Dozens of Palestinians and Israeli settlers clashed on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank after a building was set ablaze in a settlement outpost, police and witnesses said.
Palestinians in the northern West Bank village of Faraata, near Nablus, said about 50 settlers hurled stones at a house after the fire in nearby Havat Gilad outpost that totally gutted a settler home.
“It was completely destroyed, but no victim was reported, except for a dog that died in the disaster,” a police statement said of the blaze.
“Following the fire there was a clash between Palestinians and Israelis… during which rocks were hurled at each side by the other,” a military spokeswoman told AFP.
“Two Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of igniting the fire and another Palestinian was arrested for allegedly assaulting one of the soldiers,” she added.
Havat Gilad, which houses a few dozen settlers, was set up in 2002 without authorisation from the Israeli government.
A few kilometres (miles) away, settlers cut down 30 olive trees in the Palestinian village of Burin, local Palestinian official Ghassan Daghlas told AFP.
A military spokeswoman said that to the best of her knowledge, trees at Burin were damaged but not destroyed.
More than 310,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and more than 200,000 have settled in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
In the eyes of the international community, all settlements in occupied territory are illegal, whether government-approved or not.