BURIN, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Four Israeli settlers and three Palestinians were wounded on Monday when clashes broke out in the northern West Bank, police and an AFP correspondent said.
The violence began when Israeli troops removed two mobile homes set up near the Bracha settlement, sparking protests from settlers, who hurled rocks at Palestinian vehicles at a nearby checkpoint, Palestinian witnesses said.
When the troops moved in to disperse the settlers from the checkpoint, they regrouped at the nearby village of Burin — the scene of several previous settler attacks — where they clashed with Palestinian villagers.
“Four Israelis were wounded this morning, one of them seriously, when Palestinians attacked them with stones in Burin,” spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, adding that border police had intervened to impose calm.
He confirmed that two settlers had earlier been detained while protesting the removal of the mobile homes.
An AFP photographer saw a large group of settlers enter Burin and hurl stones at Palestinian villagers, who threw rocks back at them. He said three Palestinians, including a news photographer, were wounded in the fighting.
Hardline settlers in the West Bank have long pursued what they call a “price tag” policy of attacking Palestinian farms and villages to protest the military’s removal of settlement outposts.
Israel’s settler movement is strongly opposed to any withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem, territories occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, because it views them as an inseparable part of biblical Israel.
The Palestinians view the presence of a half million Israelis in more than 120 settlements scattered across the occupied territories as a severe threat to their ability to establish a viable independent state.
The international community considers all Israeli settlements illegal.