Israelis burn down Palestine properties across West Bank - GulfToday

Israelis burn down Palestine properties across West Bank

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Israeli border policemen target Palestinians in Surif, West Bank, on Friday. Reuters

Israeli settlers attacked five villages in the occupied West Bank overnight, torching vehicles and olive trees, and leaving graffiti on the walls of homes, Palestinian officials said on Friday.

Ghassan Daghlas, a spokesman for the Nablus governorate, said the Jewish settlers set fire to five cars and spray-painted graffiti on more than 20 others. Villagers circulated photos of the damage on social media.

Israeli police say they are investigating the reports and that police and military units will visit the area.

Hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War. The Palestinians claim the West Bank as part of their future state.

Hardline settlers have been known to carry out “price tag” attacks in response to Palestinian attacks or perceived efforts by Israeli authorities to limit settlement expansion. It was unclear what sparked the latest attack.

In the Gaza Strip, meanwhile, Palestinian health authorities said a man died of wounds he sustained in an Israeli airstrike earlier this month that killed eight members of his family. The Gaza Health Ministry identified the man as 40-year-old  Mohammed Abu Malhous Al-Sawarka.

Those killed in the airstrike included two women and five children under the age of 13.

Israel’s military said it was targeting military infrastructure and did not expect civilians to be present. It said an investigation is underway.

The airstrike came during two days of fighting ignited by Israel’s targeted killing of a commander of a group. The fighting killed 35 Palestinians.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not resign despite being charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in a corruption scandal that he denounced as an “attempted coup.”

The charges announced by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit were the first of their kind against a serving Israeli prime minister and represented the gravest crisis in the political career of Israel’s longest-serving leader.

Netanyahu, in power continuously since 2009 and before that in the 1990s, has dominated Israeli politics for a generation, decisively turning the country to the right. He has denied wrongdoing in the three graft cases, saying he is the victim of a political witch hunt.

Israeli forces detained the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem, taking him from his home in the city’s east for interrogation, a police spokesman said.

Adnan Ghaith’s apprehension came a day after Israeli authorities closed the offices of two Palestinian Authority-affiliated organisations in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) official has been arrested or detained by Israel at least six times in the past year.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told reporters Ghaith’s latest apprehension from his Silwan home was over “Palestinian activity in Jerusalem,” without giving further details.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Israel bans all PA activities in the city.

As a result, the PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, just on the other side of an Israeli wall that separates the city in the occupied West Bank.

Police had previously investigated Ghaith over suspicions he was involved in the PA’s arrest in October 2018 of American-Palestinian Issam Akel, who was accused of involvement in selling an east Jerusalem building to Jewish buyers.

Such sales are considered treasonous among Palestinians concerned with Israeli settlers buying property in east Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Israeli forces closed the Jerusalem offices of Palestine TV, which is funded by the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, as well as an office of the Palestinian ministry of education in the city.

Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan accused the TV channel of producing anti-Israel content, vowing Wednesday to “continue to pursue a firm policy against any attempt by the Palestinian Authority to violate our sovereignty in the capital.”

Agencies