, with Israeli soldiers having to rescue a Palestinian family whose house had been set on fire while they were inside. Eight other families were evacuated from burning houses.
An IDF official described it as a “horrible” night and that the military was the arson attacks in Hurawa as “terror.”
“We are trying to prevent other nationalist crime in the area,” the official said.
Angry settlers chanting “revenge”while marching toward the West Bank town of Huwara where two Israelis were killed in a terror attacked today. No Israeli security forces in sight – https://t.co/M4C1XYAdy4
— Jotam Confino (@mrconfino) February 26, 2023
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent medical service, 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash after being shot, while two other Palestinians were shot and wounded. A third person was stabbed while a fourth was beaten with a metal bar.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Herzog and Finance Minister Smotrich all called on the vigilantes “not to take the laws into their own hands” but instead let the IDF do its job, searching for the terrorist who killed two Israeli brothers, Hallel Yaniv, 21 and Yagel Yaniv, 19 earlier in the day.
Settlers taking a break from carrying out a pogrom in Huwara to daven maariv (evening prayer). pic.twitter.com/OMbKmqXSRO
— Benzion Sanders (@BenzionSanders) February 26, 2023
Hallel and Yagel, both resident of the West Bank settlement of Har Bracha, were shot and killed while sitting in their car in broad daylight in the Huwara. A family member said “a massive hole” was left in hear heart that would never be filled.
An extensive manhunt was launched after the assailant fled on foot. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack, calling it a “natural response” to the Israeli occupation.
UK ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, condemned both the killing of Hallel and Yagel, but also described the scenes in Huwara as “terrible”, calling on Israel to “tackle settler violence, with those responsible brought to justice.”
Terrible news of the attack against Israelis near Huwara, killing brothers Hillel and Yigal Yaniv. I condemn such violence, which worsens the situation in the West Bank. We send our condolences to the family of the victims.
— Neil Wigan (@FCDONeilWigan) February 26, 2023
Shortly after the two brothers were killed, settlers began organising a “revenge” march, issuing posters on social media encouraging people to join a march toward Huwara that same night.
Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli, and Israeli journalists on the scene all described it as nothing short of a pogrom.
Meanwhile, far-right lawmaker far-right lawmaker from Jewish Power party, Limor Son Har-Melech, published a photo of herself at the entrance to Huwara, saying she came to support the “protests.” Her colleague, Zvika Foighel from Jewish Power party, defended the settler attacks in Huwara, saying they had “achieved deterrence.”
Horrified by scenes of settler violence in Huwarra & nearby villages yesterday, with approximately 400 Palestinians injured and tens of homes, businesses and cars torched. Settlers responsible for this violence must be brought to justice. #PeaceSalaamShalom must prevail. 1/2
— UKinJerusalem???????? (@UKinJerusalem) February 27, 2023
“I want to see the place burning. Metaphorically speaking,” Foighel said. Lapid immediately called on Foighel to be jailed for incitement to terror.
Israeli authorities arrested 10 settlers suspected of being behind the arson attack in Huwara. The violent attack was described as a “terrorist acts carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces” by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Last night, Jewish Settlers went into the Palestinian town of Huwara and started a riot, burning down the homes and cars of the villagers. This was carried out in retaliation to an earlier terror murder of two Jewish brothers. This is mob rule and can never be acceptable
— Adam Cannon (@adam_cannon) February 27, 2023
The U.S. and EU also condemned both the killing of Hallel and Yagel and the following revenge attacks in Huwara.
Later on Sunday evening, a large group of settlers entered the evacuated illegal outpost of Evyatar in the northern West Bank, vowing to restore it as a response to the killing of Hallel and Yagel. Israeli security forces later moved in to evacuate the settlers once again.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited Evyatar on Monday, calling on the illegal outpost to be rebuilt. “We are at war,” he said.
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