Middle East Eye / December 19, 2022
US offers ‘deepest condolences’ over deaths of two Palestinian brothers killed after Jewish settler rammed car into them.
The United States has joined a call for a probe into a deadly incident over the weekend, in which two Palestinian brothers were killed after a Jewish settler rammed into them in the occupied West Bank.
The US Office of Palestinian Affairs Office, Washington’s diplomatic mission to Palestinians, on Sunday offered its “deepest condolences” to the family and said that the US supports a “thorough police investigation into this tragedy”.
The brothers, Mohammad and Muhannad Yousef Muteir, from the Qalandia refugee camp in Jerusalem, were killed on Saturday night just south of the West Bank city of Nablus.
A car driven by a 50-year-old Israeli man hit a vehicle belonging to the two brothers, which had parked on the side of the road, according to the Israeli emergency service, Magen David Adom.
The brothers were fixing a punctured tyre when the settler drove his vehicle into them, the WAFA news agency reported. The driver was briefly hospitalized after the collision.
Mohammad Muteir died at the scene and Muhannad Muteir was pronounced dead at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
Israeli police opened an investigation into the incident but said it believed after an initial assessment that the settler accidentally hit the Palestinian brothers.
Palestinian politician Mohammad Shtayyeh called the attack a “horrific crime” and said it was an intentional ramming attack. Palestinian news outlets said the two brothers had been with their family in Nablus, preparing for their sister’s wedding next Friday.
Shtayyeh on Monday urged the United Nations to deploy monitors to the roads in the occupied West Bank, according to WAFA.
Zakaria Fayala from the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governorate’s branch office in Qalandia said in a statement that the driver “deliberately” sped up his car before striking the Muteirs.
Several Palestinians were injured or killed in car-rammings by suspected settlers between December 2021 and January 2022, including Suleiman al-Hathalin, a 75-year-old activist and community leader from Masafer Yatta, who died in January after succumbing to wounds he suffered from being run over by an Israeli police tow truck.
Israeli violence against Palestinians
The car-ramming also comes during a time of heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank, with a spike in Israeli violence against Palestinians this year as well as a resurgence of Palestinian armed resistance.
Earlier this week, the Israeli army confirmed the killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian girl during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.
The US also called for “accountability” following the killing.
Since the beginning of the year, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces has risen to 218, including 52 in the Gaza Strip and 166 in the West Bank, making it one of the deadliest years on record for Palestinians since 2005.
Israel has recently been conducting raid-and-arrest operations across the West Bank on a near-daily basis, often killing or wounding Palestinians in the process.
The operations have resulted in more than 2,500 arrests, according to Israeli authorities. Many of the deadly raids have occurred in the Jenin and Nablus areas.
Israel’s “shoot-to-kill policy” has been widely criticized, as the number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of its forces increases.
Meanwhile, 29 Israelis, including soldiers, have been killed by Palestinians in the same period, the highest number since 2008.
The US has expressed alarm over the violence and has been urging Israel and the PA to act and cooperate in tackling the issue.