On 17 December 2021, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) fired rubber-coated steel bullets and deployed tear gas at Palestinian protesters in the West Bank towns of Beita, Beit Dajan and Burqa. At least 102 people were injured — including at least 50 individuals in Beita, 19 people in Beit Dajan and three more in Burqa. Clashes also occurred in Kafr Qaddoum in Qalqilya Governorate. Meanwhile, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem, several dozen Palestinian residents threw chairs at Israeli security personnel. One security officer suffered minor injuries. Israeli officials detained two Palestinians during the incident.

The protests occurred after a Palestinian man opened fire on a car carrying three Israeli settlers traveling from the West Bank settlement of Homesh to the Shavei Shomron settlement. One Israeli was killed in the shooting. In response, Israeli authorities deployed three additional IDF battalions to the West Bank to pursue the gunman, blocking roadways and setting up checkpoints in the area of Homesh. A spokesperson for the Hamas militant group stated that such shootings targeting Israeli settlers will continue to occur in the West Bank; however, the group did not claim responsibility for the attack.

Analyst Comment: Tensions regarding Israeli settlements and land ownership have been rising during the past several months across the West Bank. Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood have engaged in a long-running court case against their eviction. This court case was the initial flashpoint for the May 2021 Hamas-Israeli conflict. The West Bank towns of Beita and Beit Dajan are located near an Israeli settlement and protests are frequent due to encroachment from the nearby settlement. Burqa is located near Homesh, where the attack against the Israeli settler took place.