Analysis News

Gaza: Over 100 Palestinians, 13 Israeli soldiers killed in single day

At least 100 Palestinians, including 66 in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City - of which 17 were reportedly children – were killed today (Sunday) bringing the total death toll to 437. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were killed Sunday in battle in the neighborhood, bringing the number of Israeli fatalities over the course of the operation to 18, not including two civilians who died in rocket attacks.

Army sources said seven of the 13 Israeli soldiers were in an armored personnel carrier hit by an anti-tank missile, while others were killed setting up positions inside houses they had taken over.

The death toll was the highest for the Israeli military’s since the Second Lebanon War, and the highest number of Palestinians killed since fighting broke out on July 8. According to Ma’an News Agency, 66 bodies were recovered from Shujaiyeh, in what medical authorities called a “massacre” and a level of violence not seen before in the ongoing conflict.

According to Ma’an, news of the kidnapping sparked celebration across Palestinian cities, with gunshots and fireworks heard in Gaza City, Bethlehem, and elsewhere.

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavly, causeing over 60 casulties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Gazans flee the Shejaiya area after Israeli tanks invaded the area, bombarding it heavly, causeing over 60 casulties and hundreds wounded, July 20, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

At least 500 Palestinians were injured in Israeli attacks on Wednesday, and more than 3,000 have been wounded in the past two weeks, while Reuters reports that 81,000 displaced people had now taken refuge in 61 UNRWA shelters.

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu told CNN that Israel has no plans of reoccupying the Gaza Strip. President Barack Obama spoke to Netanyahu on the phone, telling him that the U.S. seeks “an immediate cessation of hostilities” between Israel and Hamas, based on the cease-fire agreement implemented in November 2012 after Operation Pillar of Defense. Hours later, Netanyahu addressed the Israeli public, saying that the operation will be extended as necessary. Netanyahu added that after Israel accepted three cease-fire offers, it now has international backing for the ground operation.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Cairo on Monday to meet with Egyptian officials about the crisis. Kerry was caught sarcastically...

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Israeli army launches ground invasion of Gaza Strip

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to begin a ground incursion into Gaza on Thursday night. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called for the ground operation in order to damage underground tunnels leading into Israeli territory.

The move came just hours after the Israeli army thwarted an infiltration attempt by armed Palestinians through a tunnel from Gaza.

According to the statement, the order was “approved by the security cabinet, after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal which Hamas rejected and proceeded to fire rockets at Israel.”

Palestinian sources say 240 people have been killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, including seven children who died Thursday. Approximately 1,800 have been injured. One Israeli died as a result of mortar fire from Gaza on Wednesday night.

According to Reuters, Gaza residents and medical officials reported heavy shelling along the eastern borders from the southern town of Rafah up to the north of the enclave. Ma’an News Agency reported that over 20 Palestinians have been wounded since the ground incursion began.

Related:
This is a war of choice. Netanyahu’s choice
Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city

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Israeli right demands punitive measures against Palestinians following abductees' murder

Palestinian teenager killed in clashes in Jenin while Israeli Air Force strikes over 30 targets in Gaza. Hamas still denies involvement in the deadly kidnapping.

Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian city of Halhul, where the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found. (photo: Activestills)

Israeli soldiers near the Palestinian city of Halhul, where the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers were found. (Photo: Activestills.org)

In response to the murder of the three Israeli teenagers kidnapped two weeks ago, the Israeli Air Force struck 34 targets in Gaza Tuesday night, while four rockets were fired into southern Israel from the Strip. In the West Bank, the Israeli army killed 16-year-old Yusef Abu Zaga in Jenin after it entered the city to make arrests.

Israel’s High Court approved the destruction of the home of Ziyad Awad Tuesday morning. Awad is standing trial in military court for the murder of Baruch Mizrachi, who was killed while traveling with his family near Hebron on Passover eve. Awad has not been convicted of the allegations leveled against him.

Israeli troops reportedly damaged the family homes of two suspects in the deadly kidnappings, although the army initially denied demolishing the homes. Elsewhere in Hebron, Israeli settlers reportedly threw stones at Palestinian homes and one Palestinian man was reportedly taken to hospital after being beaten by soldiers. Settlers also reportedly marched through the Old City of Hebron demanding revenge.

The damaged family home of Amer Abu Aisheh, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was damaged by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Abu Aisheh has not been arrested by security forces have been searching for him since the kidnappings, his family says. (Photo by Activestills.org)

The damaged family home of Amer Abu Aisheh, one of two Palestinians identified by Israel as suspects in the killing of three Israeli teenagers, after it was damaged by the Israeli army in the West Bank city of Hebron, Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Abu Aisheh has not been arrested but security forces have been searching for him since the kidnappings, his family says. (Photo by Activestills.org)

After the boys’ bodies were discovered on Monday, Israeli...

