Settlers Attack Palestinian Homes Near Nablus. Attacks Reported In Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah
Sunday March 13, 2011 16:48 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
Dozens of armed Israeli settlers attacked late on Saturday at night and early Sunday at dawn dozens of Palestinian homes in Huwwara town, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus. The settlers also attacked a number of areas in Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah.
The settlers first gathered at the Zaítara roadblock, north of Huwwara, and south of Yitzhar illegal settlement.
Eyewitnesses reported that the settlers hurled stones at local vehicles, torched several vehicles and broke into a number of homes after surrounding them.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army blocked Route 60 that links Ramallah with Nablus due to increasing settler attacks.
Hundreds of local residents took to the streets to counter the heavily armed settlers who attacked their town while soldiers stood near the entrances of Huwwara and refrained from removing the settlers from the Huwwara.
Furthermore, settlers hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles driving near Ofer settlement, near Silwan, east of the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
In the Hebron district, settlers torched a vehicle and wounded a child in Beit Ummar town. The settlers attacked several Palestinian homes located near the Ramat Yishai illegal settlement in Tal Romeida area in the city.
Settlers of the Keryat Arbaí settlement in Hebron attacked a number of homes near the settlement. Settlers of the Kharsina settlement, east of the city, also attacked a number of nearby homes. Damage was reported in both areas.
Local sources in Beit Ummar said that the attack against their town was carried out by at least 250 settlers, and that the settlers hurled stones at local homes and vehicles, while a child was moved to a local clinic after inhaling gas fired by the Israeli army.
Furthermore, a group of settlers attacked homes in Al Arroub refugee camp, located on the main road that links between Hebron and Bethlehem; damage was reported, no injuries.
Five members of Abu Aker family were wounded on Saturday evening after being attacked by a group of armed settlers. The family was driving on the Jerusalem-Hebron road while driving back to their home in Bethlehem.
The settlers said that they are avenging the death of five family members, including an 11-year old, 4-year old, and 3-month old baby in the northern West Bank, who were stabbed to death in their home, on Friday night, after an infiltrator made it into Itamar settlement and entered the home of the settler family.
Izzat al-Rishiq, a member of the political bureau of the Hamas movement, said that Hamas had nothing to do with this attack, adding that the Hamas movement and other Palestinian resistance groups do not target children.
Al-Rishiq speculated that the attack could have been criminally motivated, similar to other brutal crimes that have shocked Israeli society in the past.
The Palestinian Popular Committee Against the Wall, which represents the non-violent movement in Palestine, also condemned the attack, and expressed their sorrow and condolences for the family.
In their statement, the Committee added that they view the murders as part of the escalation generated by the policies of the Israeli occupation, as these policies created the circumstances out of which these heinous acts arose.
The Committee stated, "Although the crime was committed on colonized land, we see the killing of children as a despicable crime, regardless of nationality, gender or religion."
On Saturday at night, the Ministerial Cabinet for settlement affairs held a meeting and decided to approve hundreds of new units for Jewish settlers in Gush Etzion, Maaleh Adumim, Ariel and Keryat Sefer.
The meeting was headed by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and was attended by Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, and ministers Moshe Yaalon, Benni Begin, and Matan Vilnai.