Israeli soldiers stand guard outside a portable building being built at the former settler outpost of Homesh in the occupied West Bank, on Monday.—AFP
Israeli soldiers stand guard outside a portable building being built at the former settler outpost of Homesh in the occupied West Bank, on Monday.—AFP

RAMALLAH: Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man on Monday in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian health ministry announced, as the military said forces were in a firefight during a raid.

Ashraf Mohammed Ibrahim, 37, was “shot by the Israeli occupation” in the northern city of Jenin, the ministry said. Ibrahim was an officer in the Palestinian intelligence service, according to the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The Israeli military said “suspects fired heavily at the forces, who responded with fire toward the armed men” during a raid in Jenin.

“In addition, suspects hurled explosive devices at the forces,” added the army statement.

Settlers start reviving flashpoint West Bank settlement

Six people were arrested in Jenin, according to Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy groups. Israeli forces regularly conduct raids in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War.

Dozens of Palestinians have been killed in Jenin in recent months, including minors.

Since the start of the year, at least 155 Palestinians, 20 Israelis, a Ukrainian and an Italian have been killed in violence linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an AFP tally compiled from official sources.

Outpost settlement

Israelis started reviving a flashpoint outpost settlement in the occupied West Bank on Monday, AFP journalists said, constructing a building at the site which has drawn international attention.

Using a truck, diggers and an earth roller, work got underway to erect a portable building at the northern West Bank site.

The journalists saw Israeli soldiers guarding around 20 people carrying out construction work at the Homesh site, which Israel evacuated nearly two decades ago.

The latest development comes weeks after the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged his government had no plans to reconstruct the site, after a parliamentary vote on the matter sparked ire abroad.

It was hailed as a “moving historic moment” by Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir — an extreme-right settler.

Lawmakers in March voted to annual part of a law which banned Israelis from living in areas of the West Bank which the state evacuated in 2005, the same year Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip.

“The government has no intention of establishing new communities in these areas,” Netanyahu’s office said in March. Neither the army nor the defence ministry commented on their role in Monday’s developments at Homesh when contacted by AFP.

The civilians at the site refused to discuss the matter when approached by AFP journalists.

The United States, Israel’s top ally, said this month it was “deeply troubled by the Israeli government’s order that allows its citizens to establish a permanent presence in the Homesh outpost”.

Washington and the wider international community view Israeli settlements build in the Palestinian territories as illegal and a barrier to peace. The European Union last week pressed Israel to “cease the policy of settlement expansion” and condemned increased settler violence against Palestinians.

Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2023

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