Palestinian armed confrontation continues to spread across the West Bank, while the Jewish settler movement, backed by hardline extremists in government, push for more Jewish settlements

Mondoweiss  /  April 13, 2023

Key developments (April 11– 13)

  • Israeli forces shot and killed two Palestinians and injured another on April 11 near the village of Deir al-Hatab, in the Nablus area of the occupied West Bank. The Ministry of Health identified the two Palestinians as So’oud al-Titi and Mohammad Abu Thera’. The two were reportedly members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the armed wing of the Fatah movement. The two men were reportedly involved in a shooting operation outside the illegal Elon Moreh settlement, and according to the Israeli army, allegedly opened fire towards the settlement from a car before being shot by Israeli forces. The soldiers withheld the men’s bodies, while two other Palestinians in the car managed to escape, including one who was injured. The Palestinian Red Crescent said its crews “moved a Palestinian youth shot in the shoulder with live bullets to the Rafidia hospital [in Nablus],” adding that Israeli forces prevented its crews from approaching the two other men who later succumbed to their wounds.
  • Israel imposed sweeping restrictions on Christian worshipers’ access to their holy sites in Jerusalem, ahead of the Orthodox Christian Holy Fire ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Close to 800 travel permits for Christians in Gaza were canceled without explanationfrom Israel, Gaza’s Saint Porphyrios Orthodox Church said. Additionally, Israel announced it was restricting the Holy Fire ceremony, which typically draws several thousand Christian worshipers from across Palestine and the world, to 1,800 people on Saturday. Wafa news said of the 1,800 people, 1,000 Orthodox Christians would be allowed inside, along with 600 Armenians. The remaining 200 spots were designated for “police,” Wafa said. The restrictions come on the heels of increased attacks on Christian churches by Jewish settlers. Jerusalem Churches, along with the Palestinian Foreign Ministry, condemned the measures, highlighting that last year Israeli police placed barricades throughout the “impeding their freedom to worship and witness the miracle of the resurrection.”
  • Israeli forces continued a days-long crackdown and tightening of movement restrictions on the Jordan Valley this week, in the wake of a Palestinian shooting operation that left three Jewish settlers, including one teenager dead. Following the shooting, Israeli forces have embarked on a manhunt to search for the perpetrator. Wafa reported that the military “intensified” measures at the al-Hamra and Tayaseer checkpoints in the northern Jordan Valley, stopping and inspecting Palestinian vehicles, “causing big traffic jams and long delays.” The three settlers who were killed, a mother and her two daughters, were British citizens and lived inside an illegal settlement of the West Bank. Their killing has served as a rallying cry for the extremist settler movement in the West Bank. The funeral of the two Israeli girls was attended by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, both hardline settlers themselves, who have used the killing of the three settlers to advocate for increased settlement expansion as a measure to “combat Palestinian terror.”

Important figures

  • 98 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the year as of April 11, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. At least 17 Israelis have been killed during the same time.
  • Since 2021, more than 32,089 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces and settlers, 92% of whom were in the West Bank.
  • Since January and until March 30, more than 413 Palestinians were displacedas a result of Israeli demolitions in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.