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Palestinian villages burn on second day of Israeli settler attacks

This is a developing story.

9 PM: MoH dispatches medical team including surgeons and orthopedic specialists to Huwara emergency health center following sustained attacks by hundreds of settlers on the village of Orif, the hometown of the two perpetrators of yesterday’s shooting attack. The Israeli army are protecting the settlers and “heavily” firing tear gas, rubber-coated metal bullets, and live ammunition at the residents confronting the settlers.

8.14 PM: MoH Director General of Emergency, Dr. Mustafa Al-Qawasimi, issues a statement: “A team of emergency doctors, general surgeons, emergency nurses, and ambulance crews have reached Hugo Chavez Ophthalmology Hospital in Turmusaya and set up a temporary emergency department, in light of attacks by the occupation army and settlers on the town.”

6.15 PM: A child shot with live ammunition in the head in Turmusaya is in critical condition at Al-Istishari Hospital in Ramallah. It is unclear if he was shot by settlers or the army.

4.45 PM: The Ministry of Health announces the death of 27-year-old Omar Qattin, who was shot with live ammunition in Turmusaya. It is unclear at this point if he was shot by settlers or the army.

Jerusalem24 – Noelle Mafarjeh and Shaden Hazeem – Hundreds of Israeli settlers are attacking Palestinian villages between Nablus and Ramallah for the second consecutive day, setting fire to homes and agricultural fields, vandalizing shops and destroying merchandise, and attacking houses and vehicles with stones and Molotov cocktails.

At least 40 Palestinians have been injured, including a child who was beaten and suffered injuries to the head and back, and around a dozen men who were shot with live ammunition.

On Tuesday evening, around 140 vehicles were damaged or destroyed, and dozens of homes and shops suffered varying levels of damage.

The level of damage inflicted on Wednesday afternoon has yet to be determined.

A Turmusaya resident surveys his home after it was burned down by Israeli settlers, 21 June 2023. [Source: Quds News Network]

“15 cars in 15 minutes”

Around 200 settlers, many of them armed, began rampaging through the streets of Turmusaya north of Ramallah early Wednesday afternoon, burning cars, homes, and the agricultural fields surrounding the village.

By mid-afternoon, Palestinian Civil Defense crews had gained access to the village and extinguished 25 burning vehicles, four homes, and were dealing with several fire fronts on the outskirts of the village.

Turmasaya municipality official Mahmoud Al-Shalabi tells Jerusalem24 that several residents have been shot with live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets, but that “we still don’t know how many are injured in total”.

Most of the injuries occurred when the Israeli army and Border Police entered the village to offer additional protection to the settlers, according to Awad Abu Samra, activist with the Wall and Settlements Resistance Committee.

“At first, we were able to drive the settlers out of the village for a while,” Abu Samra tells Jerusalem24. “Then the Israeli army and police came and attacked us with gas bombs, live ammunition and rubber-coated metal bullets.”

While Turmusaya is known as “the wealthiest town in the West Bank”, most of whose residents possess dual Palestinian-American nationality, it is subject to frequent attacks by Israeli settlers from the notoriously violent settlement of Shiloh nearby. Incursions into the village itself, however, and attacks of this magnitude are rare.

“They burned 15 cars in 15 minutes,” says Abu Samra.

Settlers have also begun gathering at the entrance to the village of Sinjil north of Ramallah, and the evacuated illegal outpost of Evyatar near Nablus.

Israeli incitement

Calls for “revenge” against Palestinians began emerging on social media yesterday afternoon immediately following a shooting attack which killed four Israeli settlers including a 17-year-old boy near the illegal Israeli settlement of Eli north of Ramallah.

A poster, similar in design to one disseminated on social media before a pogrom on the village of Huwara in February, called for settlers to gather at 8.30 PM at an intersection near Eli. While the previous poster explicitly called for “revenge”, yesterday’s simply advertised “a protest march”.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Israeli settlers including members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition led an incursion into the illegal West Bank outpost of Evyatar on Tuesday night, calling on the government to legalize the outpost in response to the shooting attack.

The Netanyahu administration also announced on Wednesday the immediate advancement of planning for 1,000 additional housing units in the settlement of Eli.

“They tried to burn the whole village”

Despite both Palestinian attackers hailing from the village of Orif near Nablus, the main site of yesterday’s attacks was Al-Laban Al-Sharqiyeh, the village downhill from the settlement of Eli.

The village is subjected to frequent settler and so-called “price tag” attacks, with numerous houses along the main road, immediately downhill from the settlement, graffitied with Stars of David and anti-Arab slogans.

But yesterday’s attack was different in scope and intensity, say the residents. And the nearby village of Al-Laban Al-Gharbiyeh suffered the same “huge loss and damages”.

“They tried to burn every piece of land, to destroy every single property,” Yaqoob Awais, the head of Al-Laban Al-Gharbiyeh village council, tells Jerusalem24. “They burned an entire plot of land planted with wheat along the main street, as well as shops, and around people’s homes.

When the settlers failed to set houses on fire, says Awais, they would simply vandalize its surroundings.

“They tried to burn the whole village down, to destroy it.”

In Al-Laban Al-Shariqiyeh, 12-year-old Ismail Osama Jamal Awais was pulled off his bike and beaten by settlers who pointed a gun at his head. He suffered injuries to the head and back.

At the intersection leading to the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Levona, settlers threw a Molotov cocktail at a passing vehicle. The car caught fire but its passengers escaped unscathed.

In Za’atara, journalist Khaled Taha was injured by broken glass when settlers threw stones at his car, shattering the driver’s window.

In Yassuf, a family of three were hospitalized in Martyr Yasser Arafat Governmental Hospital in Salfit after their car was pelted with stones.

Attacks were also reported in Burin, Burqa, Beit Furik, Sebastia, Turmusaya, Marda, Kafr Aldeek, Beiteen, and Huwara.

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