Alwaght- Extremist Israeli settlers have carried out arson attacks on Palestinian houses in Nablus hours after Tel Aviv regime and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials pledged to implement measures to de-escalate tensions amid surge in violence in the occupied West Bank.
In a joint statement at the end of the meeting in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba in Jordan on Sunday, Zionist and PA officials said that they would work closely to prevent “further violence” and that they “reaffirmed the necessity of committing to de-escalation on the ground”.
The Gaza-based Hamas condemned the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority for taking part. An official from the resistance movement said the meeting was “worthless” and would not change anything.
The ruling Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had earlier defended the meeting.
“The decision to take part in the Aqaba meeting despite the pain and massacres being endured by the Palestinian people comes from a desire to bring an end to the bloodshed,” it said on Twitter.
Israeli regime allegedly was committed to stop “discussing setting up any new settlement units for four months and stop approving any new settlements for six months”, a joint statement said.
However, the occupying regime's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also has responsibilities over Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, quickly said he would not abide by any agreement on freezing settlement construction.
“I have no idea what they spoke about or not in Jordan,” Smotrich wrote on Twitter. “But one thing I do know: there will not be a freeze on the building and development in settlements, not even for one day (it is under my authority).”
Abdullah Al-Huwari, 36, an eyewitness, reported that “large numbers of Israeli settlers attacked the village of Huwara [in occupied West Bank]”, setting fire to homes and cars.
“I see flames in front of me,” he said. “Wherever I turn my eyes, I see the flames of a burning house.”
The Palestinian Red Cross said 98 people were treated, most after inhaling tear gas, while Israeli emergency services reported three Israelis injured after being hit by stones.
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power at the head of one of the most right-wing coalitions in Israeli regime's history has added to concerns about escalation in the occupied territories.
Tel Aviv on February 12 granted retroactive authorization to nine illegal settler outposts in the occupied West Bank and announced the mass construction of new homes within established settlements.
The United Nations Security Council issued a formal statement denouncing Israel’s plan to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian territory – its first action of the kind against Israeli regime in six years.
The occupied West Bank is home to about 2.9 million Palestinians plus an estimated 475,000 Israelis who live in settlements considered illegal under international law.
Israeli regime's forces have killed 65 Palestinians, including 13 children, this year so far. They have also injured hundreds of others, making the first two months of 2023 the deadliest for Palestinians compared with the same period since 2000.
Israeli regime has occupied the West Bank since the Six-Day War of 1967.