Security forces braced on Friday for more violence after Israeli hardliners went on the rampage against Palestinians in retaliation for the eviction of settlers from a disputed Hebron house.
The entire southern West Bank was declared a closed military zone to prevent Israelis from converging again on the flashpoint city where a mob of Jewish extremists on Thursday shot and wounded three Palestinians, hurled rocks at others and torched homes, fields and cars.
Right-wing Israelis have vowed to exact revenge for Thursday's forceful eviction of some 250 settlers from the house that had come to symbolise hardliners' determination to fight for what they consider their God-given right to all the biblical land of Israel -- including the Palestinian territories.
Israeli authorities were also worried about a Palestinian backlash amid simmering anger over the perceived failure of security forces to confront the rampaging mob in Hebron. Most Israeli media hailed the security forces, who used tear gas to finally drag the settlers from the house following an Israeli high court order on November 16.
The Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, says settlers shot and wounded three Palestinians.
But the governor of the Nablus region, Jamal Moheisin, has warned that if Israel did not control the settlers,
We will call on the Palestinian residents to go out to the streets and fight back.UN envoy Robert Serry said in a statement,
I remain concerned about the potential for a further escalation of a tense situation. As the occupying power, the government of Israel is under obligation to protect Palestinian civilians, property and holy sites... actions of extremists continue to pose a threat to the peace process.Time for a poll, Mr. Serry.
Will all those who believe there will ever be a Palestinian nation-state, please raise their hand?