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Occupied West Bank witnesses painful wave of Israel's settler attacks

Palestinians extinguish fire at an olive tree grove that was allegedly set ablaze by Jewish settlers in the northern West Bank village of Salem, east of Nablus, on November 14, 2010 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
A Palestinian man extinguishes fire at an olive tree grove that was set ablaze by Israeli settlers [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/ Getty Images]

Tens of Israeli settlers on Friday raided the town of Burqa, north of the West Bank city of Nablus, and torched and opened fire on Palestinian homes, eyewitnesses and activists reported.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that scores of armed settlers attacked Burqa, indiscriminately opened live fire on the residents, attacked houses and set a shack on fire.

Palestinian residents made a distress call to Palestinians in the surrounding villages and towns to help them repel the settler attack. They fended off the attack and managed to put out the fire.

Daghlas reported that a Palestinian youth sustained a head injury, and dozens of others were treated at the scene for tear gas suffocation.

Meanwhile, Israeli settlers gathered on Nablus-Ramallah Road near Al-Lubban ash-Sharqiya village to the south of Nablus and attacked Palestinian vehicles with stones, causing damages to cars.

This came one day after a group of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian vehicles and blocked a traffic artery to the east of Hebron.

Aref Jaber, a local anti-settlement activist, explained that scores of settlers gathered close to the Israeli settlement of Kharsina, east of Hebron, and hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles, causing damage to them.

Jaber also indicated that Israeli settlers closed the main road connecting Hebron with Bani Neim, Sammoa' and Yatta.

At the same time, dozens of Palestinians suffocated from tear gas fired by the Israeli occupation forces during clashes that broke out in the Bab Al-Zawyeh area in Hebron.

READ: Israeli settlers attack Palestinian villages in northern West Bank

Israeli forces stationed at Al-Shuhada Street checkpoint stormed central Hebron amid the firing of tear gas canisters and stun grenades towards residents and shops in the area, spurring clashes with residents. Dozens suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.

This followed the killing of an Israeli settler near the settlement outpost of Homesh, north of Nablus, on Thursday night.

On the same day, Thursday, Wafa News Agency reported that the Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian and wounded 70 others in Beita village in Nablus during a protest against Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Killing a Palestinian and wounding 70 others came just a few days after shooting and killing another man in Nablus following a raid on his home. Another two were injured after being run down by an Israeli military vehicle.

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem stated: "The [Israeli] military avoids confronting violent settlers as a matter of policy, although soldiers have the authority and duty to detain and arrest them."

However, B'Tselem added: "Israeli security forces routinely enable settler violence against Palestinians and their property. As a rule, the military prefers to remove Palestinians from their own farmland or pastureland rather than confront settlers."

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