Israel charges 2 settlers with 'terrorism' against Palestinians in West Bank
The Israeli Office of the State Attorney charged on Thursday two Israeli settlers with "terror offenses" for attacking Palestinians in the West Bank town of Hawara on March 6.
In a statement, Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency identified the two as Hanoch Akiva Rabin, 25, from the illegal Givat Ronen outpost, and Raz Haim Giron, 21, from the hardline settlement of Yitzhar. They have been under police arrest since March 13.
According to the indictment, Rabin and Giron arrived at a Palestinian supermarket in Hawara with a group of armed settlers, who carried an axe, a hammer, stones, and pepper spray.
Rabin and Giron attacked a Palestinian family who was sitting in their car after shopping at the supermarket. They smashed the car's windows and attacked one of the passengers with an axe, as per the indictment.
The two had arrived at Hawara with "the intention of committing an act of terror against Palestinians in Hawara, motivated by nationalism," according to their indictment. Their charges include committing terrorist offenses, aggravated malicious damage, and racially motivated vehicle damage.
According to the Shin Bet, the two are part of "a violent group" that seeks to harm Palestinians and "disrupt public peace in the area." The Shin Bet also stated that frequent violent attacks by settlers often "result in incitement and tensions."
About a week before the incident, approximately 400 Israeli settlers carried out a rampage in Hawara and the nearby town of Zaatra. The settlers set fire to the towns, leaving one fatality and at least 100 injuries, according to figures released by the Palestinian Health Ministry, in one of the most severe incidents of settler violence in decades.
The settlements are located in the West Bank, a territory that Israel captured during the 1967 Middle East war and controlled ever since, despite facing international criticism.