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Terror attack kills four Israelis, settlers torch homes, rip up Quran

TJI Wrap
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Published: 23 June 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

As violence worsens, Israel’s right calls for a major military operation and analysts say the chaos expected to come after the death of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already started.

According to Israel’s strategic assessment, the era after Abbas has already started, although the Palestinian leader is still alive and still at the head of the government.

Analysts say the increase in violence, evident in terror attacks, Israeli military action and settler rampages this week, is a result of the decline of control by Abbas’ Fatah faction and the increasing power of Hamas, supported by Iran. 

“Governance in the West Bank is declining, the PA's security apparatuses are ineffective, the Palestinian president appears indifferent or unable to deal with the deterioration, refusing to appoint heirs and thereby fuelling an almost certain battle for succession, and failing to prepare the ground for events after his demise,” writes Ben Caspit in Al-Monitor.

With Abbas’ Fatah unable to maintain control, Hamas is growing in popularity and violence is increasing.

“Jenin today, where the PA has lost its grip, is a chilling preview of what is likely to emerge throughout the West Bank the day after Abbas dies or can no longer continue in his current role. If PA impotence is now centred in Jenin and the northern West Bank, this impotence will spread through the territories when Abbas leaves the scene. Currently, the IDF is struggling to figure out how to deal with the vacuum left by the PA in Jenin. Lessons learned there will likely be used elsewhere once Abbas departs and the PA vacuum inevitably spreads,” writes Herb Keinon, in the Jerusalem Post.

This week:

  • An Israeli military raid on Jenin looking for two wanted terrorists met armed resistance, setting off a chain of violence. The latest casualty from that raid is a 15-year-old girl, bringing the death toll to seven with more than 40 injured.
  • Palestinian gunmen affiliated with Hamas opened fire at a gas station near the settlement of Eli in the West Bank on Tuesday afternoon, killing four Israelis and wounding four others. One of the terrorists was shot dead at the scene by an armed Israeli civilian, while the second fled and was killed some two hours later by special forces.
  • About 200 settlers, some armed, set fire to houses and vehicles in the Palestinian West Bank town of Turmus Ayya, near Ramallah, on Wednesday. Israeli security forces stepped in, which led to further fighting between police and Palestinians. One Palestinian was killed by police and 10 were injured in the incident.
  • Three Palestinian gunmen opened fire at a checkpoint in the northern West Bank on Wednesday night. No injuries were reported from the attack. The gunmen were killed shortly afterwards by an Israeli drone strike.
  • Settlers set fire to a school, torched homes and descretated a mosque in the West Bank village of Urif early Thursday morning. The attackers were observed ripping up a Quran and bringing a dog into a mosque. This attack appears to be specific revenge for the Eli terrorist shooting as two of the gunmen came from Urif.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that “all options are open”, as many members of his coalition clamoured for a widespread military operation in response to the Eli gas station attack.

“We have already proven in the past few months that we will settle the score with all the murderers, with no exceptions,” Netanyahu said in a video statement hours after the shooting, in which four Israelis were killed and several others wounded.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir called for immediate action.

“The time has come to launch a military operation in Judea and Samaria. To return to targeted assassinations from the air, to bring down buildings, to erect roadblocks, to expel terrorists, and to finish passing the death penalty for terrorists law,” Ben-Gvir told reporters at the site of the Eli attack.


Four Israelis killed, four injured in terror shooting at West Bank gas station (Times of Israel)

Palestinian shot dead as dozens of Jewish settlers torch homes, vehicles in West Bank (Haaretz)

Israeli drone strike kills 3 Palestinian gunmen in their car in northern West Bank (Time of Israel)

15-year-old Palestinian Girl Wounded in Monday's Clashes With IDF in Jenin Dies of Wounds (Haaretz)  

Settlers Burn Palestinian School, Try to Torch a Mosque in Shooters' West Bank Village (Haaretz)  

Netanyahu: ‘All options open’ in responding to deadly West Bank shooting attack (Times of Israel)

Israel increasingly fears West Bank chaos, rise of Hamas (Ben Caspit, Al-Monitor)
According to Israel’s strategic assessment, the era after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has already started, although the Palestinian leader is still alive and still at the head of the government.

Look at Jenin for a preview of what awaits the day after Abbas – analysis (Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post)
The troops almost always encounter some resistance: gunfire, petrol bombs, heavy objects dropped from rooftops, a barrage of rocks.

Photo: A Palestinian man runs near a burning object after an attack by Israeli settlers in Turmus Ayya in the West Bank on Wednesday (Mohamad Torokman /REUTERS)

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