A Jewish settler drove into two Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the Times of Israel has reported. The attack took place near the illegal settlement of Homesh, north of Nablus.
Although the soldiers did not require hospitalisation, a statement from the Israel Defence Forces described the car as "Israeli". The IDF added that the attack came just two days after settlers at Homesh attacked soldiers on Saturday as they were trying to stop settlers from throwing stones at local Palestinians.
No arrests have been made in respect of either of these attacks. Local settler officials have described the reports of the attacks as "lies and falsehood".
Settler attacks against the Palestinians and their property in the occupied territories have increased sharply in recent years. Such attacks usually take place with the support and protection of the Israeli security forces. Settlers are rarely, if ever, arrested and prosecuted for their crimes.
Israeli NGO Peace Now said that there are around 666,000 Israeli Jewish settlers living in 145 settlements licensed by the Israeli government, but illegal under international law. There are also 140 settlement outposts, which are even illegal under Israeli law.
In 2005, the Israeli government under the then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated settlers from Homesh, along with settlers in the Gaza Strip and five other settlements and military bases near Jenin, as part of its unilateral disengagement plan.
Since then, the Israeli security forces have closed off the area from the Palestinians who owned the land. Settlers have maintained their presence, however, establishing a makeshift settlement outpost in contravention of Israeli law.