Points off Israeli settlers went on a violent rampage in the northern West Bank late Sunday, setting fire to cars and homes after two settlers were killed by a Palestinian armed man. Palestinian doctors said dozens were injured.

The deadly shooting, followed by the late-night advance, immediately cast doubt on Jordan’s declaration that it had received promises from Israeli and Palestinian officials to calm a year-long wave of violence.

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In what appeared to be the most serious outbreak of settler violence in years, images and video on social media showed large fires burning throughout the town of Hawara – the site of the deadly shooting earlier in the day.

In one video, scores of Jewish settlers could be heard reciting the Jewish prayer for the dead as they stared at a building in flames. And earlier, a prominent Israeli minister and settler leader had called on Israel to strike “without mercy”.

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Palestinian media said at least 20 vehicles and buildings were burned, and the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that over 100 were injured.

As videos of the violence appeared on the evening news, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed for calm. He said security forces were searching for the gunmen and called for an end to violence. “I ask that when the blood is boiling and the spirits are hot, do not take the law into your hands,” Netanyahu said in a video statement.

The Israeli military said its chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Herzl Halevi, rushed to the scene and that forces were trying to restore order.

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Ramadan came shortly after the Jordanian government, which hosted Sunday’s talks in the Red Sea resort of Aqaba, said the sides had agreed to take steps to reduce tensions and would meet again next month ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan .

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“They reaffirmed the need to commit to de-escalation on the ground and to prevent further violence,” the Jordanian foreign ministry announced.

After nearly a year of fighting that has killed over 200 Palestinians and more than 40 Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Jordanian announcement marked a small sign of progress. But the situation on the ground immediately called these commitments into question.

The Palestinians claim the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip – areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war – for a future state. About 700,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The international community overwhelmingly considers the settlements to be illegal and an obstacle to peace.

Prominent members of Israel’s far-right government called for tough measures against the Palestinians.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a leader of the settler movement who has been put in charge of much of Israel’s West Bank policy, called for “hitting the terror cities and their instigators without mercy, with tanks and helicopters.”

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Using a phrase that calls for a more heavy-handed response, he said Israel should act “in a way that conveys that the master of the house has gone mad.”

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An Israeli ministerial committee gave initial approval to a bill that would introduce the death penalty for Palestinians convicted of deadly attacks. The measure was sent to lawmakers for further debate.

There were also differing interpretations of exactly what was agreed upon in Aqaba between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Jordan’s foreign minister said the representatives agreed to work for a “just and lasting peace” and were committed to preserving the status quo in Jerusalem’s disputed holy site.

Tensions at the site revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif have often spilled over into violence and two years ago sparked an 11-day war between Israel and the Hamas militant group during Ramadan.

Officials with Israel’s government, the most right-wing in Israel’s history, played down Sunday’s meeting.

A senior official, speaking on condition of anonymity under government guidelines, said only that the sides in Jordan agreed to set up a committee to work on renewing security ties with the Palestinians. The Palestinians severed ties last month after a deadly Israeli military raid in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, who led the Israeli delegation, said there were “no changes” in Israeli policy and plans to build thousands of new settlement homes approved last week would not be affected.

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He said “there is no freezing of settlements” and “there is no limitation of the army’s activity.”

The Jordanian announcement had said Israel pledged not to legalize more outposts for six months or to approve new construction in existing settlements for four months.

The Palestinians, meanwhile, said they had presented a long list of grievances, including an end to the construction of Israeli settlements on occupied land and an end to Israeli military raids on Palestinian towns.

Sunday’s shooting in Hawara came days after an Israeli military raid killed 10 Palestinians in the nearby city of Nablus. The shooting occurred on a major highway that serves both Palestinians and Israeli settlers. The two men killed were identified as brothers, aged 21 and 19, from the Jewish settlement of Har Bracha.

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Hanegbi was joined by the head of Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency, who attended the talks in neighboring Jordan. The head of Palestinian intelligence and an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas also joined.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who has close ties to the Palestinians, led the discussions, while Egypt, another mediator, and the United States also participated.

In Washington, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan welcomed the meeting and commitments to reduce violence. “We recognize that this meeting was a starting point and that there is much work to be done in the coming months,” he said. “Implementation will be critical.”

It was a rare high-level meeting between the sides, illustrating the severity of the crisis and fears of increased violence as Ramadan approaches in late March.

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In Gaza, Hamas, an Islamic militant group that seeks Israel’s destruction, criticized Sunday’s meeting, calling the shooting a “natural reaction” to Israeli incursions into the West Bank.

“The resistance in the West Bank will remain present and growing, and no plan or summit will be able to stop it,” spokesman Hazem Qassem said.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. The militant group Hamas subsequently took control of the territory, and Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the territory.

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Israel has vowed to continue fighting militants in the West Bank, where the Palestinian Authority often has little control. Israel is also led by a far-right government whose members oppose concessions to the Palestinians and prefer to build settlements on occupied land that the Palestinians seek for a future state.

Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has increased since Israel stepped up raids across the West Bank following a spate of Palestinian attacks last spring. The bloodshed has increased this year, with more than 60 Palestinians killed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to an Associated Press tally. Palestinian attacks on Israelis have killed 13 people in 2023, after about 30 people were killed in Palestinian attacks last year.

Israel says the raids are intended to dismantle militant networks and deter future attacks. The Palestinians say Israel is further cementing its 55-year uninterrupted occupation of land it wants for a future state, as well as undermining its own security forces.

Ramadan this year coincides with the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover and worshipers from both faiths are expected to flock to the holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, which is often a flashpoint for violence between the sides.


AP correspondent Omar Akour contributed reporting from Amman, Jordan.