EU diplomat demands accountability after Israeli settler rampage in West Bank – World

The European Union’s (EU) envoy to the Palestinians called on Friday for accountability and for perpetrators to be brought to justice after a rampage by Israeli settlers this week in the occupied West Bank in which one Palestinian was killed and dozens of houses, shops, and cars were torched.

Ambassador Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, heading one of the biggest EU delegations to visit the West Bank, said officials wanted to see with their own eyes the damage left by Sunday’s violence in and around the Palestinian village of Huwara.

“It is absolutely necessary for us that accountability is fully ensured, that the perpetrators be brought to justice, that those who lost property be compensated,” Kuhn von Burgsdorff said.

Local media reported that, in a rare move, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant on Thursday signed administrative detention orders for two suspects, after a Jerusalem court ordered police to release all seven people detained in connection with the rampage.

Amnesty International condemned the release of the suspects in a statement and condemned the use of administrative detention, saying it violated international law.

Israeli rights group Yesh Din found that 93 per cent of investigations into settler attacks in the West Bank between 2005 and 2022 were closed without indictment.

On Tuesday, Israeli Major General Yehuda Fuchs, who commands the Israeli military in the area, said his forces had prepared for attempted settler retribution over a gun attack but had been surprised by the intensity of the violence by dozens of people. He called it a “pogrom carried out by outlaws”.

Violence in the West Bank has surged over the past year with stepped-up Israeli military raids. The United States, Jordan, and Egypt have appealed for calm ahead of the holy month of Ramazan and the Jewish Passover festival in late March and early April.

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