Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank Friday left a man in critical condition and drew international condemnation, including from the US.
Settlers on Friday attacked local farmers and set cars and farms alight near the villages of Turmosayia and Al Mughayyer north of Ramallah, eyewitnesses told CNN and local journalists.
One man remains in critical condition in the hospital on Saturday, having been shot in the head, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight others were injured.
“We are deeply concerned by the rising trend of extremist settler violence, including reports of attacks against Palestinians in homes and farms in which they have lived for decades,” the US State Department said in a statement. “We unequivocally condemn all acts of extremist violence, whether Israeli or Palestinian.”
In a statement to CNN, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – which enforces security in the Israeli-occupied West Bank – acknowledged that Palestinian cars were set alight and said Israeli security forces attempted to disperse “the confrontation.”
But the IDF also blamed both sides for the incident and said both Israelis and Palestinians were injured. “A violent confrontation was instigated in the Shilo Valley, involving Palestinians and Israeli civilians,” the IDF said. “The confrontation involved mutual stone-hurling and Israeli civilians firing into the air.”
Speaking with Israeli Army Radio, an unnamed Israeli security official said that the Israeli government would work to bring the perpetrators “to justice.”
“These are a handful of criminals who are agitating the area, harming security and bringing a bad name to the entire settlement in Judea and Samaria,” the official said, using the biblical name that some Israeli Jews use to refer to the West Bank.
The European Union diplomatic mission to the Palestinians called on the Israeli government to “take decisive steps to ensure accountability and protect the Palestinian civilian population.”
The US State Department also condemned a reported attempted stabbing Friday of an Israeli in a settlement south of Hebron, also in the West Bank. The alleged assailant in that incident, 28-year-old Alaa Khalil Qaisiyah, was shot dead.