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Sabra Express | Unrest Unleashed

Jonathan Regev, i24NEWS, February 27th, 2023


Recap:

The army will treat the deadly riots in Huwara as a terror attack. Hundreds of Jewish rioters, angered by a Palestinian terror attack that killed two Israelis, murdered a Palestinian and injured dozens more, while also damaging scores of homes and cars.


The Context:

· Sunday’s shooting, in which a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli brothers, raised the number of Israeli terror victims to 13 since the start of 2023. In 2022, the IDF recorded 300 attempts against Israeli civilians and soldiers in the West Bank, compared to 91 the previous year. The total number of Palestinians killed in the West Bank in 2022 was 166, a level not seen in more than a decade. Israel says most were militants.

· Opposition leader Yair Lapid slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as having “lost control” over Israel’s security and its own internal functioning. National Unity party leader Benny Gantz warned that Israel is facing “a security disaster,” exacerbated by a government that “fuel[s] terrorism [1].” United States Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides joined the international condemnation saying, “I do not think any Israeli would be proud to see settlers burning cars and smashing windows [2].

· In defense of the rioters, coalition MK Bezalel Smotrich, who oversees security in the West Bank, said a disproportional response to Sunday’s shooting was necessary and that “the village of Hawara needs to be wiped out” [3]. Netanyahu likened the Huwara rioters to Israeli’s protesting his government’s proposed judicial reforms.

· Israeli and Palestinian officials met to discuss lowering West Bank tensions during a meeting attended by Jordan, Egypt, and the United States [4]. Both parties confirmed their “joint readiness to end unilateral measures for a period of 3-6 months. This includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months.” Smotrich firmly rejected the idea of a pause, “even for one day [5].”


Conversation Points:

· Will the Huwara rioters be treated with the same severity as would Palestinians who committed similar crimes?

· Did the coalition’s rhetoric play a role in the Huwara riots?

· Will Netanyahu ever do anything right in the eyes of the opposition?

· How should citizens react if their government fails to provide them with adequate protection?


Notes:

1. After settler rioting over Huwara attack, Lapid says government has ‘lost control’, CARRIE KELLER-LYNN, Times of Israel, 27 February 2023

2. Israeli settler violence is causing enormous pain, US envoy Nides says, TOVAH LAZAROFF, Jerusalem Post, FEBRUARY 28, 2023

4. After settler rioting over Huwara attack, Lapid says government has ‘lost control’, CARRIE KELLER-LYNN, Times of Israel, 27 February 2023


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