JERUSALEM, March 1 (AP) — Israeli forces on Wednesday arrested two Palestinians suspected of involvement in the killing of an Israeli-American earlier this week in a daytime raid on a West Bank refugee camp, the military said. middle.
The arrests come as the Knesset is meeting to give preliminary approval to a proposal to impose the death penalty on Palestinians convicted of deadly attacks.
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Meanwhile, a senior minister in Israel’s far-right government has called for the “clearance” of a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank where radical Jewish settlers were rampant earlier this week.
Three Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli attack on the Jaber refugee camp in Aqaba, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. The military said it shot and killed one suspect as he tried to flee, but gave no further details.
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Israeli leaders said the man arrested was the killer of Elan Ganeles, a 27-year-old Israeli-American who was shot dead while driving on a West Bank highway near the refugee camp.
Ganeles, of West Hartford, Connecticut, who lives in the United States, is attending a wedding in Israel, friends said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the arrests. “Anyone who tries to harm us will pay the price,” he said.
Wednesday’s arrest raids came during one of the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years, which has killed more than 60 Palestinians and 14 Israelis this year.
Earlier this week, a mob of Israeli settlers set fire to homes and cars in a Palestinian town after two Israelis were killed in the West Bank, destroying dozens of vehicles and homes and killing one man.
A senior military official said troops were not prepared for violence, and a senior Israeli cabinet minister said Wednesday that the town “must be wiped out.”
The bloodshed is part of a year-long escalation in violence sparked by Israeli attacks on Palestinian areas of the West Bank, sparked by a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
Tensions have risen in the West Bank, especially after settlers attacked the Palestinian town of Hawara.
The incident sparked condemnation from the international community as well as from Israel’s political opposition. But the country’s right-wing government, made up of ultra-nationalist, pro-settler parties, has not condemned the violence, calling only for settlers not to take the law into their own hands.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich went further, arguing that the towns attacked should be wiped clean.
Speaking at a conference hosted by Israeli business newspaper The Marker, Smotrich said: “I think the village of Hawara needs to be erased. I think it needs to be done by the state of Israel, not by ordinary citizens”.
The settler attack was the worst such violence in decades, and on Tuesday Major General Yehuda Fuchs, head of the military’s Central Command in charge of the West Bank, told Israel Channel 12 that the military was not prepared to deal with what he called “a lawless Molecular massacre”.
“We were not prepared for a mass murder of this magnitude, involving dozens of people,” he said, using the term typically referring to ethnic mob attacks against Jews in Eastern Europe in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Also on Wednesday, the Knesset will hold a preliminary vote on a bill that would allow the death penalty for Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis.
The ultra-nationalist Jewish power faction of Public Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has pushed for the death penalty bill as a deterrent to would-be Palestinians after more than a year of surging violence that shows no signs of abating. A tactic for attackers.
Critics say the death penalty is immoral, runs counter to Jewish principles and does not serve as a deterrent.
The proposed law would allow the death penalty for those who kill Israelis “in the interest of racism or public hostility” and “with the aim of harming the state of Israel and the restoration of the Jewish people in its land”.
Limor Son Har-Melech, an ultranationalist settler lawmaker who introduced the bill, told Kan public radio that “it is just and most moral that people who murder Jews should be sentenced to death simply because they are Jewish”.
So far this year, 62 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and civilians, about half of them affiliated with armed groups.
During the same period, 14 Israelis were killed in Palestinian attacks, including only one civilian.
Israel says its attacks were aimed at dismantling militant networks and preventing future attacks, but there is little evidence they are slowing violence. Palestinians see this as a further entrenchment of Israel’s 55-year indefinite occupation.
Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in the 1967 Middle East war, territories that the Palestinians claim as their desired state. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)