A Palestinian woman was killed in a car crash late Friday in the northern West Bank, which a rights group and Palestinian media said came after a group of Jewish settlers threw rocks at the vehicle she was riding in.
According to Yesh Din, which documents alleged Israeli rights abuses in the West Bank, the stone-throwing at the Tapuah Junction caused 47-year-old Aisha Muhammad Talal Rabi’s husband to lose control of the car.
A spokesman for the Shin Bet confirmed Saturday that the security agency opened a probe into the incident, suggesting that it was indeed suspected of being an act of terror carried out by area settlers. The nationalistic crime unit of the police’s Judea and Samaria (West Bank) District is also probing the death, which has been placed under a gag order, although authorities have not ruled out the possibility that a group of Palestinians stone throwers mistook Rabi’s vehicle for an Israeli one.
The mother-of-eights’s cousin Isam Rabi said her husband spotted a small group of settlers close to the scene.
She was taken to hospital in Nablus where she succumbed to her wounds. Her husband received a head wound during the crash, but Yesh Din did not specify the severity of his injury.
The couple were from the nearby village of Biddya, Yesh Din said.
Following reports of the fatal crash, Rabbis for Human Rights warned of a “deteriorating situation” in the West Bank.
“There has been an increase in the rate of injury to Palestinian civilians,” it said in a statement, calling on Israeli security forces to protect Palestinians.
“At the same time, our organization condemns any kind of aggression against all parties.”
MK Yehudah Glick of the ruling Likud party called for the perpetrators to face justice. “If Jewish settlers indeed threw rocks at Palestinian cars and killed a woman, they must be found and put on trial as soon as possible, and punished,” he said in a tweet. Glick, who is himself a resident of a West bank settlement, added, “Killers are also enemies of the settlement movement.”
Friday’s incident in the northern West Bank came amid high tensions after a pair of terror attacks against Israelis in the area earlier in the week.
On Sunday, two Israelis were killed by a Palestinian coworker in a terror shooting at the Barkan Industrial Park and on Thursday an IDF reservist was moderately hurt in a stabbing attack outside an army base.
The Shin Bet security service announced the arrest of the suspected assailant hours after Thursday’s stabbing though Ashraf Na’alow, the suspect in the shooting attack, remains on the run.
Following the stabbing, more than a dozen settler youths were filmed hurling stones at Palestinian cars stopped at an IDF checkpoint that was erected after the attack.
Footage documented by a field worker for the Yesh Din rights group shows some 15 young Israelis fleeing a hilltop adjacent to the Yitzhar settlement and piling into a pair of vehicles after a police van arrives at the scene.
The two Israeli vehicles seen in the video clip manage to speed away without being stopped by authorities.
According to Yesh Din, the settlers later returned to a nearby hilltop, from which they continued throwing rocks at Palestinians. The rights group claimed IDF troops at the scene did not act to stop the settlers. There was no immediate comment from the army.
In response to the stabbing, pro-settler leaders urged the government to step up its measures against terrorism, with one urging action “as if in war.”