The United Nations Mideast envoy on Sunday called the death of a Palestinian man in West Bank clashes with Israeli settlers “shocking and unacceptable.”
Nikolay Mladenov called on Israel to “put an end to settler violence and bring those responsible to justice.”
Hamdi Naasan, 38, was killed Saturday near the village of al-Mughayyir, close to Ramallah.
There were conflicting claims as to how the deadly incident unfolded: Palestinians said settlers from the outpost of Adei Ad arrived at an olive tree grove outside Al-Mughayyir and attacked villagers, shooting and injuring several of them. They said Na’asan had been shot in the back. According to Hebrew media reports Na’asan had previously spent seven years in an Israeli prison, with some reports saying his term was for terror offenses including planting explosives and shooting at Israelis.
Meanwhile, settlers claimed that a youth was set upon by a Palestinian mob and had been stabbed in the hand, leading to the clashes and resulting in some settlers firing shots in the air after “they felt their lives were in danger.”
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In a statement to the media, the Israeli youth who was allegedly attacked said he had walked 200 meters (600 feet) from the outpost for some solitude when “suddenly I saw three Arabs who ambushed me. They attacked me, hit me, and tried to drag me toward [their] village. I managed to escape to Adei Ad, and on the way I realized I had been stabbed in the arm. I saw blood.”
He said he called out the outpost’s armed defense squad and “they gave chase to the attackers.” When the squad reached the outskirts of Al-Mughayyir they were confronted by a large crowd of Palestinians, he said.
The army said that clashes erupted between the sides, during which one or more settlers discharged their weapons, apparently killing Na’asan and possibly wounding several others.
It was not immediately clear whether the injured Palestinians had also been hit by settler fire or in subsequent clashes when Israeli troops arrived to restore order.
The Israel Police and military have launched investigations, and on Sunday police summoned for questioning over 20 members of the Adei Ad outpost’s security squad.
The violence came days after Israel charged a Jewish teenager with manslaughter in the death of a Palestinian woman in the West Bank.
Over 400,000 settlers live in the West Bank, which Israel gained control of in the 1967 Six Day War.