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Palestinian driver seriously wounded in suspected settler attack

Police and Shin Bet investigating after vehicle flips, causing serious head injury; youths had reportedly been seen in area throwing rocks

The scene of a car crash following a suspected settler attack in the West Bank on November 24, 2021. (United Hatzala)
The scene of a car crash following a suspected settler attack in the West Bank on November 24, 2021. (United Hatzala)

A Palestinian driver was seriously injured on Wednesday in the West Bank when his car was allegedly stoned by an Israeli settler, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and crash.

The injured driver was identified as Raid Kharaz, 45, from Nablus.

He was hurt when the vehicle he was driving swerved off the road and flipped over near the village of al-Mughayir in the central part of the West Bank.

He was transferred by helicopter to Hadassah Ein Kerem medical center in Jerusalem, which said he had suffered a serious head injury.

His son, who was with him in the vehicle, was lightly injured in the crash.

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settler violence, said a rock thrown by a settler had smashed through his windshield, causing him to crash.

Israeli police suspected the accident was caused by stone-throwing and opened an investigation into the case. The Shin Bet internal security service was also involved, the Ynet news site reported.

Channel 13 said youth were seen throwing stones in the area shortly before the accident.

A Palestinian driver was lightly injured recently when his windshield was smashed by a thrown rock.

A Palestinian Authority spokesperson condemned the incident, saying “settler terrorism against Palestinians is escalating.”

Car stonings by both settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank are common and in some cases have led to serious injuries or deaths.

Recent months have seen a noted rise in violent attacks by Israeli extremists against Palestinians compared to previous years, with at least 67 such assaults reported during this autumn’s olive harvest, compared to 42 last year, according to IDF figures reported by Army Radio this week.

The annual olive harvest season often sees heightened tensions and increased violence by Israeli settlers. These attacks have often included vandalism to olive groves, burning or cutting down trees, but have often also seen rock-throwing, beating people with clubs and, occasionally, gunfire.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a high-level meeting with top representatives of the country’s security forces on Thursday night to discuss a recent increase in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, calling for the military to intervene before someone was killed.

Channel 13 said a police vehicle was burned in the settlement of Kiryat Arba overnight Tuesday-Wednesday in a suspected attack by settlers.

Far-right activists have also renewed protests in recent weeks over the case of Ahuvia Sandak, a settler teen who died in a police chase last year after allegedly throwing rocks at Palestinians.

In 2018, a Jewish teen was charged with killing a Palestinian mother, Aisha Rabi, after hurling a heavy rock at the windshield of a car she was traveling in near the northern West Bank’s Tapuah Junction. The case is ongoing.

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