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Israeli Settlers Rampage in West Bank Village After Boy's Death

Photo : Reuters

Israeli Settler Violence Leaves Duma Village in Ruins The aftermath of a recent wave of violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers has left the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank reeling, with charred remnants of homes and vehicles now starkly visible against the backdrop of olive groves.

In mid-April, a three-hour assault unfolded, resulting in 15 homes being set ablaze by arsonists and six residents sustaining injuries from gunfire, according to Suleiman Dawabsha, the head of Duma's village council. This attack is just one in a series of nearly 800 incidents of settler violence recorded since Hamas initiated hostilities by launching rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, as documented by the United Nations.

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The devastation witnessed in Duma is reminiscent of a tragic event that unfolded almost a decade ago when three Palestinians, including an 18-month-old infant, lost their lives to settler arson. This recent escalation in violence follows the death of a 14-year-old Israeli youth, which triggered retaliatory attacks and further bloodshed.

The toll on Duma extends beyond physical destruction, with the psychological trauma and economic strain weighing heavily on its residents. Suleiman Dawabsha estimates that the attack caused approximately five million shekels ($1.3 million) in damages, exacerbating the already dire situation for a community of over 2,000 people.

The recent rampage underscores the vulnerability of Palestinian villages like Duma, which lack the resources and means to defend themselves against future incursions. Despite being governed by the Palestinian Authority in civil matters, the security of villages like Duma falls under the jurisdiction of the Israeli military, leaving residents feeling exposed and defenseless.

The ongoing cycle of violence in the West Bank has further heightened tensions in the region, with human rights groups pointing to the complicity of the Israeli government in perpetuating settler attacks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's far-right coalition government has faced criticism for promoting an ideology of Israeli supremacy in the West Bank, fueling animosity and aggression towards Palestinian communities.

Despite mounting international pressure, particularly from the United States, Palestinian leaders remain skeptical of meaningful change, with past promises of intervention yielding little tangible results. For the residents of Duma, the scars of destruction serve as a sobering reminder of the enduring challenges faced by Palestinians living under occupation, as they strive to rebuild their lives amidst the wreckage of violence and conflict.

May 10, 2024 5:05 p.m. 476

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