JERUSALEM: Israeli troops on Saturday shot and killed a Palestinian motorist who allegedly tried to ram his car into a group of soldiers patrolling in the West Bank, according to Israeli soldiers and media.
The incident took place near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank — the focal point of the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in the occupied territory since 2016.
In a brief statement, the military said the soldiers opened fire when the motorist tried to run them over. Israeli media said the driver was killed. There was no way to immediately verify the account.
Palestinian assailants have carried out dozens of attempted stabbings and car rammings in recent years. But Palestinians and human rights groups say that Israeli troops often use excessive force, and in some cases, have shot people who did not pose a threat.
Israeli troops have been carrying out stepped-up activity in the northern West Bank since a series of deadly Palestinian attacks inside Israel last spring. Several attackers came from the area.
Abbas calls on Israel to resume negotiations immediately
On Friday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s call for a two-state solution was a “positive development” but said the proof would be a return to negotiations.
“The true test of the credibility and seriousness of this stance is for the Israeli government to return to the negotiation table immediately,” he told the UN General Assembly, in a speech that largely lambasted Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.
Israel captured East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza - areas that Palestinians seek for an independent state - in the 1967 Middle East war. US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
Efforts to reach a two-state deal, which involves an Israeli and Palestinian state existing side by side, have long been stalled.
“Our confidence in achieving peace based on justice and international law is unfortunately waning because of Israel’s occupation policies,” Abbas said, calling Israel an “apartheid regime.”
“Israel has not left us any land on which we can establish our independent state because of its frantic settlement expansion,” Abbas said. “Where will our people live in freedom and dignity?”
Abbas said that while Western governments have supported the two-state formula, they have in effect obstructed its implementation by failing to recognise Palestine as a state and by shielding Israel from accountability.
He asked the United Nations to recognise full state membership for Palestine and lay out a plan to end Israel’s occupation.
In his speech, Abbas reiterated the Palestinian position that Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was killed by an Israeli sniper while covering an Israeli raid in the West Bank in May. He demanded that the United States seek justice for Abu Akleh, who is a dual Palestinian-American national.
An Israeli investigation into Abu Akleh’s killing concluded that she was likely to have been shot by an Israeli soldier but was not deliberately targeted.