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Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa'ad released from military service

Six months after he was sentenced to his first prison term for refusing to join the IDF, Druze conscientious objector Omar Sa’ad was released from military service on Wednesday.

Sa’ad, an 18-year-old violist from the northern village Maghar, was sentenced to his first term on December 5th, 2013 in the Tiberias induction base. Since then, he was sentenced six more times for a total of 150 days.

Omar Sa'ad, a Palestinian-Druze conscientious objector, walks into the Tiberias induction base, where he will state his refusal to be drafted to the Israeli army, December 4, 2013. Over 100 family members, friends and activists protested on Wednesday morning to support Omar, who is expected to sent to military prison after refusing the draft. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Omar Sa’ad, a Palestinian-Druze conscientious objector, walks into the Tiberias induction base, where he will state his refusal to be drafted to the Israeli army, December 4, 2013. Over 100 family members, friends and activists protested on Wednesday morning to support Omar, who is expected to sent to military prison after refusing the draft. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Sa’ad first stated his intention to refuse in late 2012, when he sent an open letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu which declared his support for Palestinians under occupation, as well as his opposition to recruitment into the IDF “and any other army for conscience and nationalistic reasons.” Although the Druze are considered to be an ethnic group that has assimilated well in the Israeli community, the voices of refusal have become stronger in recent years, and especially in the wake of Sa’ad’s refusal.

While Muslim and Christian Arabs with Israeli citizenship are exempt from military service, Druze men are required to serve for three years. (Druze women, however, are exempt, as are religious Jewish women.)

WATCH: Sa’ad tells Netanyahu: ‘I will not be a soldier in your army’

Upon his release from prison, Sa’ad released a statement thanking his supporters and reiterating his stance against military service:

I was sentenced 7 times for a period of 150 days, and 46 days ago between home and hospital, and every time before sending me out to prison, they ask me the same question: “Why you refuse to serve in the IDF?

My answer was always the same: “I refuse because I am an integral part of the Palestinian Arab people....

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Beitunia killings: Autopsy reveals Palestinian teen shot by live fire

An autopsy of Nadim Syam Nuwara, one of the two teenagers killed last month during the Nakba Day protests in Beitunia, reveals that that the teen was killed by live fire, according to a report by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

According to B’Tselem, Nuwara’s body has been well-preserved, making the point of entry and exit, as well as the route of the bullet, easily identifiable.

Relatives of Nadim Seeam Abu Kara mourn in the hospital before his funeral procession in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 16, 2014. Abu Kara and Muhammad Abu Da'har were shot dead by Israeli forces during clashes the previous day outside the Israeli-run Ofer prison following a protest commemorating the Nakba. Foreign press published that the two died in a Ramallah hospital after being shot in the chest during a protest to demand the release of thousands of Palestinians held by Israel. (Activestills.org)

Relatives of Nadim Sayam Nuwara mourn in the hospital before his funeral procession in the West Bank city of Ramallah on May 16, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Although the report is slated to be released in the next several days, doctors have rejected the possibility that the cause of death was rubber bullets, and are fairly confident that the bullet entered through Nuwara’s front side. The autopsy was performed by a team of Palestinian specialists, in the presence of Danish, Portuguese, American, and two Israeli doctors.

WATCH: Footage shows Israeli army’s killing of two Palestinian teens

Furthermore, the doctors also removed four pieces of shrapnel from the body, and one of the pathologists told B’Tselem that he is convinced that they are made of lead and came from the bullet.

Those who have been following the story closely may recall that the IDF immediately denied using live bullets in the deaths of Nuwara, 17, and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh, 16. Initially, military investigators claimed that shots may have been fired by the Palestinian side, rather than by Israeli troops, while top Israeli officials claimed the video, captured by security cameras, was actually forged.

A few days later, CNN footage revealed that it was likely that a Border Policeman was responsible for firing at at least one of the teens, but did not provide any conclusive evidence regarding the kind of bullets used. The Israeli mainstream media unquestioningly...

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Former Prime Minister Olmert sentenced to six years in prison for bribery

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced Tuesday morning to six years in prison on bribery charges in the biggest corruption scandal in Israel’s history.

Olmert was convicted of accepting bribes in exchange for expediting the permit process for the Holyland real estate development while he was mayor of the city, years before his premiership. The sentencing comes 10 years after the state began its investigation.

