Tags: israel | military | huwara | violence | terror | attack

Israeli Military: Treating Israeli Huwara Revenge Attack as Terror

an aerial view of a scrapyard where cars were torched
An aerial view of a scrapyard where cars were torched overnight, in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus in the occupied West Bank. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/ Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 28 February 2023 09:41 AM EST

During a security briefing Monday, an Israeli military official said the Israel Defense Forces is treating the revenge riots in Huwara by Israeli settlers as a “terror attack.”

The violent riots happened in response to the shooting and killing of two brothers the day before. The brothers, Hillel Menachem Yaniv, 21, and Yigal Yaakov Yaniv, 19, were driving through the town of Huwara when an attacker shot them point-blank before running away.

The brothers were from the settlement of Har Bracha (“Hill of Blessing,” named after the blessings of Joshua 8:31-36).

Hundreds of Israeli settlers responded to the brothers’ murders by attacking Huwara, setting alight 35 houses and shops, 25 privately owned vehicles and two junkyards.

The houses targeted included several belonging to the extended Aqtash family, who gathered to fight against the rioters; in the clashes, 37-year-old Sameh Aqtash was killed.

While a cousin attributed his death to a chaotic confrontation when IDF soldiers arrived and attempted to separate the sides, the IDF stated that Aqtash was not killed by soldiers. The cause of his death remains unknown.

On Monday, several officials from Israel’s security establishment blamed the IDF for the riots.

“There were calls on social media to carry out the acts. It was known, there is no surprise here,” one of the officials told Israel’s N12 news. “This is a lack of preparation that prevented the takeover by hundreds of settlers who began to riot.”

Another official said the fact that only eight settlers were arrested following the several-hour-long attack, while six of them had already been released, was proof that the IDF was not treating the situation appropriately.

One of the IDF officials who spoke to N12 anonymously said, “I am responsible for the security of Israelis and Palestinians. I failed on both.”

Another security official leveled blame at Israeli government ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, saying they provided “moral support to the rioters.”

While Smotrich later spoke out against the attacks and called on citizens not to “take the law into their own hands,” his social media account previously “liked” a since-deleted post by Samaria Council deputy head David Ben-Zion, which stated, “Here in Huwara the blood of our children was spilled on the road. Huwara needs to be erased today,” in reference to a need to return “the deterrence that was lost.”

After deleting the post, Ben-Zion said it had been written in the “heat of the moment.”

Following the riots in Huwara, Gvir went to visit the controversial Evyatar settlement, despite a military order barring civilians from visiting the site. The officials said the actions were “fanning the flames” of escalation.

The administration of U.S. President Joe Biden was quick to condemn the Huwara riots and to call for criminal charges against the rioters.

“We expect the Israeli government to ensure full accountability and legal prosecution of those responsible for these attacks in addition to compensation for the loss of homes and property,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price told the press.

Price also denounced the terror attack that killed the two Yaniv brothers, calling it “horrific.” He urged the Israeli government to pursue justice equally for both attacks.

“Accountability and justice should be pursued with equal rigor in all cases of extremist violence and equal resources dedicated to prevent such attacks and bring those responsible to justice,” he said.

This article originally appeared on All Israel News and is reposted with permission.


During a security briefing Monday, an Israeli military official said the Israel Defense Forces is treating the revenge riots in Huwara by Israeli settlers as a "terror attack."
israel, military, huwara, violence, terror, attack
Tuesday, 28 February 2023 09:41 AM
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