With Israeli-Palestinian peace talks dormant since 2014, the bloodshed has raised concerns about a wider escalation and a possible third Palestinian “intifada” uprising, though it has not reached the level of past Israeli-Palestinian confrontations.
Tensions have been inflamed in particular by frequent clashes between Palestinian stone-throwers and Israeli security forces at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.
The demolitions come on the back of Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that Israel will implement harsh security measures in order to quell growing unrest in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Another two settlers were stabbed and shot to death October. 3 in Jerusalem, while the Palestinian perpetrator, Muhannad Halabi from al-Bireh, was killed.
Palestinian medics said two protesters in the usually quiet desert town of Jericho were moderately wounded by shots to the legs.
Netanyahu said he has sent thousands more soldiers and police to the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem and that “we are allowing our forces to take strong action against those who throw rocks and firebombs”. “We are not prepared to give immunity to anybody – not to any rioter or any terrorist anywhere”.
The killing of settlers in Nablus came just hours after Abbas’ speech September 30 at the United Nations in which he said, “We therefore declare that we can not continue to be bound by these agreements and that Israel must assume all of its responsibilities as an occupying power”.
After years of diplomatic paralysis, many have lost hope in the chance of setting up a state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in 1967.
The Secretary-General condemned the killings and said he looks to the Government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation into the incidents, including whether the use of force was proportional.
Israeli security forces demolished the homes of Palestinians Ghassan Abu Jamal and Mohammed Jaabis on Tuesday.
Yasser Abdu, 40, a neighbour and friend of the Abu Jamals, accused Israel of a “policy of collective punishment”.
The demolition explosion, which took place at approximately 0220 GMT, blew out the interior of the structure but the supporting pillars remained intact, an AFP journalist said.
The blast damaged other apartments in the building as well as surrounding structures.
On Sunday, Netanyahu announced a package of new measures including swifter demolition of homes belonging to anyone suspected of attacks, broader use of detention without trial for suspects, and reinforcements for Jerusalem and the West Bank. Jaabis was shot dead by police at the scene.
Huzeifa Othman Suleiman is the first Palestinian to be killed in a spike of violence in the West Bank after a Palestinian attacker killed two Israelis in Jerusalem’s Old City on Saturday evening, prompting an Israeli security clampdown.
Police shot dead the Palestinian knife-wielder and the military arrested five members of the Islamist Hamas group for the shooting.
At least 25 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces at Qalandiya checkpoint, the main crossing between Jerusalem and Ramallah, the Palestinian Red Crescent said, according to Ma’an News Agency. Peter Lerner, said there was no change in troops’ open fire-rules.
The following day, authorities imposed a rare ban on Palestinians entering the walled district, except for residents, business owners and schoolchildren.