Palestinian, 21, killed in dawn assault in Nablus

Palestinian, 21, killed in dawn assault in Nablus
Mourners attend the funeral of 21-year-old Palestinian Amir Ihab Bustami in Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on Monday. He was killed in an Israeli army raid. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 February 2023

Palestinian, 21, killed in dawn assault in Nablus

Palestinian, 21, killed in dawn assault in Nablus
  • Condemnation of ‘continuation of Israeli aggression against Palestinian people’
  • Mustafa Barghouti: ‘We will not submit to fascist occupation and racist apartheid regime’

RAMALLAH: A 21-year-old Palestinian was killed during an Israeli army operation in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus at dawn on Monday.

Israeli forces also arrested two youths, who were among eight people injured, Palestinian officials said.

The death of Amir Ihab Bustami brings the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of 2023 to 48, including 10 children and a woman.

In addition, 30 Jerusalemites were wounded on Monday morning during clashes in the Jabal Al-Mukaber neighborhood, and two houses demolished.

The latest death came as Israel’s Cabinet announced that it would legalize nine settlements in the West Bank, claiming that the move was in response to recent Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem.

Fatah Revolutionary Council member Taysir Nasrallah told Arab News: “What happened in Nablus tonight is a continuation of the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, targeting all components of civil society with collective punishment and putting all Palestinians in a pressure cooker that will explode in everyone’s face sooner or later.”

He called for urgent action to curb current Israeli policy to help stop its aggressive measures.

The Nablus operation came just hours after the Israeli Cabinet's decision late on Sunday to escalate the use of force against Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Nasrallah added that the decision was reckless and affected the Palestinian presence in the region.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are considered illegal under international law because they are on land the state captured from Jordan in 1967. Israel disputes that interpretation, saying the land is historically Jewish.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israeli government relies on the support of two Jewish nationalist parties led by settlers — Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism Party and Itamar Ben-Gvir’s Jewish Power Party.

The extremist parties have been pushing for the authorization and expansion of settlements, but observers believe that the move would conflict with the US administration’s wish to halt further developments.

In response to Israel’s current stance, Nasrallah told Arab News: “These decisions would detonate the situation to a degree whose results cannot be predicted.

“It makes it imperative for us to accelerate the Palestinian national dialogue to agree on a unified strategy to confront these decisions in particular, and the policy of the Israeli government in general.”

Mustafa Barghouti, secretary-general of Palestinian National Initiative, said that “the alliance of racist extremists, led by Netanyahu with the fascist religious fundamentalism represented by Ben-Gvir and Smotrich, is dragging the region into a comprehensive explosion.”

He told Arab News that the Palestinian people would not submit to the fascist occupation and the racist apartheid regime, adding that the occupation was waging an open war against the people, in full view of the world, by its decision to legalize nine new settlements and to prepare to rebuild four previously removed settlements in the northern West Bank.

The Israeli escalation coincided with devastating raids on the Gaza Strip and the continuation of the demolition of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, especially in Jabal Al-Mukaber, he added.

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced Israel’s decision to “legalize” settlement outposts in the occupied territories and build new settlement units.

It described the Israeli decision as an “unacceptable provocative act that would fuel the severely congested situation in the occupied territories, in a way that warns of an increase in the scope and pace of violence, which will have dire repercussions on the security and stability of the entire region.”

The condemnations came amid an admission by former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that he ordered a change in the firing regulations while in office, in order to kill a larger number of Palestinians.

Bennett made the remarks to settlers radio, as reported on Israel’s Channel 7 on Sunday.

He said that he traveled to meet soldiers and officers after the killing of Sgt. Maj. Noam Raz in Jenin, and demanded that the rules of engagement were changed.

He added: “This measure led to the killing of a large number of terrorists in a year-and-a-half of my mandate.”

He said that operations had been carried out against what he termed “terrorist nests”, leading to the attacks at that time ceasing.