Israeli settlers set fire to Palestinian farmland in the West Bank last night.
The group of settlers burned a large field and threw rocks at cars with Palestinian license plates in the village of Burin south of Nablus. The attackers came from the nearby Israeli settlement of Har Bracha, according to the Palestinian Authority’s official WAFA News Agency.
The Palestinian Authority's account is disputed. A journalist with Israel's public broadcaster Kan reported that the Israel Defense Forces said that Palestinians started the fire near Har Bracha, and that violence erupted afterwards.
The apparent arson attack came at a time of high tensions in the West Bank and throughout Israel. This week alone, Palestinians shot at Israeli students, Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian woman who charged them with a knife, and Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian man in the territory. Violent incidents between Israelis and Palestinians have occurred throughout the year in the West Bank.
Tensions are also high in Jerusalem, where protests by Jewish and Arab residents have sometimes turned violent. There have also been peaceful solidarity demonstrations between the two communities in the city.
Much of the current conflict in Jerusalem is over the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where an Israeli court ordered some Arabs evicted from their homes that are claimed by Jewish settlers. Both communities have protested in the area this week, leading to clashes with police. Israeli police indefinitely closed the Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem to Jews yesterday in an effort to defuse tensions.
The Jerusalem situation has inflamed tensions throughout and in the Palestinian territories.