Pogrom and prayers: Settlers daven after setting Palestinian town ablaze in revenge for killing of two Israelis

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Pogrom and prayers: Settlers daven after setting Palestinian town ablaze in revenge for killing of two Israelis

The widescale attacks were described as a 'pogrom' by Yair Lapid but welcomed by Jewish Power party MK Zvika Foighel who said: 'I want to see that place burning. Metaphorically.'

Settlers setting the Palestinian town of Huwara on fire, February 26 2023. Courtesy: Twitter.
Settlers setting the Palestinian town of Huwara on fire, February 26 2023. Courtesy: Twitter.

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.

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.

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.

Hallel Yaniv, 21, and Yagel Yaniv, 19 were killed in their car near Huwara in the West Bank.

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.”

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.”

“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.

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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