PALESTINE

Tue 16 Apr 2024 1:53 pm - Jerusalem Time

‘Dismantle Armed Settler Militias’ – ICC Urged to Take Action Against Illegal Settlers

Two Palestinians were killed this weekend after hordes of armed settlers attacked multiple villages in the West Bank, opening fire on its residents and setting properties alight.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue arrest warrants against illegal Jewish settlers who are committing crimes in the West Bank and also called for international intervention to compel Israel to halt settlement expansion.

Two Palestinians were killed this weekend after hordes of armed settlers attacked multiple villages in the West Bank, opening fire on its residents and setting properties alight.

According to the Anadolu news agency, the Palestinian ministry in a statement urged the court to swiftly issue arrest warrants for extremist settlers and their backers who commit crimes against Palestinians.

The ministry also called on the international community to urgently intervene to force Israel “to cease all settlement activities, dismantle armed settler organizations and militias, withdraw weapons, halt funding and punish those providing support and protection,’ the report said.’The statement also reportedly called for “imposing binding international sanctions on the entire colonial settlement system, deeming it illegal and illegitimate.”

Ambulances Attacked

On Friday, at least 1,500 settlers, accompanied by Israeli forces, stormed the town of Al-Mughayir, northeast of Ramallah, the official Palestinian news agency, WAFA, reported.

Jihad Abu Aliya, 25, was shot and killed by live ammunition fired at his home. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that the settlers opened fire on one of its ambulances on the way to reach the wounded in the town. The PRCS also said it dealt with at least 18 cases of injuries, one of them critical. Eight of those injuries were due to live ammunition fired on the residents. Around 40 Palestinian homes and vehicles were set alight. Jewish settlers reportedly claimed to be searching for a 14-year-old Jewish boy who went missing on Friday morning. His body was later discovered, according to reports. On Saturday mobs of settlers continued their rampage across the West Bank. The Ministry of Health confirmed the killing of 17-year-old Omar Ahmed Hamed due to critical injuries sustained during an attack by settlers on the village of Beitin, northeast of Ramallah, reported WAFA.

At times accompanied by Israeli forces, armed settlers attacked several other villages including Abu Falah, Duma, al-Sawiyeh and Huwara.The PRCS said Israeli forces attacked an ambulance on Saturday and smashed the vehicle’s windows in the town of Duma, in the Nablus district. Ali Dawabsha, a resident of Duma, told the Palestine Chronicle that when the body of the missing settler was found, hundreds of settlers stormed the village.

The settlers came down from the mountains surrounding the area and began burning Palestinian homes. “The scene was heartbreaking. Clouds of smoke rose from our houses and we could not do anything. It was truly a difficult day,” Dawabsha said.

Village Entrances Blocked

On Sunday morning, Israeli occupation forces blocked the entrances to the village of Al-Mughayir, northeast of Ramallah, preventing anyone from entering or leaving. Settlers also attacked shepherds in the Khalila area near the village on Sunday, pelting them with stones. The main entrances to the towns of Turmus Aya and Sinjil, located northeast of Ramallah were also closed off by Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas on Saturday called on the Palestinian Authority and its security forces to protect Palestinian people amid the escalation of settler violence in the West Bank.

In a statement, Hamas said that “the escalation of frenzied attacks carried out by the settler militias (…) are war crimes committed by the Zionist enemy”. The statement also called on the PA and its security forces to “practice their role entrusted to them, to protect our people suffering under the weight of daily raids and invasions, operations of killing and arrests, and daily crimes of the settlers”. In recent months, the Israeli government has distributed thousands of firearms to Jewish settlers and militias. Last month, far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir celebrated the fact that his office had approved 100,000 gun licenses since October 7.

WAFA reported that according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, hospitals in the West Bank have treated more than 55 injuries, ten of which were serious, most of them from live bullets in the recent escalation. This is in addition to dozens of injuries treated by ambulance crews at the scene.More than 463 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers’ gunfire in the occupied West Bank since October 7, according to the ministry, the report added.

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‘Dismantle Armed Settler Militias’ – ICC Urged to Take Action Against Illegal Settlers

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