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One of the Palestinian homes that were set ablaze by Israeli occupation forces in the village of Al-Mughayir. (Photo: Yazan Hamayel, supplied by the author)

By Fayha Shalash – Ramallah

After accomplishing their mission in Al-Mughayir, Jewish settlers spread to several neighboring villages, including Duma, Qusra and Abu Falah.

Clouds of smoke and burning flames filled the sky over several Palestinian villages north of Ramallah and south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank over the weekend. 

The latest mayhem was a result of renewed attacks by illegal Jewish settlers, who, as is often the case, are fully protected by the Israeli army.

Two Palestinians were killed and scores were injured, while a large number of homes and vehicles were set ablaze during the violent attacks launched soon after the announcement of a settler’s disappearance north of Ramallah. 

The settler was later found dead near the village of Duma, south of Nablus. Israeli forces said that he had been “murdered in a terrorist attack,” without providing any evidence and before any investigation was carried out.

Shot in the Head

The attack by the illegal Jewish settlers began on Friday evening in the village of Al-Mughayir, near Duma.

Dozens of villagers were injured as they confronted the armed settlers, who were accompanied by the Israeli army.

Moreover, the Israeli military prevented ambulances from reaching the area. This proved fatal to 25-year-old Jihad Abu Alia. 

Abu Alia was injured with a bullet in the head fired by a Jewish settler while transporting wounded Palestinians. 

Despite the hemorrhage following the shot, people were unable to transport Abu Alia himself to the hospital because the Israeli army did not allow medical teams to enter the village. 

The young man bled to death. Later, his body was taken to the Ramallah Governmental Hospital. 

On Saturday afternoon, one day after the killing, Palestinians from Al-Mughayir  tried to hold a funeral for Abu Alia, but Israeli soldiers did not allow them to bring the body back to the village. 

Abu Alia’s family was forced to wait for several hours outside Al-Mughayir, with the body of their beloved son. When they were finally allowed to enter, the Israeli army opened fire, forcing them to disperse. 

In a typical episode following this kind of violence, the Israeli occupation forces detained a large number of Palestinians in Al-Mughayir village, without holding a single Jewish settler accountable for the violence they unleashed. 

After accomplishing their mission in Al-Mughayir, Jewish settlers spread to several neighboring villages, including Duma, Qusra and Abu Falah.

Speaking to Eyewitnesses 

Ali Dawabsha, a resident of Duma, told the Palestine Chronicle that, when the body of the missing settler was found, hundreds of settlers stormed the village.

The settlers came down from the mountains surrounding the area and began burning Palestinian homes.

“The scene was heartbreaking. Clouds of smoke rose from our houses and we could not do anything. It was truly a difficult day,” Dawabsha told us.

The settlers, however, were still not satisfied. They also opened fire at the villagers with their personal weapons. 

In recent months, the Israeli government has distributed thousands of firearms to Jewish settlers and militias. Last month, far-right Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir celebrated the fact that his office had approved 100,000 gun licenses since October 7.

According to Dawabsha, armed Jewish settlers injured many Palestinian villagers, using all sorts of weapons, including guns and stones, all under the protection of the Israeli army.

Duma, again

In 2015, Duma was the scene of a heinous crime committed by Jewish settlers, which burned the house of the Dawabsha family, killing the mother, the father, and their infant child. 

The other son, Ahmed, was left with severe burns that still torment him to this day.

“We are constantly exposed to settler attacks,” Dawabsha explained. 

“They attack us and our property regularly, but we won’t leave our village,” he said.  

“We will not allow them to achieve their main objective of confiscating what remains of our land.”

Restricting Paramedics

In the latest settlers’ onslaught, 20 Palestinians were wounded in the matter of 24 hours. 

Though a few armed young Palestinians attempted to fend off against the settlers and army, their weapons were no match.  

Eyewitnesses told the Palestine Chronicle that in some cases Israeli soldiers were seen burning and sabotaging Palestinian homes and vehicles. 

Since the early hours of the coordinated attacks, Israeli occupation forces prevented medical teams from operating in the area.

Ahmed Jibril, director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Nablus, told the Palestine Chronicle that medical crews themselves came under attack. 

The Israeli army assaulted an ambulance and smashed its windows in Duma. 

Meanwhile, soldiers stationed at the entrance to the village of Al-Mughayir also prevented paramedics from entering, forcing the residents to transport the injured in their own vehicles.

All main roads were also shut down by Israeli forces. 

Jibril told us that residents and ambulances were forced to take long, rugged, dirt roads to transport the wounded.

“It was very difficult to respond to emergencies,” he said. “Israeli forces were obstructing the arrival of paramedics, endangering the lives of the wounded.”

Meanwhile, Jewish settlers continue to attack Palestinians, who are besieged by hundreds of Israeli military checkpoints inside their villages. Even mourning the dead is now allowed. 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Fayha’ Shalash is a Ramallah-based Palestinian journalist. She graduated from Birzeit University in 2008 and she has been working as a reporter and broadcaster ever since. Her articles appeared in several online publications. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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