Olmert, who was acquitted of similar charges in a different case, had held out hope for a return to politics if he were acquitted in this case, too. Olmert is planning on appealing the court’s decision.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert enters the courtroom at the Tel Aviv District Court prior to the reading of his sentence in the Holyland trial, May 13 2014 (Photo: Activestills.org)

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert enters the courtroom at the Tel Aviv District Court prior to the reading of his sentence in the Holyland trial, May 13 2014 (Photo: Activestills.org)

Olmert served two terms as mayor of Jerusalem between 1993 and 2003, and was the prime minister of Israel from 2006 until 2009. During his term as prime minister, Olmert launched the Second Lebanon War in 2006, took part in the 2007 Annapolis Peace Conference headed by former U.S. President George W. Bush and sent the Israeli army to invade Gaza in Operation Cast Lead.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President George W. Bush, and President Mahmoud Abbas at Annapolis, November 27, 2007 (Photo: Gin Kai)

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President George W. Bush, and President Mahmoud Abbas at Annapolis, November 27, 2007 (Photo: Gin Kai)

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Druze conscientious objector hospitalized with liver infection

Omar Sa’ad was hospitalized late last week after complaining for three straight days of chest pains. Attempts by military intelligence to transfer him to Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hospital failed after both his family and medical staff protested the life-threatening decision.

Omar Sa’ad, a Druze conscientious objector who is currently serving his seventh prison term for refusing to join the Israeli army, was hospitalized in Haifa last week with a liver infection. According to a report by Raanan Shemesh Forshner, two policemen are currently guarding Sa’ad’s hospital room “so that he does not escape.”

On Saturday, while he was still undergoing treatments, military police personnel arrived at the hospital and asked to transfer Sa’ad to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. Both the family and the hospital staff opposed the transfer, which they viewed as an opportunistic maneuver with no medical justification. In the end, Omar was allowed to remain in Haifa’s Bnei Zion Hospital.

Omar Sa'ad lays in a hospital bed in Bnei Tzion Hospital, Haifa. (photo: Zaharaldin Sa'ad)

Omar Sa’ad lays in a hospital bed in Bnei Tzion Hospital, Haifa. (photo: Zaharaldin Sa’ad)

In an interview with Forshner, Omar’s father, Zaharaldin, had this to say:

Finally, at the insistence of the family, Dr. Schiff told the intelligence officer that Omar will be in real danger if transferred to another hospital, and it was decided that he would remain at Bnei Zion. According to Zaharaldin, Omar’s health deteriorated after the rushed attempt to transfer him.

Sa’ad, who has served 142 days in military jail, had been complaining of chest pains and tremors for three days before his hospitalization, his father told Forshner. Omar told his father that the prison guards at Prison 4 ignored his complaints, thinking he was pretending or exaggerating. Omar was then transferred to Prison 6, where it was decided to move him to a military medical clinic. There, a doctor decided that he must be immediately moved to the emergency room. Omar was hospitalized in the internal ward after doctors stated that his liver was on the verge of collapse.

His father has no doubt that the conditions of Prison 4 led to his son’s condition. After visiting Omar in prison for the first time (his previous sentences were served in Prison 6), Zaharaldin was shocked by the stench and the look of the place. “Omar...

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Palestinian activist given house arrest for a Facebook status

In the latest case of Israeli police detaining Palestinian activists for social media activity, a Lod man is placed under house arrest and has equipment confiscated for openly opposing the enlistment of Christian Arabs on his Facebook page.

Israel Police placed Lod resident and Palestinian citizen of Israel Ghassan Munair, 44, under house arrest this week for posting a Facebook status that decried the government’s attempts to enlist Christian Arabs into the Israeli army.

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit's original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return. Only the village's church and cemetery remained intact, and are still used by village residents while they campaign for a full return.

A youth sits near a cross overlooking the surrounding countryside in the displaced Palestinian village of Iqrit in northern Israel, April 21, 2014. Iqrit’s original inhabitants were forcibly evacuated in the Nakba of 1948. Though the Israeli high court granted the residents, who are Palestinian citizens of Israel, the right to return to their homes in 1951, the military destroyed the village and has since prevented their return.

According to Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Munair was summoned to the local police station, where he was interrogated for a Facebook status deemed by the police to be “threatening.” Munair allegedly posted a photo of Greek Orthodox Father Gabriel Nadaf – a spiritual leader among the Christian population in Israel, and a proponent of Christian enlistment in the Israeli Defense Forces – alongside Finance Minister Yair Lapid, with the following caption:

For the sake of freedom of speech and transparency
The faces and names of the “honorable” who appear
in the following photos are the same ones who want to enlist your sons
against your people – remember this

During the interrogation, which focused mainly on his ideological stances vis-a-vis the issue of enlistment of Christian citizens, Munair was told that he was detained due to the threatening nature of his status. Police said he could...


