JERUSALEM: The Israeli military said on Friday that an unarmed Palestinian man was shot and killed in a West Bank settlement after he fought with a guard there.
The military referred to the incident as a terrorist attack, but a spokesman was unable to explain how it came to that conclusion, given that no weapons were found on the suspect or in his car.
The military said the suspect fought with a guard, who was also unarmed, before being shot and killed by another guard and a third individual.
The incident took place in what the military referred to as “Sde Efraim farm”, one of several small outposts set up by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.
Radi Abu Fkheideh, the head of the local council in the nearby Palestinian village of Ras Karkar, identified the deceased as Khaled Nofal, 34, the father of a four-year-old boy.
Palestinians rebuild village demolished by Israeli army
He said the army personnel stormed Nofal’s home in the village early on Friday and detained his father. Ras Karkar is located near Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority.
He had no information about the circumstances of Nofal’s death, but said the family owned land near the settler outpost.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the killing. Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called it a heinous crime and denounced the terrorism of the occupation and the settlers.
There have been a series of stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks against Israelis in recent years, mostly carried out by lone Palestinians with no apparent ties to armed groups.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, and the Palestinians want it to form the main part of their future state. Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, mainly in large, developed settlements.
Hard-line settlers have established a number of smaller outposts without official authorisation.
The Palestinians view all the settlements as illegal and a major obstacle to peace, a position with wide international support.
Meanwhile, the houses and tents in the West Bank village of Khirbet Humsu were demolished by Israeli army on Wednesday for the third time in as many months. However, just minutes after the army left, Palestinian residents were at work repairing their fences hoping to gather their sheep before dark, knowing the army might return the next day.
“We build it and they tear it down,” said Waleed Abu al-Kbash as he stretched fencing between two posts. “Where am I supposed to go? I have a thousand head of sheep.”
Khirbet Humsu, perched on the rolling highlands above the Jordan Valley, is part of the 60 per cent of the West Bank known as Area C, which is under full Israeli military control as part of interim peace agreements from the 1990s. The situation leaves Bedouin communities like the one at Khirbet Humsu at constant risk of displacement.
Shepherds who rely on seasonal rains and scattered springs are also at the mercy of an arbitrary cycle of demolition and rebuilding.
The first time Israel demolished Khirbet Humsu was in early November, as world attention was focused on the US election.