June 25, 2024

The killing of 19-year-old Labib Dumaidi comes amid a period of rising settler violence across the West Bank.

A Palestinian has been killed when a group of Israeli settlers attacked the town of Huwara, amid a surge in settler violence across the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Labib Dumaidi, 19, was shot in the heart by an Israeli settler, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Friday.

Relatives said he had sought refuge on the roof of his home, which was under assault from settlers, when a settler shot him.

The Israeli military has offered a different account, stating that a suspect was shot after throwing a brick at a vehicle, but offering no details on the victim’s identity.

“More than 200 settlers gathered in the middle of Huwara after midnight, shouting and dancing, some of them with covered faces,” Palestinian resident Abderrahman Dmidi told the news agency AFP.

“They began throwing stones towards some houses, and then the young people … tried to defend their homes by throwing stones,” he added. Residents said Israeli soldiers turned a blind eye to the violence.

“It’s clear that the settler militias are protected by the occupation’s soldiers,” Thaer Qawareeq, an employee at a supermarket damaged by the settlers in Huwara, told the Reuters news agency. He added that it was the third time that settlers had assaulted the store.

The killing of Dumaidi, a university student, has come amid a rise in settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, including instances of mob violence targeting Palestinian towns and residents, often in the presence of Israeli soldiers. Some of the assaults have followed attacks by Palestinians on Israeli settlements and settlers.

The attack on Friday came a day after a Palestinian gunman shot at an Israeli car in Huwara. The town is located on a road between the Palestinian cities of Nablus and Ramallah and is surrounded by Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the killing of Dumaidi a “heinous crime”.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that at least 51 Palestinians were injured during a funeral procession for Dumaidi, as Israeli forces fired tear gas, rubber-tipped bullets, and live fire.

Settler violence against Palestinians has seen a substantial uptick over the last year, occurring at a rate of three per day for the first eight months of 2023, according to the United Nations.

While Palestinian attacks on residents of Jewish settlements often meet harsh countermeasures, accountability from Israeli authorities in cases of settler violence has been rare. Palestinians have said that the impunity is part of a deliberate campaign to push them off their land.

Huwara itself has been the scene of some of the most notable recent cases of settler violence: following the slaying of two Israeli brothers by a Palestinian in February, a mob of right-wing settlers rampaged through the town, firing weapons and killing a 37-year-old man.

Israel’s far-right Minister of Finance Bezalel Smotrich aroused controversy when he commented that Huwara should be “wiped out” several days after.

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