A Jewish settler killed a 19-year-old Palestinian during a settler attack on the occupied West Bank town of Huwara on Friday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.
Residents said a group of settlers had erected a tent in Huwara, held prayers, and later marched through the town, some of them carrying arms, and began vandalising shops and cars.
One of the settlers shot university student Labib Dumaidi, who later died of his wounds in hospital, the residents said.
The Israeli military, offering a different account, said its forces fired at a Palestinian who had hurled a brick at an Israeli vehicle during clashes between dozens of settlers and townspeople. It said the suspect was struck by gunfire but did not elaborate on his identity.
A military spokesperson said the military was unaware of any settler having fired a weapon during the confrontations.
Violence again erupted later on Friday when dozens of people attended Dumaidi’s funeral under the watch of Israeli soldiers.
The Palestinian Red Crescent said at least 51 Palestinians were wounded in clashes with the military during the funeral, mostly from tear gas and rubber-tipped bullets and three from live fire.
In testimony Israeli human rights group Yesh Din collected from Dumaidi’s family, relatives said he had been shot in the chest while standing on the roof of their home trying to ward off settlers who were hurling rocks at the house and vandalising the family’s car.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Dumaidi’s killing as a “heinous crime” and called for international intervention to stop armed settler militias.
Residents said Israeli soldiers had turned a blind eye to the settler violence at the time of Dumaidi’s shooting.
“It’s clear that the settler militias are protected by the occupation’s soldiers,” said Thaer Qawareeq, an employee at a supermarket damaged by the settlers, as his colleagues cleaned the pavement of glass shards. “This is the third time settlers shatter the supermarket’s glass exterior.”
In a visit to the area on Friday, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also holds some West Bank powers, said that Israel must take firmer action against Palestinian militants “to save lives and reinstate security.”
He added that he was committed to further developing Jewish settlements, which most countries deem as illegal.
The West Bank, among the territories where Palestinians seek statehood, has experienced a surge of violence in recent months amid expanding Jewish settlements and an almost decade-old impasse in U.S.-sponsored peacemaking.
In the first eight months of 2023, an average of three settler-related incidents occurred per day, the highest daily average of settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians since the United Nations started recording this data in 2006.
Huwara is surrounded by settlements that cut off Palestinians from each other and from their land.
Located on the main road connecting the northern city of Nablus to Ramallah and Jerusalem, the town has become the scene of repeated settler assaults on Palestinians, military restrictions and shooting attacks on Israelis.
On Thursday, a suspected Palestinian gunman shot at a car in Huwara carrying three members of an Israeli family who were unharmed. Israeli security forces tracked him down and killed him.
This came hours after two Palestinian gunmen and five Israeli soldiers were wounded in separate clashes.