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Settler killed, Palestinians fear reprisals

By Sara Sidner, CNN
updated 7:31 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police: Palestinian man kills an Israeli settler in the West Bank
  • Assailants stab a Palestinian man in a Jerusalem neighborhood
  • Israeli says it makes a "direct hit" on a suspected terrorist in Gaza
  • A Palestinian says the airstrike killed a hospital security officer

Jerusalem (CNN) -- The body shrouded in white with blue trim passed through the crowd of mourners who wept openly. Hearts broke as a small child was held up to kiss his deceased father goodbye for the last time. The boy was one of five children suddenly left fatherless.

Eviatar Borovsky, 31, had no idea his life would end Tuesday at the beginning of his day. Israeli police say he was attacked at 8:30 in the morning doing the most mundane of tasks, waiting at his local bus stop.

He died a violent death.

Borovsky was a Jewish settler living on land in the West Bank that Palestinians say was stolen from them. He lived in the Itzar settlement, a community known to foster hard-core Jewish believers who have often clashed with their Palestinian neighbors.

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Borovsky thought where he lived was dangerous enough to carry a gun.

Police say he had it on him when he was attacked but it ended up being used against him. Police say a Palestinian who had just been released from an Israeli prison for stone throwing attacked Borovsky by stabbing him three times, then snatched Borovsky's gun and shot him with it.

It happened feet away from a checkpoint, under the watching eye of a watchtower.

Other settlers who live in the area said they had been warning the government for a while that they needed more protection against Palestinian attacks.

"We are in an area where there are security threats. This is not the first time that a Jewish resident has been targeted by terrorism. Just a few months back there was a similar attack a teenage boy was also stabbed," said settler David Ha'ivri.

In March 2011, Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children were killed in the West Bank.

The tension between Palestinians and settlers in the West Bank are suddenly on high again.

Retaliation for harm done by one community to another is a fixture of life. It is almost as certain as Newton's law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The reaction came when young Jewish settlers began setting fires around the closest Palestinian village, Asira al-Qibliya. The settlers also lashed out by throwing rocks, by hand and slingshot, at the Palestinian villagers living below.

Authorities said the Palestinian suspected in the killing wasn't from the village being targeted. But that didn't seem to matter.

The Israeli army showed up and for a time played a cat and mouse game with settlers who were setting fires, throwing stones and running away.

It was just a year ago Asira al-Qibliya was the scene of a shooting in plain sight of Israeli soldiers. A settler injured a Palestintian man in that incident.

A Palestinian mother whose home happens to be on the front line of the war over land in that area took video of the May 2012 incident.

She was out on her roof again this year watching as tear gas, stones and fires erupted below her.

Her outer walls show scars of past battles. She begins to cry because she says she doesn't want her children to have to live in fear.

"It is a very difficult life, it's a life of suffering and always living in fear. I get agitated," said Khader Maklouf. "I can't speak when I see my children, my daughters, afraid. It is something very difficult."

Residents say the difficulties had subsided for a time after the Israeli army moved into a small outpost over looking the area.

Now both communities fear a return to a life where violence is the norm -- not the exception.

A second stabbing incident

Another stabbing took place Tuesday in the Jersualem neighborhood of Mea Shearim, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The assailants who stabbed a Palestinian man fled the scene, Rosenfeld said. The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Gaza airstrike

An Israeli airstrike in Gaza targeted a man suspected of taking part in the Eilat attack earlier this month, the Israeli military said.

Israel Defense Forces said it targeted 24-year-old Hithem Ziad Ibrahim Masshal in the strike, and that "a direct hit was confirmed."

But Ashraf Al Qudra, spokesman for the Palestinian health minister in Gaza, said the strike killed a 29-year-old hospital security officer riding on a motorbike.

Another person riding on the bike was seriously wounded, medics said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said militant rocket attacks, like the one that prompted the Israeli airstrike, aren't acceptable and won't be tolerated.

"We will act, and are acting, in order to defend Israeli citizens," he said Tuesday.

CNN's Kareem Khadder, Michael Schwartz and Saad Abedine contributed to this report.

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