RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) – Israeli settlers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the occupied West Bank on Saturday, Palestinian officials and the Israeli military said.
The incident followed a confrontation between settlers and Palestinians near the city of Ramallah in which a settler was lightly injured, the military said.
“Initial details suggest that shortly thereafter, a conflict erupted between Israeli civilians and Palestinians in the area, in which live rounds were fired by the civilians. One Palestinian died and several others are injured,” the military said in a statement, adding that an investigation has begun.
The Palestinians said the settlers had entered the village of al-Mughayer and that its residents tried to fend them off. The Israeli military said its forces dispersed the crowds. The Palestinian Health Ministry said that the man killed was 38 years old and that nine other people were wounded by gunfire.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the killing.
“The Israeli Government is continuing its policy of escalation,” Abbas said in a statement published by the official Wafa news agency. “This will lead to serious consequences, further tension and the creation of a dangerous and uncontrollable atmosphere.”
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014, and a bid by U.S. President Donald Trump to restart negotiations has so far shown little progress.
The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip with a capital in east Jerusalem, territories Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East War.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move unrecognized abroad and in 2005 pulled its settlers and army out of Gaza. It maintains a blockade of the territory, which is controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the West.
In the West Bank, the Palestinians have limited self-rule and most of the territory is controlled by Israel. Most countries view the settlements Israel has built there as illegal – a view that Israel disputes, citing biblical, historical and political ties to the land.
(Reporting by Ali Sawafta and Maayan Lubell; Editing by Hugh Lawson)