The Israelis – who were members of the peace group Two States One Homeland – reportedly entered the city despite military orders and official warnings not to enter towns controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Two States One Homeland is a movement comprised of Israelis and Palestinians that calls for a European-style confederation between Israel and a future state of Palestine, that would allow citizens from both sides of the conflict to live in either country but retain their original nationality. The Israeli side of the group is comprised largely of Jewish settlers.
In a statement given by the group, the Israelis had entered the city to hold an iftar – the fast-breaking dinner held at the end of each day during Ramadan.
The statement added that “What most frightens those who wish to maintain the current status quo is Palestinians and Israelis talking and working together”.
The IDF have stated that the nine Israelis will be questioned by security forces to determine why they violated military orders.
Israelis are often warned not to enter Area A – the area controlled solely by the Palestinian Authority. In 2000, two non-combatant Israeli officers entered Ramallah by mistake and were taken to a PA police station. In what became known at “the Ramallah lynchings” the officers were beaten, stabbed and ha their eyes gouged out by a mob of Palestinians who stormed the police station.
Earlier this year, two Israeli soldiers led astray by their smartphone navigation app accidentally wandered into Qalandiya refugee camp, provoking deadly clashes and a gun battle.