Deadly riot in Huwara follows killing of two Israelis

  • The victims, brothers Hallel Yaniv, 21 and Yagel Yaniv, 19, were residents of the settlement of Har Bracha. They were traveling on Route 60 when a Palestinian gunman opened fire from close range at their car and then fled the scene. An initial probe suggested the gunman took advantage of traffic to carry out the attack.

Context: The attack took place during a summit in Aqaba to discuss calming tensions, especially ahead of Ramadan, which this year partially overlaps with Passover.

  • The summit, the first time such a forum of four states plus the Palestinians has been convened, was attended by Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, PA intelligence chief Majed Faraj, U.S National Security Council officials, and Jordanian and Egyptian security personnel.
  • Its announced outcomes included commitments on:
    • Establishing a joint committee to review renewed security coordination between Israel and the PA.
    • No new Israeli decisions on settlement construction for the next 4 months (the recent announcement to legalise nine unauthorised outposts and to build 9,500 new housing units in the West Bank would not be changed.)
    • Forming a joint civilian committee to advance confidence-building economic measures.
    • Encouraging the PA to reassert its security control in the heart of Palestinian population centres.
  • US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan welcomed the “commitments by the Government of Israel and the PA to de-escalate and prevent further violence. The two sides also affirmed their commitment to all previous agreements between them, and to work towards a just and lasting peace.”
  • Jordan’s foreign ministry says the Israeli and Palestinian representatives at the Aqaba summit agreed to work toward a “just and lasting peace” and affirmed the need to “commit to de-escalation on the ground.
  • There was disagreement over what had been agreed regarding settlement construction. The State Department said that both sides had “confirmed their joint readiness and commitment to immediately work to end unilateral measures for a period of 3–6 months” adding that “this includes an Israeli commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorization of any outposts for 6 months.”
  • Israel denied there was a general commitment to halt settlement expansion. Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted that “Contrary to the tweets, the construction and regulation in Judea and Samaria will continue according to the original schedule, with no changes. There is and there will be no freeze.” Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich had previously said that he didn’t “know what was or was not talked about in Jordan…there is one thing I do know: there will not be any freezing of building and developments in settlements for even one day (and it’s under my authority).”

Looking ahead: The manhunt for yesterday’s shooter continues. The IDF, Israel Police and Israel Border Police forces are currently operating in the Shomron Regional Brigade.

  • The IDF announced that following a situational assessment, it was decided to reinforce the Judea and Samaria Division with two additional battalions. Furthermore, as part of the expanding security activity in the city of Nablus, it was decided to increase the security checks on routes leading in and out of the city.
  • Another Israeli-Jordanian-Egyptian meeting is scheduled before Ramadan in order, according to an Israeli official “to examine progress in the security arena.”