Mondoweiss / November 16, 2022
18-year-old Muhammad Murad Souf was killed Tuesday after carrying out a stabbing near the illegal Ariel settlement in the occupied West Bank that left three Israeli settlers dead.
A Palestinian teenager was killed on Tuesday after carrying out a stabbing near the illegal Ariel settlement in the occupied West Bank that left three Israeli settlers dead.
The teenager was identified as 18-year-old Muhammad Murad Souf, a resident of the town of Hares, just a few kilometers away from the mega settlement, which was built on the land of Hares and several other surrounding villages.
According to Israeli reports, Souf carried out the operation in the industrial zone of Ariel, where he stabbed several people before getting in his vehicle and fleeing down the highway, where he also reportedly hit another person with his car. At least three Israeli settlers were killed while several others were injured.
After crashing his vehicle, Souf reportedly continued to flee on foot, at which point he was shot dead.
Immediately after the operation, Israeli army forces raided Souf’s hometown of Hares, closing off entrances and exits to the village, before storming his family’s home.
Wafa News Agency reported that during the army raid on Souf’s home, soldiers locked the residents of the home inside two rooms, where they were restrained using zip ties and interrogated for several hours.
In the meantime, confrontations erupted in the village in response to the raid. Israeli forces fired tear gas and other weapons at residents. Soldiers arrested at least two Palestinians, who were reported to be Souf’s cousins, aged 16 and 21.
Soldiers reportedly raided the homes of Souf’s uncles, confiscating surveillance cameras. They also took measurements of Souf’s family home in “an apparent prelude to punitively demolish it as a collective punishment,” Wafa reported.
According to Wafa, the army shut down the entrances of the neighboring Kifl Hares village on Wednesday morning, before raiding the Souf family home in Hares again, interrogating his family and taking more measurements of the house.
Israel practices punitive home demolitions as a policy against the families of Palestinians who have been accused of carrying out attacks against Israelis. After almost a decade of largely freezing the policy, after the army itself rendered it ineffective as a “deterrent” measure, Israel renewed the policy in 2014, and has used it consistently since.
The killing of Souf came on the same day that the Israeli government was swearing in a new parliament, following a fresh round of elections, which saw victory for the most far-right extremist Israeli government in its history.
In a statement U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, “We convey profound condolences to the families and loved ones of the Israeli and Palestinian civilians, including children, who have been killed in the past 48 hours.”
Just one day before Souf carried out the operation, Israeli forces shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian girl, Fulla Masalma, just one day before her 16th birthday. Masalma was riding in a car in the Ramallah-area town of Beitunia, where Israeli forces were carrying out an arrest raid in the area.
Souf and Masalma were the latest of 198 Palestinians who were killed by Israel this year, according to numbers published by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Of the 198 Palestinians killed since January, 147 were killed in the West Bank, making it the deadliest year for Palestinians in the occupied territory since 2015.
Since March of this year, following a wave of Palestinian operations targeting Israelis, primarily military targets, the Israeli military and security apparatus has embarked on a massive, open-ended campaign to quash burgeoning armed Palestinian resistance groups.
According to Israeli figures, as part of Operation Break the Wave, more than 2,000 Palestinians have been arrested during night raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2022.
Yumna Patel is the Palestine News Director for Mondoweiss