Israeli settlers march in West Bank amid wave of unrest

Apr 19, 2022, 6:31 AM | Updated: 5:53 pm
An explosion is caused by Israeli airstrikes on a Hamas military base in town of Khan Younis, south...

An explosion is caused by Israeli airstrikes on a Hamas military base in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Tuesday April 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

(AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

BURQA, West Bank (AP) — Thousands of Israelis marched to a dismantled settlement deep in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and called for it to be rebuilt in a show of strength amid a wave of Israeli-Palestinian unrest and fears of further escalation.

The army blocked roads to facilitate the march led by hard-line Jewish settlers and prevent Palestinians from reaching the area. Dozens of Palestinian residents protested the closures. Clashes broke out, with Israeli soldiers firing rubber bullets and tear gas at Palestinian youths hurling stones and burning tires.

Palestinian medics said they treated at least eight Palestinians who were struck by rubber bullets or tear gas canisters fired by Israeli troops in the adjacent West Bank village of Burqa.

Israelis have repeatedly returned to Homesh, a hilltop settlement that emerged as a symbol of settler defiance after the government dismantled it in 2005.

Israeli-Palestinian tensions have surged in recent weeks after a series of deadly attacks inside Israel and and military operations in the West Bank. Palestinian militants fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel for the first time in months, and Israel carried out airstrikes, after days of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem.

The unrest has raised fears of a repeat of last year, when protests and clashes in Jerusalem helped ignite an 11-day Gaza war.

The shrine, known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is the emotional epicenter of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israel said its security forces entered the site in response to Palestinian rock-throwing and that it is committed to ensuring that Jews, Christians and Muslims can worship freely in the Holy Land. The Palestinians view the presence of Israeli security forces at Al-Aqsa and visits by nationalist and religious Jews as a provocation.

Israel has faced intense criticism from Jordan, which serves as custodian of the site, as well as Egypt — Arab states that made peace with Israel decades ago. The United Arab Emirates, which led the way in normalizing relations with Israel as part of the so-called Abraham Accords in 2020, summoned the recently appointed Israeli ambassador on Tuesday.

The UAE said Israel needs to “fully protect worshippers, to respect the rights of Palestinians to practice their religious rites and to stop any practices that violate the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” according to a statement carried by the state-run WAM news agency.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he discussed the violence in a telephone call with Israel’s largely ceremonial President Isaac Herzog.

“During this sensitive period, I would like to emphasize, once again, the need not to allow provocations and threats against the status and spirituality of Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Erdogan said.

It was an unusually muted statement for Erdogan, who has been an outspoken critic of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians in the past. Turkey, whose economy is in crisis, has been trying to normalize its frayed ties with Israel and other regional countries.

Herzog visited Turkey last month, becoming the first Israeli leader to visit in 14 years.

The U.N. Security Council emerged from a closed-door session Tuesday with no unanimous message on the tensions, though envoys from Ireland, France, Estonia, Norway and Albania stood together to express concern. They called for respecting arrangements at holy sites and for restraint from both sides, while condemning rocket fire from Gaza and “all acts of terrorism.”

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has also called on all sides to exercise restraint.

At the march in the occupied West Bank, several thousand Israelis, including young children, walked roughly two kilometers (one mile) to Homesh, where organizers staged festivities attended by religious nationalist politicians and rabbis.

The Israeli military didn’t formally authorize the march but closed roads to separate the settlers and Palestinians, allowing it to be held.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast war and in the decades since has built dozens of settlements that are now home to more than 500,000 Israelis. The Palestinians seek the territory, which is home to nearly 3 million Palestinians, as the main part of a future independent state.

Most of the international community considers the settlements to be illegal. Israel views the West Bank as the historical and biblical heartland of the Jewish people. The peace process ground to a halt more than a decade ago.

The settlement of Homesh was built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and was dismantled in 2005. In the years since, Israeli settlers have staged several marches, rallies and attempts to rebuild it in violation of Israeli law and military orders.

In December, Palestinian militants killed a Jewish settler near the site of the former settlement. A month earlier, six Palestinian farmers were hospitalized after settlers attacked them with metal batons and stones.

___

Ben Zion reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem, Isabel DeBre in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey; and Jennifer Peltz at the United Nations contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

The Beluga whale swims in the lock of Notre Dame de la Garenne prior to be moved, in Saint-Pierre-l...
Associated Press

Stranded whale euthanized after removal from French river

PARIS (AP) — French authorities say a beluga whale stranded for several days in the Seine River has died after it was successfully removed from the French waterway. Veterinarian Ollivet Courtois said that during the rescue operation, the dangerously thin white mammal began to have breathing difficulties, and so experts decided to humanely euthanize the […]
4 hours ago
FILE - In this handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Servic...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Fighting in Ukraine endangers big nuclear plant

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, stoking international fears of a catastrophe on the continent. A look at the plant and the situation around it: EUROPE’S BIGGEST NUCLEAR PLANT The Zaporizhzhia plant is in southern Ukraine, near the town of Enerhodar on the banks of the Dnieper […]
4 hours ago
FILE - The logo of Toshiba Corp. is seen at a company's building in Kawasaki near Tokyo, on Feb. 19...
Associated Press

Japan’s Toshiba boosts profit on devices, auto sector demand

TOKYO (AP) — Toshiba reported a 44% improvement in profit in the last quarter as the Japanese technology giant worked to revamp its brand image and reassure investors about its management. Tokyo-based Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday that it recorded a 25.9 billion yen ($192 million) profit in the April-June period, up from 18 billion yen […]
4 hours ago
FILE - An employee of Honda Motor Co. cleans a Honda car displayed at its headquarters in Tokyo on ...
Associated Press

Japan’s Honda sees declining profits on semiconductor crunch

TOKYO (AP) — Honda’s fiscal first quarter profit fell 33% from last year as a global computer chip shortage, a pandemic-related lockdown in China and the rising costs of raw materials hurt the Japanese automaker. Tokyo-based Honda Motor Co. reported Wednesday that its profit totaled 149.2 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in the April-June quarter, down […]
4 hours ago
Conservative Party leadership candidate Liz Truss smiles during a visit to the Onside Future Youth ...
Associated Press

In race to win, UK Conservatives accused of ignoring crises

LONDON (AP) — As Britain swelters through a roasting summer, and braces for a cold financial reckoning in the fall, calls for the Conservative government to act are getting louder. But the Conservatives are busy choosing a new leader, through a prolonged party election whose priorities often seem remote from the country’s growing turmoil. Britons’ […]
4 hours ago
Conservative Party leadership candidate Liz Truss smiles during a visit to the Onside Future Youth ...
Sponsored Content by

LONDON (AP) — As Britain swelters through a roasting summer, and braces for a cold financial reckoning in the fall, calls for the Conservative government to act are getting louder. But the Conservatives are busy choosing a new leader, through a prolonged party election whose priorities often seem remote from the country’s growing turmoil. Britons’ […]

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

PHOENIX — When you think about home investments, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Was it the air conditioning unit? Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a […]
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Israeli settlers march in West Bank amid wave of unrest