Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday night strongly condemned rioting by Jews in Huwara that reportedly left one Palestinian dead. The incident came after Israeli brothers Hallel Menachem and Yagel Yaakov Yaniv were murdered in a terrorist shooting in the same Samaria city earlier in the day.
“Taking the law into one’s own hands, rioting and committing violence against innocents—this is not our way, and I express my forceful condemnation,” said Herzog. “We must allow the IDF, police and security forces to apprehend the despicable terrorist and restore order immediately.”
According to Palestinian media, a few hundred Jews took part in the vigilante activity in Huwara, with some setting fire to Palestinian property and engaging in clashes with local Arabs.
The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry claimed that Sameh Aqtash, a 37-year-old man, was shot dead by Israeli fire during accompanying riots in Za’tara, south of Huwara.
The IDF said that Aqtash “was not shot by an Israeli soldier.”
Earlier in the day, a terrorist had fired on the Yanivs’ vehicle as they sat in traffic on Highway 60, which passes through the city. The victims were evacuated to the hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
Israeli forces were still searching for the attackers on Monday morning.
“The IDF and the security forces are currently in pursuit of the murderer. We will find him. We will apprehend him and we will settle accounts with him,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday.
Addressing the riot in Huwara, he added, “I ask—even when the blood is boiling—not to take the law into one’s hands. I ask that the IDF and the security forces be allowed to carry out their work. I remind you that in recent weeks, they have targeted dozens of terrorists and thwarted dozens of attacks. Let the IDF complete its pursuit and do not take the law into your hands; together we will defeat terrorism.”
Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas denounced the Huwara riot, calling it a “terrorist act carried out by settlers under the protection of the occupation forces,” and blaming the “extreme right-wing Israeli government.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Washington “condemn[s] today’s violence in [Judea and Samaria], including the terrorist attack that killed two Israelis and settler violence, which resulted in the killing of one Palestinian, injuries to over 100 others, and the destruction of extensive property.
“These developments underscore the imperative to immediately de-escalate tensions in words and deeds. The United States will continue to work with Israelis and Palestinians and our regional partners towards restoring calm,” he continued.
Earlier Sunday, Israel and the P.A. affirmed the need to “commit to de-escalation on the ground” at a meeting in Aqaba, Jordan.
Israeli and Palestinian officials met in a bid to reduce tensions in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The meeting was attended by U.S. and Egyptian representatives.