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PHOTOS: Settlers assault Palestinian NGO worker in northern West Bank

Settlers attacked a Palestinian NGO worker in the West Bank village of Burin on Sunday.

According to Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization that provides legal assistance to Palestinians in the West Bank, the settlers attacked Munir Kadus (a Yesh Din investigator) as he was accompanying a group of Palestinians who were paving a road in the village Burin, south of Nablus. The settlers allegedly came from the direction of Givat Ronen, an outpost neighborhood of Har Bracha.

Settlers and Israeli soldiers seen in Burin, West Bank. (photo: Yesh Din)

Settlers and Israeli soldiers seen in Burin, West Bank. (photo: Yesh Din)

Kadus, who sustained injuries to his arm and both ribs, was released from Rafidia Hospital in Nablus on Sunday afternoon. According to Yesh Din, the Palestinians were accompanied by a large number of soldiers, since the road work was done in accordance with the Israeli military and the Civil Administration. Despite the presence of the soldiers, the settlers were able to harass the road workers. The settlers also walked among the houses of the village, throwing stones at Palestinians.

Munir Kadus lays in the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus after being attacked by settlers in the village of Burin. (photo: 'i love you burin' Facebook page)

Munir Kadus lays in the Rafidia Hospital in Nablus after being attacked by settlers in the village of Burin. (photo: ‘i love you burin’ Facebook page)

According to Yesh Din, the Committee for Settlers in Samaria called for Israelis to arrive at the scene and disrupt the work on its official Facebook page. The page also boasted about the villagers’ attempt at paving the road, which was also disrupted by settlers.

Related:
WATCH: Settlers assault Israeli in West Bank, tell soldiers to shoot
WATCH: IDF soldiers escort masked settlers attacking Palestinian village



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Israeli teens tell Netanyahu: We will not take part in occupation

Nearly 50 Israeli teenagers of draft age send letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, stating clearly that they will refuse to join the IDF due to the occupation of the West Bank, and the violent effect it has on Israeli society.

Dozens of Israel teenagers signed a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu on Saturday, in which they announced that they would refuse to serve in the Israeli army come draft time.

According to the letter, the teenagers are refusing to enlist in the army due to their “opposition to the military occupation of Palestinian territories,” where “human rights are violated, and acts defined under international law as war-crimes are perpetuated on a daily basis.” Aside from the ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian citizens of Israel, army service is mandatory for all Israelis (three years for males, two for females).

The letter goes on to decry the effect of the occupation on Israeli society itself, especially the way it “shapes the educational system, our workforce opportunities, while fostering racism, violence and ethnic, national and gender-based discrimination,” and promotes and perpetuates “male dominance” and oppressive gender structures within the army itself.

Dafna Rotstein (left) and Roy Lax, two of the refuseniks who signed the letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Lax:

Dafna Rotstein (left) and Roni Lax, two of the refuseniks who signed the letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu. Lax: ‘If they decide to enlist me by force, I’ll sit in prison.’

Udi Segal, an 18 year old from Kibbutz Tuval in Israel’s north told +972 that his signing of the letter is connected to the rightward shift taking place in Israeli society.

“I cannot take part in an army that occupies another people and makes Israeli society more violent and apathetic to what is happening,” says Segal.

17-year-old Elza Bugnet, who also signed the letter, says the issue is not solely about opposing the military. “The idea is to bring the idea of the occupation up for public discussion. To create a new understanding of enlistment and what that means for Israelis, and especially what it means for the occupation.”

Bugnet, who is originally from Tel Aviv, says that her friends and family support her decision to refuse. “I get a lot of support from my family – we share the same beliefs. A lot of my friends don’t necessarily agree with my choice, but appreciate...

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In IDF fantasy video, Palestinians are allowed to protest

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more embarrassing or distorted, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit has managed to top itself. On Sunday, the unit published a new video on its YouTube channel, showing scenes of Palestinian demonstrators throwing rocks and Israeli soldiers firing rounds of tear gas “in self-defense” in the West Bank village of Qaddum.

Every Friday for the past two years, the villagers of Qaddum (along with Israeli and international activists) have marched toward the nearby settlement of Kedumim to protest the continuing expropriation of their land. As in every un-armed protest across the West Bank, the IDF is ready for them. With its state-of-the-art crowd dispersal weapons – tear gas, rubber and live bullets, sound grenades and skunk water – the villagers don’t stand a chance. As anyone who has been to these protests can attest, the tear gas often starts well before Palestinians even have the chance to throw a stone, let alone march.

