10 Palestinians Killed, Over 100 Wounded in West Bank Raid by Israeli Forces
The deadliest violence in the last year comes as the Palestinian Authority reportedly has quietly restored security coordination with Israel
Palestinian officials say that at least 10 Palestinians have been killed, including two Islamic Jihad commanders, and more than 100 were wounded during a rare daytime Israeli army arrest raid in the West Bank.
The Lions’ Den, a local group of mainly unaffiliated fighters, said six of those killed on Wednesday in the West Bank city of Nablus were affiliated with Lion’s Den or Islamic Jihad.
The Palestinian Health Ministry reported that two men, ages 72 and 61, were among the dead. A 16-year-old also was listed as killed.
The Israel Defense Forces said the operation targeted suspects accused of shootings in the West Bank, which left at least one Israeli dead, who were holed up “in a hideout apartment,” and that its forces came under live fire but suffered no casualties. Two soldiers were lightly hurt from shrapnel during the operation, according to the IDF.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday at the opening of a meeting of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that: “All settlement activity is illegal under international law. And it must stop.” He also said in his remarks that: “Nothing justifies terrorism. It must be rejected by all.”
Wednesday was among the deadliest violence in the last year of fighting in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Over 60 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and east Jerusalem so far this year.
These deadly incursions by Israel must stop or it will lead to a massive explosion
Palestinian factions called for a general strike in several West Bank Palestinian cities for Thursday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also condemned the raid.
The Palestinian presidency called on the US administration to “take immediate action and put effective pressure on the Israeli government to stop its crimes.”
In the Gaza Strip, the ruling Hamas movement issued a veiled threat.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem condemned the raid, stating that “the occupation escalates its aggression against our people by storming today the city of Nablus and besieging the citizens, and our patience is running out.”
“The right-wing, fascist, Zionist government is concerned with escalating the situation on the ground, as it has a criminal terrorist agenda,” added Qassem.
The office of the PA prime minister told The Media Line that what happened in Nablus is a “massacre.”
According to an eyewitness, “the old city (of Nablus) looked more like a battlefield.”
Ramallah-based political analyst Esmat Mansour told The Media Line that what happened in Nablus on Wednesday “will only exacerbate an already tense situation even further.”
“These deadly incursions by Israel must stop or it will lead to a massive explosion,” according to Mansour.
Hasan Awwad, a US-based Middle East affairs expert, told The Media Line that the “the world does not care when the victims are Palestinians.”
“In the end, operations like this one show the failure and inability of the PA to achieve anything in light of its major concessions. This is also another instance in which (Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu had slapped (US President Joe) Biden in the face; An embarrassment to the US administration,” according to Awwad.
Awwad says the deadly raid is meant to “appease” Netanyahu’s base.
“This process is directed by Netanyahu at the Israeli internal politics and his partners in the coalition, and it contains a message for the Americans,” he said.
The Arab League called the Israeli raid a “heinous crime.”
“The occupation authorities and the far-right Israeli government are responsible for this horrible massacre,” said Saeed Abu Ali, the Arab League’s assistant secretary-general for Palestinian affairs.
The continued tension comes amid news that Palestinian Authority Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh met in secret with the head of Israel’s National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, despite Abbas suspending security cooperation with Israel last month.
The Hebrew-language website Walla reported that the communication through secret channels took place to discuss ways to reduce violence and to formulate the “understandings” that led to the withdrawal of a draft resolution for a vote against the settlements in the UN.
A Palestinian official confirmed to The Media Line that the PA has quietly restored security coordination with Israel.
“There is great doubt that security coordination with Israel has stopped. And now, after the news of the understandings, we see that there are still channels of communication through the Americans or directly, and there are officials in the PA that cannot sever their relationship with Israel. The issue of cutting and stopping security coordination is for public consumption, nothing more,” Mansour said.
Earlier this week, news was reported of an understanding reached between Israel and the PA under the auspices of the US, after the Palestinians agreed not to go through with introducing a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank, through the United Arab Emirates at the United Nations Security Council following pressure from Washington.
Israeli media reported that Israel agreed to suspend construction plans in the settlements and put a freeze for several months on the demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem and reducing Israeli military incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank.
The Permanent Representative of Palestine to the United Nations Ambassador Riyad Mansour denied that a draft resolution against Israeli settlements had been withdrawn from the Security Council. This is because it was “not officially presented in the first place,” Riyad Mansour told Palestinian media.
He added that efforts to confront settlements and isolate Israel culminated in the issuing of the presidential statement of concern by the UNSC.
“The PA’s acceptance of such a trade-off, even though it is insignificant, means that it is also afraid of the internal situation and its stability, the complex relationship with the occupation, the isolation it is experiencing and the deep gap between it and the street,” according to Esmat Mansour.
Meanwhile, Hanan Ashrawi, a former member of the Executive Committee of the PLO, said that the “Palestinian leadership’s feeling of weakness and the need to appease the American administration is what prompted it to accept ‘understandings’ with the Americans, back down, and withdraw a draft resolution condemning settlements in the Security Council,” which she says she considers a “reward to Israel.”
Ashrawi, who submitted her resignation in late 2020 out of her anger at the resumption of relations between the PA and Israel at the time, says that what is happening is “unreasonable” and “a farce,” adding that “Israel wants to determine what it is stealing, Less or more, or how many homes are demolished, and she tells us that she is satisfied with legalizing only nine outposts during these months … This is madness.”
“What happened in Nablus today was the result of the understanding reached with Israel. This leadership is out of touch with the people, they are only interested in preserving their own interests. That’s all,” said Awwad.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke separately on Saturday with Netanyahu and Abbas, calling on both to “restore calm.”
“The American administration cannot restrain Israel. The political track has reached a dead end, and Israel does not want to negotiate,” according to Awwad.
Since the start of this year, at least 60 Palestinian adults and children, including fighters and civilians have been killed by Israeli forces. Nine Israeli civilians, including three children, one Ukrainian civilian and a police officer have been killed over the same period.