Hamas: Huwara riots are a ‘declaration of war,’ cross all red lines

Written by on February 28, 2023

The settler riots that swept Huwara on Sunday are a “declaration of war” and cross all red lines, warned Hamas political bureau official Suhai al-Hindi on Tuesday.

“The results of the Aqaba Summit are more killing, blood, and destruction for our Palestinian people, and what Nablus witnessed was a joint attack, as the occupation soldiers sponsor settlers to kill the Palestinian person and burn the Palestinian house and Palestinian entity,” said Hindi to the Palestinian news outlet Al-Watan Voice.

“We, on our part as Palestinians, cannot in any way accept this equation, and we cannot raise the white flag or accept that the enemy harms the Palestinian people.”

Suhai al-Hindi

“We, on our part as Palestinians, cannot in any way accept this equation, and we cannot raise the white flag or accept that the enemy harms the Palestinian people,” added Hindi. “We are required to confront this conspiracy, killing and arson, with all our might, and the occupation knows only the language of force, not the language of dialogue, agreements and meetings.”

Hindi additionally pointed to riots that have taken place in recent days along the Gaza border, saying “The message of the rebellious youth in the eastern Gaza Strip is very clear, that when the Palestinian people suffer, the settler here on the Gaza border must suffer.”

The statement came as the Qatari envoy to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed al-Emadi, suddenly canceled on Tuesday morning a visit he had planned to Gaza for Tuesday evening.

Buildings that were set ablaze during the Huwara riots. (credit: TZVI JOFFRE)

IDF investigates upsurge in violence, terror attacks in the West Bank

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi held a preliminary investigation of the recent violence in the West Bank on Tuesday. The commander of the IDF’s Valley Brigade, Lt.-Col. Meir Biederman, presented the main lessons learned following the terrorist attack in which Elan Ganeles was murdered in the Jordan Valley on Monday.

The IDF is continuing the manhunt for the terrorists who conducted the attacks in Huwara and in the Jordan Valley.

“The recent attacks and incidents took a heavy toll on us, and we are investigating and studying them,” said Halevi. “We will thwart terrorism of any kind, and we will continue to use all operational and intelligence measures in order to capture the terrorists.”

Halevi additionally condemned the violence against Israeli security forces reported in recent days, saying “The IDF is responsible for security in Judea and Samaria. The serious riots in Huwara after the difficult attack will be thoroughly investigated as well.”

On Tuesday night, IDF Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fuchs, the commander of Central Command, stressed in an interview to N12 that the riot in Huwara was “a pogrom conducted by lawbreakers.”

Fuchs admitted that the IDF was not prepared for the riots, saying that while usually small disturbances break out after terrorist attacks and the IDF had prepared for similar disturbances, “We did not prepare for a pogrom on the scale of dozens of people who came with incendiary materials, went to more than 20 locations, besides for the clashes with soldiers at a nearby junction, and torched the houses and cars of random Palestinians.”

“This event surprised us in its scale and intensity,” added Fuchs. “It was an embarrassing event of lawbreakers who acted not according to the values I was raised on and not according to the values of the State of Israel and also not according to the values of Judaism.”

Fuchs addressed the rioters in the interview, stressing that “The people responsible for security are the security forces. Even if there are people who think we’re not doing the job right, they do not have the authority to act. We are responsible for security. This is a democratic country, that’s how it works.”

Fuchs called on the leaders of settlements to work to stop the extremists who conduct such attacks, noting that the majority of settlers do not conduct acts of violence like the rioters did.

The Central Command commander additionally noted that Israel and the Palestinian Authority are not currently conducting security coordination, adding “We will see what will happen in the coming days. At this time, our efforts to fight terrorism have not been harmed by the lack of security coordination.”

Fuchs also rejected calls for collective punishment against Palestinians, saying that such measures don’t help the war on terror and can even lead to further terrorism.

In an interview with KAN news, Fuchs additionally rejected claims that the split in the Defense Ministry between Yoav Gallant and Bezalel Smotrich was affecting the IDF’s ability to fight terrorism, saying that he hasn’t seen any effects from the changes.

On Monday, a number of Israelis threw stones at an IDF vehicle near Hagaz junction, lightly damaging the vehicle. IDF soldiers opened a chase after the suspects and fired into the air. After one of the suspects was caught, additional Israelis arrived at the scene and began verbally and physically assaulting the soldiers. The suspects then got into a car and drove at high speed toward the soldiers. An officer at the scene fired into the air and at the wheels of the vehicle in accordance with IDF arrest procedures.

On Tuesday afternoon, a number of Israelis threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near the village of al-Mughayir. When IDF soldiers and police arrived at the scene, they fired in the air in order to disperse the suspects who were throwing stones at a Palestinian truck.

According to Palestinian reports, the IDF continued intensive checkpoints on the roads leading to Jericho on Tuesday as part of efforts to find the terrorists who conducted the deadly shooting attack in the area on Monday.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir stated that despite the violence in recent days he had ordered police to continue concentrating efforts to fight crime in east Jerusalem. According to the minister, 52 suspected terrorists were arrested and six illegal weapons were seized in the past four days.

Additionally, 224 checkpoints have been set up throughout east Jerusalem. “We will continue our security policy which includes initiative and determination also in the return of governance in east Jerusalem,” said Ben-Gvir.

Three Arab homes in the Isawiya and Jebl Mukaber neighborhoods of east Jerusalem were demolished by the Jerusalem Municipality on Tuesday, according to Palestinian reports. 

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