October 1, 2022

Palestinian security forces and militants agreed to a truce on Wednesday to end violent clashes in the flashpoint West Bank city, local officials said. The violence underscored the deep disenchantment with the internationally-backed Palestinian leadership.

For now, the deal to end the conflict eases tensions in the area, which on Tuesday was engulfed in some of the fiercest antagonism directed at the Palestinian Authority in years. But the truce failed to resolve fundamental and widespread opposition to Palestinian security coordination with Israel.

Clashes broke out after Palestinian security raids against local militants. The two sides exchanged fire as angry residents pelted the armored jeep with objects and drove it away. One man was reported dead. The violence resembled the way Palestinians usually protest against Israeli troops.

The unrest in Nablus reflected the deep unpopularity of the Palestinian leadership, which, because of its security ties to Israel, is seen as entrenching Israel’s 55-year military occupation of the West Bank and its nearly 3 million residents. It is also plagued by corruption and has repeatedly postponed elections.

Israel Palestinians
Palestinian security forces clashed with Palestinians after a raid against local militants in the West Bank city of Nablus on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

Nasser Nasser / AP

A semblance of normal life returned Wednesday to Nablus, known as the business capital of the West Bank. Shoppers walked around remnants of the conflict as firefighters on cranes broke up broken glass in storefronts bordering the city’s main Martyrs’ Square. Palestinian security forces were deployed in armored vehicles in the city center.

A committee of Palestinian factions and other prominent figures said that under the truce, Palestinian security forces would stop arresting suspects wanted by Israel in the city unless they broke Palestinian law. Authorities will discuss the release of one of the men arrested in a recent raid. They will also release Palestinians detained in Tuesday’s clashes, unless they have damaged property or looted.

The Palestinian Authority maintains close security ties with Israel, and the two often cooperate against Islamic militants in the West Bank. Israel has urged the Palestinian Authority to do more to curb militancy, especially in the months after a a flurry of deadly attacks against the Israelis in the spring, in which 19 people were killed.

Instead, Israel intensified its own activity in the area, sending troops into nighttime incursions into villages, towns and cities, rounding up hundreds of Palestinians and killing around 90 in the process. Israel says the vast majority of those killed were militants, while other local youths were killed when they threw stones or firebombs at Israeli troops.

Some civilians were killed in violence, among them a veteran Al Jazeera reporter and a lawyer who inadvertently entered the combat zone. In May, 16-year-old Palestinian Ghaith Yamin was killed by Israeli soldiers during clashes in the middle of a Jewish pilgrimage to the West Bank, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced at the time.

The northern West Bank, including the areas around Nablus and Jenin, a city that has long been a bastion of the armed struggle against Israel, were focal points in the raids. The Palestinian Authority has less of a foothold there and is viewed with deep suspicion because of its security ties to Israel.

That disappointment, along with rising tensions sparked by overnight Israeli attacks, boiled over into Tuesday’s clashes.

Israel Palestinians
Israeli police remove the body of Palestinian Musa Sarsour after he allegedly killed an 84-year-old Israeli woman and then hanged himself, in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.

From Balilty / AP

Israel says the strikes are aimed at dismantling militant networks that threaten its citizens and that it is making every effort to avoid harming civilians. Palestinians say the incursions are aimed at maintaining Israel’s military rule over territories they want for a future state – a dream that seems as distant as ever, with no serious peace talks held for more than a decade.

Israeli occupation of the West Bank is now in its 55th year, with no signs of ending anytime soon. Palestinians claim the entire West Bank, home to some 500,000 Israeli settlers, as the heart of a future independent state.

In Tel Aviv, police said they found West Bank resident Musa Sarsour, 28, hanged in central Tel Aviv, near the main shopping district, on Wednesday. Sarsour is suspected of killing an 84-year-old woman in a suburb south of Tel Aviv on Tuesday. Citing authorities, Israeli media reported Sarsour’s death as an apparent suicide, according to AFP.

Security camera footage, which captured the attack, shows the woman being hit multiple times from behind and falling to the ground.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who was on United Nations General Assembly in New York, called the killing “a shocking attack by a despicable and cowardly terrorist.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.