West Bank assault casts shadow over Israel-Palestinian talks

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CAIRO — A Palestinian gunman opened fireplace at an Israeli car within the occupied West Bank on Sunday, wounding two folks, Israeli officers stated. The assault forged a shadow over Egyptian-mediated efforts to decrease tensions forward of a delicate vacation interval starting this week.

The taking pictures got here as Israeli and Palestinian officers had been assembly within the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh in a bid to rein in a spiral of violence because the Muslim holy of month of Ramadan begins this week. The taking pictures instantly raised questions concerning the prospects for the brand new talks.

The assembly was the second try by the perimeters, shepherded by regional allies Egypt and Jordan in addition to the US, to finish a year-long spasm of violence that has seen greater than 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli fireplace and greater than 40 Israelis or foreigners killed in Palestinian assaults.

No matter progress emerged out of the earlier assembly in Jordan late final month, which ended with pledges to de-escalate tensions, was rapidly derailed when a brand new burst of violence erupted on the identical day. A Palestinian gunman shot and killed two Israelis within the occupied West Bank and Jewish settlers in response rampaged in a Palestinian city, destroying property and resulting in the dying of 1 Palestinian.

As Sunday’s talks had been underway, a Palestinian gunman opened fireplace on an Israeli automotive in the identical city — Hawara — as final month’s violence, the Israeli navy stated.

Israeli medics stated a person was shot within the higher physique and was severely wounded whereas his spouse was evenly damage.

The Israeli military stated the suspect was shot — both by the wounded man or by troopers — and arrested. His situation was not instantly identified.

Hawara lies on a busy highway within the northern a part of the West Bank that’s utilized by Israeli residents of close by Jewish settlements. Many settlers carry weapons.

Bloodshed has been surging since final month’s assembly in Jordan, making expectations for Sunday’s second installment low.

The killing of an Islamic Jihad militant in neighboring Syria added to the tensions Sunday. The militant group, which is energetic within the northern West Bank, accused Israel of assassinating the commander. Israel had no remark.

Nonetheless, mediators wish to ease tensions forward of Ramadan, which begin this week and which is able to coincide subsequent month with the weeklong Jewish vacation of Passover.

Ahmed Abu Zaid, a spokesman for the Egyptian international ministry, stated Sunday’s assembly can be attended by “high-level political and security officials” from either side, in addition to from Egypt, Jordan and the U.S. He wrote on Twitter that the talks are a part of efforts to realize and assist calm between Israel and the Palestinians.

Abu Zaid stated regional and worldwide participation within the assembly goals at establishing “mechanisms” to comply with and activate what the events agree on, however supplied no further particulars.

The talks are a part of efforts to assist “dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli sides to work towards ceasing unilateral measures and escalation, and to break the existing cycle of violence and achieve calm,” he stated.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made no point out of the summit in his weekly Cupboard assembly.

Palestinian official Hussein al-Sheikh tweeted that the assembly was meant to “demand an end to this continuous Israeli aggression against us.”

Israeli media stated senior safety officers had been set to attend.

The upcoming interval is delicate as a result of massive numbers of Jewish and Muslim devoted pour into Jerusalem’s Outdated Metropolis, the emotional coronary heart of the battle and a flashpoint for violence, rising friction factors. Giant numbers of Jews are additionally anticipated to go to a key Jerusalem holy web site, identified to Muslims because the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews because the Temple Mount, which the Palestinians view as a provocation. Clashes on the web site in 2021 helped set off an 11-day warfare between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which guidelines the Gaza Strip.

Whereas the newest violence started underneath the earlier Israeli authorities, it has intensified within the first two months of the brand new authorities, headed by Netanyahu and his coalition — the nation’s most right-wing administration ever.

The federal government is dominated by hard-line settlement supporters. Itamar Ben-Gvir, the minister who oversees the police, is an extremist as soon as relegated to the fringes of Israeli politics, with previous convictions for incitement to violence and assist of a Jewish terror group. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich referred to as for Hawara to be “erased” after final month’s settler rampage, apologizing after a world outcry.

The violence is among the worst rounds between Israel and the Palestinians within the West Bank and east Jerusalem in years.

Following a spate of Palestinian assaults in opposition to Israelis final spring, Israel launched near-nightly raids within the West Bank in what it says is a bid to stem the assaults and dismantle militant networks. However the raids didn’t seem to gradual the violence and assaults in opposition to Israelis have continued, killing 44 folks.

Almost 150 Palestinians had been killed by Israel within the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 2022, making it the deadliest yr in these territories since 2004, in accordance with the Israeli rights group B’Tselem. Simply this yr, 85 Palestinians have been killed, in accordance with a tally by The Related Press.

Israel says most of these killed have been militants. However stone-throwing youths protesting the incursions have additionally been killed as have folks not concerned within the confrontations. Tons of of Palestinians have been rounded up and positioned underneath so-called administrative detention, which denies them due course of on safety grounds.

Israel captured the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip within the 1967 Mideast warfare. The Palestinians search these territories for his or her future impartial state.

Goldenberg reported from Tel Aviv, Israel.

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