Violence again in West Bank

Violence again in West Bank
A Palestinian gunman has reportedly shot and killed three Israelis in a settlement in occupied West Bank. A fourth person has been wounded. Israel is the world's only Jewish state..

A Palestinian gunman has reportedly shot and killed three Israelis in a settlement in occupied West Bank. A fourth person has been wounded.

Background

Israel is the world's only Jewish state. It was created after the World War II in 1948. During this period, the United Nations adopted a plan to partition Palestine into Arab and Jewish sections. This was met with outrage from Arab nations and sparked a civil war between the Jews and the Arabs. The Jewish forces had better resources and military equipment and drove hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs from their own homes.

Despite the conflicts, the state of Israel has grown into one of the most advanced nations. Nearly every facet, including its intelligence agency (Mossad) is among the best in the world. It has also become the hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship. In contrast, these conflicts have had an extremely adverse effect on the Palestinian economy and its way of life.  A World Bank report stated that the Israeli restriction on West Bank had caused the Palestinian economy to lose $3.4 billion. 

Since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, about 140 Jewish settlements have been built in the region. Currently, there are more than 600,000 Jews living in the area. According to international law, these settlements are illegal. However, Israel has refuted these claims.

Analysis

An Israeli army radio has reported that three Israelis have been killed during a shootout in a settlement in occupied West Bank. A fourth person was wounded in the attack. The gunman has been 37-year-old man named Nimer Jamal from a neighboring village. He has been shot dead as well. The attack took place in the Jewish settlement of Har Adara.

The attack took place just as Jason Greenblatt, the Middle East envoy appointed by US President Donald Trump arrived in Jerusalem. He is in the region to broker peace talks between Israel and Palestine. The shootout is likely to deter the process.  

The gunman, who was a father of four, is reported to have shot at two security guards and a border policeman at close range. They have succumbed to their injuries. The fourth victim is being treated.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said that in the wake of the attack, the work permits of the gunman’s relatives will be revoked. He also announced that the attacker’s home would be demolished. Palestine has shrugged responsibility of the attack. The head of the Information Office of Fatah of Palestine said that the attack was a result of Israel’s “continuous aggression” against Palestinians.

Hazem Kassem, a spokesperson of Hamas in Gaza said that the attack reaffirms the Palestinian resistance. Kassem spoke to Al Jazeera noting, “The latest incident proves that our people are committed to resistance against Israel's occupation, no matter how cruel the measures Israel employs against our people, especially in Jerusalem. It also shows that our people's resistance has not been broken by Israel, despite continued Israeli oppression and occupation. Our freedom and independence will only be achieved by resistance, not by standing at the doors of international organisations begging for it."

Around 36,000 Palestinians have work permits to work in these Jewish settlements.

Assessment

Our assessment is that there has been an increase in violence in the region since late 2015. This has resulted in the deaths of many on both sides of the conflict. Reportedly, 50 Israeli nationals have been killed and over 300 Palestinians have died as well (Israel has claimed that those killed were the attackers). Israel and Palestine are locked in an endless cycle of conflict. It is highly unlikely that the US envoy will be able to make any breakthrough in this complicated relationship. 

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