Palestinians in the towns of Ramallah and Al-Bireh in the occupied West Bank announced a comprehensive strike and day of rage Wednesday afternoon to be observed on Thursday, June 22, in response to Israeli settler attacks on Turmusaya and to mourn the souls of the Palestinians that were slaughtered.
At around lunchtime on Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of illegal Israeli settlers attacked the town of Turmusaya in the occupied West Bank under the protection of Israeli occupation forces. The Turmusaya attack followed a night full of similar attacks in Nablus, where armed Israeli settlers and troops wounded several Palestinians.
According to the Palestinian health ministry, 27-year-old Omar Ketin was shot and killed on Wednesday in Turmusaya. It is still unknown if Israeli settlers or occupation forces murdered Ketin.
In an interview with the Middle East Eye, the mayor of Turmusaya, Lafi Adeeb, said that over 400 armed Israeli settlers from the illegal Shilo settlement stormed the Palestinian community, setting fire to around 60 vehicles and 30 homes. Abeed said that he and several other residents frantically evacuated Palestinians from burning buildings, including children, women, and the elderly who were choking from smoke inhalation.
“This is genocide. This is a war against us,” Adeeb said. “Settlers carrying weapons and canisters full of fuel attack our small village and set fire to houses over the heads of their inhabitants.”
While this is far from the first attack on Turmusaya, Wednesday was the largest attack in many years. Land has been confiscated from Turmusaya by the Israeli occupation for the illegal construction of the Shil settlement and several other outposts. Turmusaya has been targeted during multiple settler attacks throughout recent years.
Dozens of unarmed residents confronted the Israeli settlers as they stormed Turmusaya. The confrontations were to no avail as Israeli soldiers blocked the path, protecting the attackers. Ambulances and fire engines were delayed in arriving at the scene due to the town’s entrances being closed off by Israeli occupation forces. Mayor Adeeb said that over 100 Palestinians were wounded, including 12 who were shot by live ammunition.
“They attacked our town by surprise, sneaking in at noon because they know that the citizens are busy and most of them are outside the town. The attack was large and organized, with full protection and coordination with the Israeli army, which is working against us and protecting them,” Adeeb told Middle East Eye.
The wounded had to be transported by other residents due to ambulances being blocked from much of Turmusaya. Ahmed Jabara, a Turmusaya resident, described the attack as “ferocious,” especially because the attacking settlers were armed and under the protection of Israeli forces.
“We finished the noon prayer, then he heard screams on the northern side of the town,” Jabara told reporters. “We rushed there and found the vehicles burning and everything on fire, which devoured the agricultural crops and trees.”
According to Ameer Makhoul, a Palestinian analyst specializing in Israeli issues, the attack was “not settler aggression, but state terrorism.”
“Terrorist settler gangs are an integral part of the occupying state, and their job is to commit acts of genocide and intimidation of the Palestinians so that their state escapes responsibility and legal accountability,” he explained.
“Terrorist gangs alongside the regular forces are an integral part of Zionist ideology,” Makhoul continued. “This is what the Arab student movement witnessed in Israeli universities in the 70s and the beginning of the 80s when the police allied with the universities’ security, the Shin Bet, and criminal gangs to suppress Arab students.”
It needs to be noted that since the Arab American News started putting this article together, another Israeli settler attack has started in Nablus. Around 300 Israeli settlers stormed the town of Unif. Similar to the attack in Turmusaya, the settlers are under the protection and guidance of Israeli occupation forces.