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Israeli prime minister condemns settler assaults on Palestinians in Hebron

Outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has condemned settler assaults on Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, Anadolu reports.

Dozens of Palestinians were hurt on Saturday as thousands of Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli extremist leader Itamar Ben-Gvir gathered in Hebron’s Old City to celebrate the Jewish Sabbath holiday.

Israeli media also reported that settlers had attacked Israeli soldiers during their celebrations.

In a tweet, Lapid termed the assaults as “national disgrace”, vowing to bring attackers of an Israeli female soldier during the settler celebrations to justice.

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz also “strongly condemned” what he said “extremist” Israeli settlers’ attacks on “security forces and Palestinian residents” in Hebron, adding that Israeli forces will continue to “maintain public order.”

READ: Israel settlers steal cattle from Palestinian farmers 

Last week, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a leaked audio that “the whole world is worried” about the far-right views of Ben-Gvir, who is expected to become a minister in the upcoming government.

Ben-Gvir holds far-right views on the Palestinians. He had previously called for the displacement of Palestinians. He also caused a wave of escalation in occupied East Jerusalem after setting up an office in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Ben-Gvir has repeatedly joined Israeli settlers in storming the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israeli media earlier reported that Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu reached a deal with Ben-Gvir’s party to increase the number of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Hebron is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 500 Jewish settlers. The latter live in a series of Jewish-only enclaves heavily guarded by Israeli troops

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