Israel and West Bank unsettled once again after more deaths

Israeli Border Police officers detain a Palestinian during clashes near the Damascus Gate, outside the Old City of Jerusalem (Mahmoud Illean - AP)

 Soraya Ebrahimi

The National  /  April 10, 2022

Two Palestinian women were killed by Israeli forces on Sunday.

Israeli forces killed two Palestinian women on Sunday after one ran towards troops and the other stabbed a soldier in separate incidents in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security officials said.

The bloodshed follows a string of deadly Palestinian attacks in Israel.

There have also been Israeli raids in and around the West Bank city of Jenin, a militant stronghold, against what Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has called “a new wave of terrorism”.

Mr Bennett warned on Sunday Israel had “gone on the offensive” after Israeli forces raided the West Bank district of Jenin, home of gunmen who launched two deadly attacks in Tel Aviv.

The Israeli military said no weapon was found on the body of the woman shot in Bethlehem after she ignored soldiers’ calls and warning fire to stop approaching.

It said it had launched an investigation.

In the second incident, a woman armed with a knife was shot dead after she slightly wounded a paramilitary border policeman in Hebron, outside Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, Israeli security officials said.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed both deaths.

Israeli forces have been on high alert after attacks by three members of Israel’s Palestinian minority and two Palestinians from the West Bank that have killed 14 people in Israel since late March.

More than 20 Palestinians, many of them armed militants, have been killed by Israeli troops since January, while Palestinians have reported a rise in violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

An incident on Sunday, on a motorway near the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon, showed a country on edge.

A man tried to grab a soldier’s assault rifle and was shot dead by a senior army officer who was passing by. Many troops have been ordered to take their weapons home while on leave.

Initial Israeli media reports said the assailant was apparently a Palestinian who wanted to carry out a shooting. Police later identified him as an Israeli Jew with mental health problems.

Hussein Al Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official, said Israel’s expansion of settlements on occupied land Palestinians want for a state and visits by far-right Israelis to Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem have led to escalation at the start of Ramadan, when violence has erupted in the past.

Mr Bennett has said the assailants were “trying to destroy us” and were “moved by hatred of Jews and of the state of Israel”.

Soraya Ebrahimi – homepage editor