02/06/2023, 19.45
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Israeli raid kills five in Jericho, Netanyahu plans tunnels between settlements

Israeli forces attacked the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp this morning looking for the authors of a restaurant attack in late January that failed because a gun jammed. Israel’s prime minister wants to build a network of underground roads to "fill" the West Bank and give Jewish settlements “territorial contiguity”.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – Endless violence between Israelis and Palestinians is increasing in a "senseless crescendo" as some Christian leaders said recently.

Israeli security forces killed five Palestinians during an early morning raid in the Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, near Jericho, West Bank; the dead included fighters from the extremist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza Strip. The latter were planning a "mass murder spree" but were "neutralised" before they could strike.

According to the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, some of them were also involved in an attack against a restaurant.

On 28 January, two armed men approached the Me Casa restaurant not far from the Almog intersection, near Jericho, which was serving 30 thirty people at the time. After a single shot was fired, the gun used by one of the attackers jammed, and the pair fled.

The IDF said that the gunmen hid in a flat helped by neighbours and relatives, planning further attacks.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build a network of high-speed, high-flow underground roads to “fill” the occupied West Bank, the Zman Yisrael site reported. This would link Jewish settlements and address traffic jams and congestion problems.

According to Netanyahu, the tunnels could also refute Palestinian claims that West Bank settlements have no territorial contiguity, as they would be linked underground.

For the Israeli prime minister, the links would provide better security and protection against "Palestinian attacks" and boost his expansionist policy.

The Jewish settler population in the occupied West Bank now tops half a million, a number called a "milestone" by pro-occupation groups who support Israel's expansionist policy at the expense of the Palestinians.

This could be just the first stage of a broader policy of enhanced expansion, speeding up the growth of the settler population, who would then support Israel’s new ultra-nationalist government, the most right-wing ever in the history of the Jewish state.

It should be noted that settlements have grown under every Israeli government since the occupation began, irrespective of their ideological leaning, even during the peace process in the 1990s.

Israel’s previous short-lived government, which included parties that support, at least in principle, the Palestinian cause and an independent Palestinian state, also favoured an expansionist policy in the territories.

As the number of victims and attacks increase, Christians, too, have become targets, the latest incident involving the Church of the Flagellation in Jerusalem, last week.

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