Palestinians, IDF clash in second day of violence near al-Mughayer

UN official slams Jewish terrorism, Steinitz rejects the allegation.

Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli forces towards Palestinians during clashes in al-Mughayer village near Ramallah, January 27, 2019.  (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
Tear gas canisters are fired by Israeli forces towards Palestinians during clashes in al-Mughayer village near Ramallah, January 27, 2019.
Palestinians and IDF forces clashed on the outskirts of the West Bank village of al-Mughayer on Sunday, as Palestinian anger continued to rise over the shooting death of Hamdi Taleb Na’san, 38, the day before.
The IDF has alleged that settlers killed Na’san, a father of four, during clashes on Saturday that followed an attack on an Israeli hiker next to the nearby Adei Ad outpost. Villagers held a funeral procession for Na’san, in which they held his body aloft on a gurney and shouted out that he had become a martyr.
The IDF said that about 100 Palestinians on Sunday rioted and threw stones at their forces, who responded with riot dispersal, means including tear gas.
Saturday’s incident began when an Israeli hiker was attacked by three Palestinians and was stabbed in the hand, but he managed to escape to the Adei Ad outpost.
The community’s volunteer security team and others such teams from the Shiloh area, where the outpost is located, went in search of the suspects and were ambushed near al-Mughayer, according to Binyamin Regional Council head Israel Ganz.
Ganz said that the security team had to defend itself by firing. The IDF similarly fired when it arrived to rescue the security team. Na’san was killed during those clashes and, according to Palestinian reports, 30 others were wounded.
Ganz said security members fired because they felt their lives were in danger.
“This is a very serious situation” and “security forces are working to calm the situation,” he said.
Police and the army are investigating Saturday’s incident. Police will be looking into summoning those who were involved in the incident to understand what had taken place at the scene, Israel Police Foreign Press Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.
Channel 12 news said that there was a 40-minute lag between the time the incident was reported and the time that the army arrived at the scene.
The head of security for Yesha Council, Shlomo Vaknin, said he didn’t know if the delay lasted exactly for 40 minutes, but it did seem to take the army a long time to arrive. The direct result of the budget cut for security in Judea and Samaria is a lack of IDF manpower in the area, he said.
The IDF said that the entire incident was under investigation.
The left-wing group Yesh Din charged on Sunday that the settlers’ volunteer security team had initially attacked Palestinian farmers working on land north of the village, puncturing tractor tires and breaking windows.
The farmers fled to a nearby military post and asked soldiers for help, Yesh Din alleged in a statement. The group added that the army refused to assist them and suggested they call the police.
The farmers, according to Yesh Din, fled toward the village and were chased by settlers, who fired in the direction of the village’s homes. The group said that the shooting occurred just 10 meters from the village’s homes and lasted for about an hour and a half.
Na’san, Yesh Din alleged in their statement, was shot in the back just 10 meters from his house.
Adei Ad secretary Yohanan Rosenzweig recalled Saturday’s events for Army Radio, explaining that initially it was not clear if the hiker was the only one who had been attacked by Arabs.
The community’s security team went out to make sure that no one had been kidnapped and was surrounded by Arabs, he said. The gunfire from the incident could be heard from the homes in Adei Ad. It seemed to last for almost two hours, he said. The security team deserves a medal for their work to ensure that there were no kidnap victims, he explained.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted that Na’san’s death was “shocking and unacceptable.”
“#Israel must put an end to settler violence & bring those responsible to justice,” Mladenov tweeted. “My thoughts & prayers go out to the family of the #Palestinian man killed & those injured. All must condemn violence, stand up to terror.”
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz rejected allegations of Jewish terror in an interview he gave to Army Radio on Sunday morning.
“I would not call it Jewish terror,” Steinitz said. “Each incident has to be investigated. Unfortunately, today, there are incidents violence by Jews.”
“But let’s not forget the general situation. There is a Palestinian Authority and terror organizations that are inciting terrible hatred against the State of Israel and against the Jewish people,” Steinitz said. “There is Arab violence throughout the length and breadth of Judea and Samaria.”
Steinitz described how his journey in Gush Etzion the previous week had been interrupted by the Palestinian throwing of stones and Molotov cocktails on the road.
Retired Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council, told Army Radio the community’s volunteer security team erred when it went in search of the suspects, explaining it should have been left to the professionals.
PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi called the settler volunteer security teams as militias and alleged that they had “raided al-Mughayer village” under protection from the Israeli army, “terrorizing the defenseless residents and wreaking havoc.”