So what does the video teach us?

According to the good folks at the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, Palestinians are “free to demonstrate non-violently, as IDF officers explain to them every week.”

You don’t say.

The order regulating demonstrations in the West Bank is Order No. 101 — “Order Regarding Prohibition of Incitement and Hostile Propaganda Actions,” which was set after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. According to the order, any assembly, vigil, or procession of 10 or more people requires a permit from the local IDF commander and imposes 10 years’ imprisonment on violators. Of course, as with all Israeli military orders, it applies only to the Palestinians who live in Areas B and C (both under full Israeli military control), whereas Israeli settlers (who live in Area C) are subject to Israeli civil law.

Back to the video. We see an IDF soldier’s view of a Qaddum protest that took on place on February 7 of this year. “We ask you today not to choose violence,” a megaphone-wielding IDF officer announces to the protesters in English. “It is okay to demonstrate, but it is not okay to use violence — we ask you to stop throwing rocks,” the officer shouts. I wonder how many of the people he was speaking to understood him.

According to the video’s subtitled narration, the Palestinians “consistently ignore the officer’s request and start attacking the soldiers.” The video states that...

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In the diaspora, Arik Einstein defined 'Israeliness'

As an Israeli who was born and raised in the United States, few things were more important to me than formulating an Israeli identity. It was a strange complex, which, at its core, always strived to be “the most Israeli” possible (and always more Israeli than those who surrounded me). In our expat community, Israeliness was demonstrated in all sorts of way – there was (and still is) an Israeli scouts chapter, Israeli Remembrance Day and Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies, lectures on Israeli culture and history and a plethora of Zionist organizations that worked tirelessly to bring us a culture that we needed so badly. And me? I just wanted the music.

Every year, my cousins would bring me and my sister cassette tapes full of popular Israeli music. All kinds of things that I no longer connect to, but nonetheless gave me the feeling that I’m part of this place.

And for me, Arik Einstein was the greatest of them all. My cousins would bring us all of his tapes, which my family would bring along everywhere we traveled in the world. But all the Aviv Geffens, the Shlomo Artzis and the Subliminals, who I loved at different points in my life, don’t even come close to how Einstein’s songs became a part of me – a part of what I wanted to be.

Once, my grandfather bought me a VHS of Einstein singing his famous children songs. I remember watching it over and over again as I sat up close by the television. I memorized every song, every note. Sometimes my grandfather would join me, and I gladly accepted the risk of permanently damaging my eyes (which ended up happening anyway) in order to sit side-by-side with him on that green couch at my aunt and uncle’s home in Haifa.

Today I look at things a little bit differently. Arik Einstein just died and already my Facebook feed is full of people eulogizing him as the “beautiful Israeli” or “the best that this land had to offer.”

I don’t really know what a “beautiful Israeli” looks like, and I’m no longer sure how good something or someone is just because they grew up here, or anywhere else. What I do know is that those memories – the long drives with my family or the failed attempts at hiding my tears from my grandfather when the music video...

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PHOTOS: Hundreds of olive trees destroyed near West Bank village

Nearly 230 olive trees were destroyed earlier this week in the northern West Bank. According to B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO that documents human rights violations in the occupied territories, the trees belonged to the Radwan family from the village Azzoun, and were planted no more than five years ago.

The family began harvesting the trees, which lie near the junction of Karnei Shomron and the village Kufr Latif, just yesterday, leading them to suspect that they were destroyed shortly thereafter or during the early hours of the morning.

Destroyed olive trees belonging to the Radwan family from the West Bank village of Azun. (photo: ‘Abd al-Karim Sa’adi/B’Tselem)

The destruction comes at the height of the tense olive harvest season, which has seen a dramatic rise in settler attacks against Palestinians and their olive trees. According to Rabbis for Human Rights, nearly 2,000 Palestinian olive trees have been destroyed in recent months in areas the Israeli army knows to be flash points.

Destroyed olive trees belonging to the Radwan family from the West Bank village of Azun. (photo: ‘Abd al-Karim Sa’adi/B’Tselem)

According to Yesh Din, between 2005 and 2013 just 8.5 percent of investigation files ended in the indictment of Israelis suspected of harming Palestinians and their property. In the vast majority of cases, the investigators failed to locate the offenders or to collect sufficient evidence for prosecution. Thus, the chances that the police will catch the vandals is nearly zero.

Israeli soldiers stand near the destroyed olive trees belonging to the Radwan family from the West Bank village of Azun.

Read more:
Settler violence: Think of it like burning down a Jewish business
For Israel’s police, settler violence is but a fantasy
WATCH: Masked settler beats Palestinian with metal pipe

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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