Clashes in Huwara

West Bank town becomes flashpoint in settler-Palestinian clashes

Once a visitor's center for cheap shopping on the main road connecting Nablus and Jerusalem, the Palestinian town Huwara is looking more and more like a warzone as IDF tries to prevent both Palestinians and settlers from further provocations and violence

Elisha Ben Kimon |
Published: 06.01.22, 12:13
What was once a peaceful rest stop for Jewish settlers en route to Jerusalem, the Palestinian town Hawara, located in the heart of the West Bank just south of Nablus, has become a focal point for settler-Palestinian strife.
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  • Brawls began when a group of settlers arrived at Huwara to take down Palestinian flags.
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    עימותים בחווארה
    עימותים בחווארה
    Clashes in Huwara
    (Photo: AFP)
    Amid ongoing clashes in Israel due to Sunday's contested Flag March to mark Jerusalem Day, Jewish settler Tzvi Sukkot from the near by settlement of Yitzhar and a few of his friends removed a Palestinian flag hoisted at the center of the town.
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    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    Tzvi Sukkot from Yitzhar
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    "I was with a few friends and we saw the flag," Sukkot says. "I climbed on the roof and got on the pole. It wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but it also wasn't too difficult. I took down the flag and some Arabs took pictures from the side and some shouted. My friends and I returned to the car and drove off," he says. "I cannot say I wasn't afraid at all, but it certainly needed to be done - and I definitely stand behind my actions," the settler says.
    Pictures and video clips of the provocative act went viral on social media - amongst Israelis and Palestinians alike.
    Tareq Hamadi, a Huwara resident, claims that everything started going downhill after the incident.
    "They took down our flag and put up Israeli flags. This cannot be done," he says. "This is our village," Hamadi says. "If I go to Tel Aviv and Petah Tikva and put up our flag, how will it look? It is not good. Huwara is our place."
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    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    Tareq Hamadi
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    In response, the Palestinian residents hoisted flags along the main road, prompting the IDF to get involved. Forces were sent to Huwara and removed the flags, but the provocations induced more violence including stones being thrown by Palestinians at passing cars, and acts of vandalism by settlers against Palestinian businesses.
    Both sides are responsible for the violent outbreaks in Huwara, which was a quiet town with businesses catering to many Israelis.
    On Friday, a group of masked settlers opened fire on a Palestinian café in Huwara and shattered its windows. Luckily, no deaths were reported in the incident.
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    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    תקריות אלימות בין תושבי כפר חווארה למתנחלים
    A coffee shop that was vandalized by settlers, in Huwara
    (Photo: Nadav Abas)
    As the clashes pile on, the IDF deployed more forces to Huwara, awakening more resistance from local residents and causing the town to look more and more like a warzone.
    Located on the main road connecting Nablus southwards to Ramallah and Jerusalem, Huwara was known to be a popular stop for cheap shopping, but has now become a flashpoint in the violence between the Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants of the area, with armed troops thrown into the mix.
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    עימותים בחווארה
    עימותים בחווארה
    Clashes in Huwara
    (Photo: AFP)
    "There has never been anything like this in Huwara," said a Palestinian from a nearby town. "Settlers threw stones at me and at my home."
    The Jewish residents of the nearby settlements announced their plans to establish what they call a "National Guard of Honor," to demonstrate Israel's authority.
    They intend to enter Huwara and replace Palestine flags with Israel flags every time stones are thrown in their direction.
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    עימותים בחווארה
    עימותים בחווארה
    Border Police forces in Huwara
    (Photo: AFP)
    As of now, the IDF does not intend on extending their presence in Huwara for much longer, in hopes that the clashing sides will come to a peaceful middle ground in their absence.
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