Palestinian Farmer Killed by Israeli Settlers in West Bank

Smoke billows in Gaza City after Israeli jets targeted militant posts in retaliation for mortar rounds fired from the enclave

Palestine was seized by Britain following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire early last century, after which Arthur James Balfour, Britain's then foreign minister, gifted it to the "Jewish people". From conversations with five witnesses to the incident, two soldiers and three settlers, Haaretz has learned that dozens of Palestinians surrounded a group of Israeli youths hiking in the area and threw rocks at them.

Mohammad Amireh, a local anti-settlement activist, said that Palestinians performed Friday prayers in their olive groves, south of the village, expressing their condemnation of the killing of a Palestinian farmer by Israeli Jewish settlers in Nablus-district village of Qusra.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, the fresh clashes between Israelis and Palestinians began after a group of settlers tried to enter Qusra.

According to human rights activists, the slain Palestinian was working in his field when he was shot, and the mob only arrived at the scene later.

The Israeli military said the shooter had opened fire in self-defence as part of a group of settlers hiking near the village of Qusrah who had come under attack. Two of the parents shot and killed one of the assailants.

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The northern West Bank is an occasional flashpoint between settlers and Palestinians.

Schmerling, 70 and who lived in the Israeli settlement of Elkana in the West Bank, was stabbed and beaten to death by the two in his coal warehouse, prosecutors say. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said forces were searching for the suspect who fled the scene.

"By building Jewish residential areas [on occupied Palestinian land] in violation of worldwide law, they [Israel] are preventing us from establishing a sovereign state of Palestine", Abbas said. Israeli forces have killed more than 260 Palestinians in that time.

The frequency and intensity of attacks has lessened in the past year.

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