In a mass rally, Israeli settlers march to West Bank outposts. WGN Radio 720

JERUSALEM (AP) — Thousands of Israelis, led by at least seven ministers, marched into displaced West Bank settlements on Monday. It is a defiant signal that Israel’s most right-wing government in history is determined to accelerate settlement building in the occupied territories despite international opposition.

Mass rallies also threatened to add to tensions built by days of unrest across the region over the disputed holy site of Jerusalem. In renewed violence, Israeli forces killed her 15-year-old Palestinian boy during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank, and a 48-year-old Israeli woman suffered injuries in an attack last week. died as a result of which two daughters died.

Monday’s march took place in the north West Bank, where violence has continued in recent months. Thousands of Israeli police and troops were reportedly deployed to secure the march, adding to the already flammable atmosphere as major Jewish and Muslim holy days overlap. Tensions between Israel and Palestine have reached a climax in recent weeks over the Temple in Jerusalem.

The march to Eviatal, an unlicensed settlement in the northern West Bank evacuated by the previous Israeli government in 2021, was led by hardline ultranationalist Jewish settlers.

Another settler leader, Daniela Weiss, said on Kan public radio that the minister’s participation in the march would be “a cure for liberating the government from US and European mandates” regarding the West Bank settlements. said it was possible.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the most religious and ultra-nationalist government in Israel’s history. Several members of his cabinet (both West Bank settlers), including Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich and National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gubir, and at least 20 of his members of the Knesset, were participating in the march. .

Addressing the march, Ben-Gvir said, “We are here to say that the State of Israel is strong,” “We are here and will stay here.”

Visits to Eviatar have been officially banned by the military since the withdrawal, but the ban has been loosely enforced in recent months. Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said the military approved Monday’s march and said it would be “closely monitored and heavily protected”. Many families, almost all of whom were Orthodox Jews, joined the march, many pushing strollers.

Tensions between Israel and Palestine soared last week after police raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The hilltop complex with the mosque is the emotional ground zero of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the Jews, it is known as the Temple Mount, the holiest place of their faith, where in ancient times he had two temples. For Muslims, it is known as a noble sanctuary with the Al-Aqsa Mosque, his third holiest place in Islam.

Dozens of Jewish visitors, escorted by Israeli police for the second day in a row, entered the scene on Monday. These tours by religious and nationalist Jews have increased in size and frequency in recent years, sparking fear among Palestinians that Israel may divide the site. Israel insists it has no intention of changing its longstanding arrangement of allowing Jews to visit, but not worship at, Muslim-controlled shrines.

Last week, Palestinians demanded their right to barricade themselves with stones and firecrackers inside Al-Aqsa and pray there overnight. Israel has so far been allowed only his last 10 days of Ramadan. Police removed them by force, detaining hundreds and wounding dozens.

The violence was followed by rocket launches by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip, southern Lebanon and Syria since Wednesday, and Israeli airstrikes targeting those areas.

Palestinian attacks have also been seen recently, killing two Anglo-Israeli sisters and an Italian tourist. On Monday, Hadassah Hospital in Israel announced the death of Lucy Dee, the mother of two sisters. Lucy Dee, who was traveling with her daughters, had been hospitalized in critical condition since the West Bank shootings on Friday.

The Israeli military said its troops were operating in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp adjacent to Jericho in the West Bank. The Palestinian Ministry of Health said 15-year-old Mohammed He Barhan was killed by army fire.

The military said it entered the camp to arrest a wanted Palestinian suspect. Residents opened fire and threw explosives at the army, who responded with live ammunition, which he said was a “confirmed hit.” A wanted suspect was arrested and there were no Israeli casualties.

Palestinian attacks have killed at least 20 people since the beginning of the year, including one soldier. At least 92 Palestinians have died in Israeli fires so far this year, at least half of whom belonged to extremist groups, according to an Associated Press tally.

Israel occupied the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War. It built dozens of settlements that are now home to over 700,000 Jewish settlers.

Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. Palestinians want the West Bank along with Gaza and East Jerusalem for a future independent state.

The Netanyahu government has made expansion of the settlement a top priority and is already planning to build thousands of additional homes. In a mass rally, Israeli settlers march to West Bank outposts. WGN Radio 720

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