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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Palestinian kills American-Israeli settler at West Bank mall

Civilians shot the man after the attack in a settlement south of Jerusalem

Israeli forensic police and soldiers inspect the place where an Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian in a West Bank settlement bloc. AFP
Israeli forensic police and soldiers inspect the place where an Israeli man was stabbed by a Palestinian in a West Bank settlement bloc. AFP

A Palestinian man fatally stabbed an American-Israeli settler at a shopping mall in the occupied West Bank on Sunday before armed civilians shot and wounded him.

The suspect, initially identified as a 17-year-old male from a West Bank village, is in Israeli custody after the death of 45-year-old Ari Fuld in the Gush Etzion settlement.

Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Hamas group that rules the Gaza Strip, called the West Bank stabbing a "natural response to Israeli crimes against Palestinians" in occupied territory. It did not claim responsibility for the attack.

Palestinian attacks against Israeli settlers in the West Bank have taken place sporadically since 2015. A wave of stabbings began in September of that year after Palestinians perceived Israel to be attempting to change the status quo at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis, two visiting Americans and a British tourist in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks. Israeli forces have killed over 260 Palestinians in that period.

Many of the attacks by Palestinians have taken place in and around Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The settlement enterprise is deemed illegal under international law by the majority of the international community.

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The attack against the American settler comes as US-Palestinian relations have fallen to new lows.

In December, US President Donald Trump relocated the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognising the contested city as Israel’s capital. The Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of any future state.

Other US moves against the Palestinians that have forced Ramallah to cut all contacts with officials in Washington have included cutting all aid to the Palestinians, specifically the United Nations agency for Palestinians refugees, Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem and coexistence programs between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Trump administration has failed to condemn continued Israeli settlement building and the Palestinians view the American leader and his team of confidants on Middle East issues as favourable to Israel. They have declared the US to no longer be an impartial broker in the decades-long conflict.

Mr Trump has promised to unveil a much-vaunted peace plan, which he has referred to as the “ultimate deal”, to end the conflict. But the Palestinians have said they will reject any such deal and have expressed scepticism that it will ever be presented by the White House.