Mob of Armed Israeli Settlers Rampage West Bank Palestinian Village of Umm Safa, Burning Houses and Cars

Over 100 settlers rioted in the town near Ramallah under the protection of Israeli soldiers, the town’s mayor told Haaretz. The attack was condemned by Germany’s ambassador to Israel who said he was ‘shocked by another outbreak of settler violence’

Dozens of Israeli settlers rioted on Saturday near the central West Bank Palestinian village of Umm Safa, lightly injuring several residents and setting fire to a number of houses and vehicles, the sixth in a string of largely unabated settler mob attacks on Palestinian towns this week. One Israeli soldier was injured by stones thrown at the scene, while one settler has been detained by border police.

According to town’s mayor, Marwan Sabah, at least 100 settlers attacked the town under the protection of the Israeli military. ‘The Israeli army was with them and protected them,’ he said, adding that they ‘lobbed tear gas and shot rubber bullets at us.’

Sabah said the settlers ‘completely burned a home with a baby inside’ and were armed and fired guns several times.

Umm Safa, Ramallah

Israeli settlers burn several Palestinian houses and other properties in the town

— Younis | يونس (@ytirawi) June 24, 2023

According to many Palestinian media outlets, town residents burned an Israeli military vehicle in the aftermath of the attack.

Palestinian young men set an Israeli army vehicle on fire during confrontations following an attack by army-guarded settlers on the village of Umm Safa, north of Ramallah, today.

— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) June 24, 2023

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila condemned the attack and said in a statement that the settlers also threw stones at an ambulance that was carrying a patient from the village of Beit Rima near Umm Safa, lightly injuring the driver. The minister called for international intervention to ‘protect the Palestinian people from the terror of the settlers who are backed by the occupation army.’

Following the attack, the IDF spokesperson’s unit issued a statement confirming that ‘Israeli citizens set fire to Palestinian property during a violent confrontation that included the throwing of stones in the village of Umm Safa. […] An Israeli citizen was detained by the forces and handed to the Police and.’ The army’s statement further said that ‘the IDF condemns such a nationalist crime.’

A few hours after the attack, Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid took to Twitter, saying that the settlers’ violence ‘has crossed all lines,’ adding that ‘burning houses and cars of innocent people is inhumane and certainly not Jewish.’

‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should condemn this disgrace and deal with it severely. This is a moral shame and a security threat,’ Lapid added.

Germany’s Ambassador to Israel Steffen Seibert also issued a statement, saying on Twitter that he is ‘shocked by another outbreak of settler violence.’

‘Recent terror attacks cannot serve as an excuse for this. According to international law it is Israel’s responsibility to safeguard life & security of all inhabitants of the occupied territories,’ Seibert added.

Shocked by another outbreak of settler violence in #UmmSafa. Recent terror attacks cannot serve as an excuse for this. According to international law it is Israel’s responsibility to safeguard life & security of all inhabitants of the occupied territories. @IDF @israelpolice

— Steffen Seibert (@GerAmbTLV) June 24, 2023

Earlier on Saturday, a 17-year-old Palestinian arrived at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem and opened fire at the forces. The shooter, Eshak Al-Ajlouni, lightly wounded an Israeli civilian security guard before being shot and killed. According to the police, Al-Ajlouni was armed with an M-16 rifle. The wounded security guard was taken to the Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem.

Al-Ajlouni’s death occurred just hours after the Palestinian Health Ministry announced the death of 39-year-old Muhammad Idris, a resident of the Askar refugee camp near Nablus. Idris was shot in the stomach by the Israeli army on Friday morning after a combined force of the IDF and the Shin Bet security forces entered Nablus and encountered resistance.

Saturday’s events follow a series of violent rampages by settlers in several Palestinian towns after the deadly shooting attack near the West Bank settlement of Eli on Tuesday, where four settlers were killed.

According to an Israeli defense official, roughly 20 settlers set cars on fire in the Palestinian village of Hawara, the site of a rampage carried out by settlers earlier this year. IDF soldiers were brought to the area, and there are reports of settlers attacking them, forcing the soldiers to fire warning shots in the air.

On Wednesday, dozens of Jewish settlers, some armed, set fire to houses and vehicles in the Palestinian West Bank town of Turmus Ayya, including agricultural areas near the village. According to Israeli security sources, the settlers threw stones and set on fire 15 houses and 30 cars.

Over the weekend, diplomatic representatives of nearly twenty countries, including the United States, Britain, France and Sweden, visited the village and met with its representatives.

In their joint statement, the diplomats said that ‘Settlers’ violence has led to the death of one Palestinian and the injury of more than ten in recent days.’ According to them, as Israel is the occupier, it is obligated to protect the civilian population and punish those who commit acts of violence.

An Israeli senior source told Haaretz that the issue of the settlers’ violence has also come up in recent days in talks with other international counterparts as the UN Security Council is to convene for an emergency discussion on the matter.

The special UN envoy to the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, warned of a widespread harm to civilians, adding that the Israel is not doing enough to put an end to the settlers’ attacks.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan expressed deep concern on Friday about the latest spate of settler violence targeting Palestinians in the West Bank during a phone call with his Israeli counterpart Tzachi Hanegbi.

The call between Sullivan and Hanegbi came hours after Morocco officially announced the cancellation of the second Negev Forum summit – which includes Israel, the United States and several Arab countries – over ‘uncomfortable diplomatic relations’ as well as growing discontentment within the Biden administration over recent Israel policy measures.

The U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides condemned on Thursday the latest riots by settlers, saying that Washington will not abide such actions.

‘We don’t stand and watch settler violence. I’ve been very clear and very specific that we will not stand by, and we’re pushing the Israelis to take whatever action they need to take to stop those people. At the same time, my heart breaks for the families that lost a loved one 48 hours ago. My heart breaks for all these families,” Nides said speaking at a meeting with young Israelis and Palestinians organized by the Geneva Initiative organization in Tel Aviv.