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Activists film settlers attacking Palestinians in West Bank

In the second such incident in three days, IDF soldiers are idle as settlers exert force and damage property on local Palestinian population in the West Bank. 

Settler confronting soldier (Photo: Irene Nasser)

Soldiers did not bother to intervene on Monday when a very angry settler violently confronted Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. Israeli Ta’ayush activists accompanied Palestinians to harvest their crops on the land of Bir el Eid, which is now adjacent to an illegal outpost called Mitzpeh Yair, home to some fanatic settlers I have had the displeasure of meeting.

First the soldiers arrived and, as they normally do in these parts of the West Bank (rural Area C, which is under full Israeli control, filled with Palestinian agriculture communities and surrounded by settlements), declared the area a “closed military zone,” which effectively prohibits the Palestinians from working their land. While waiting for the Civil Administration’s official authorization for this order, several settlers arrived at the scene.

In this video, filmed by Ta’ayush activist Ezra Nawi, the settler is seen flailing around a sickle he stole from Palestinian farmers and screaming, “Film me and I’ll kill you!”  He then steals a B’Tselem camera from Palestinians and smashes it to bits right in front of the soldiers, who are just kind of standing around and do nothing.

In this second video from the incident, the same settler is seen screaming at IDF soldiers, who are disingenuously trying to create some calm. The relevant parts are between minute 1:24 – 2:00, where the settler is seen shouting at the soldiers: “I am the authority here. I am the authority here” One soldier threatens him with arrest, to which the settler replies: “I am the law!”

After being alerted by a comment and watching the video several more times, the settler is shouting at the soldier “You have no authority” and later, points to the sky and says, “He is the authority” (referring to the Almighty, I presume). The soldier is the one who in fact shouts back to him: “I am the law!”

The settler in fact was not stopped or arrested, despite the fact that he broke the law. B’Tselem has filed a complaint with the Hebron police, citing assault, theft and damage of property, and has demanded the soldiers present identify the settler.  The soldiers have no excuse, as his face is clearly caught on tape.

As Yossi noted in his post, it is not the settlers who are the issue, but rather the IDF, which refuses to protect Palestinians from them.

It’s time for an international force in the West Bank
WATCH: Settlers shoot Palestinian in head while soldiers stand by


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    1. Give up on the principle of law and there’s nothing left. Even if this complaint is ignored, don’t give up on the principle.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Nir

      It’s always the same shit – the cowardly settlers (armed to the teeth or surrounded by friendly armed forces) displaying their routine “I’m-losing-it” antics, and the soldiers’ with their bewildered, spectating impotence. Disgusting.

      Israel: land of the bully.

      Reply to Comment
    3. noam

      Just a correction – the reservist with the dreadlocks was the one screaming “Ani HaHok” (I am the law). Listen to his voice frequency carefully, it’s not the settler. Not that this changes much. oi vei.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Mairav Zonszein

      @Noam thanks for the comment. Indeed I confirmed with someone who was there and you are right – correction made accordingly, and as you said, really doesn’t change much.

      Reply to Comment
    5. palestinian

      This is state terrorism .Terrorists in uniforms taking orders from terrorists in suits and skirts ,protecting terrorists who call themselves civilians.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Woody

      I would like to make a proposal. Since the IDF won’t stop them. It is up to private individuals to enforce the law. This probably requires some serious organization and the requisitioning of arms, but under Israeli Law, private individuals could arrest and detain these violent and unlawful settlers. I understand it’s a serious endeavor, but there has to be some change in the status quo. Simply complaining about IDF complaisance will not change anything

      The idea is to form a squad of individuals who will police the settlers under the already codified auspices of the law. They will restrain them, detain them, and ensure that the police file reports (I know it gets frustrating at that step of the process). The idea is mainly to assert force against the settlers. To use that civilian force in defense of the law. If the settlers respond, then they will be crossing the military law in the region.

      I base this idea on a little know and never (to my ears) cited section of the Israeli Military Law that rules the West Bank.
      According to the Israeli Military Law in place, viz. Article 75, Chapter 3, CRIMINAL LAW PROCEDURE (POWERS OF ENFORCEMENT – ARREST) LAW 5756-1996:

      75. (a) Any person may detain another person until a policeman arrives, if one of the following applies:
      (1) the person is suspected to have committed – in his presence – a violent offense, a crime, a theft or an offense that caused real damage to property;
      (2) another person who calls for help points to the suspect who in his presence committed an offense stated in paragraph (1);
      all if there is suspicion that the suspect will escape or that his identity is not known.
      (b) A suspect detained as stated in subsection (a) shall be handed over to a policeman without delay, on condition that the detention does not exceed three hours.
      (c) A person who performs a detention stated in subsection (a) may use reasonable force if the suspect refused the request that he be detained, on condition that the use of force not cause injury to the suspect.

      I suggest a group form with zip-ties (plasticuffs) and tasers and get to work. You have all of the legal groundwork you need. It’s time to start brainstorming a real change to the status-quo.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Danny

      “The idea is to form a squad of individuals who will police the settlers under the already codified auspices of the law”
      You will need an army to police the settlers, as they are armed to the teeth and are more than willing to use their arms – especially against Arabs and leftists. This is a job for NATO.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Kolumn9

      Hahaha. Zip ties and tasers. Your squad might as well dress up in fabulous flowery outfits and use the power of dance.

      Reply to Comment
    9. i have a daily links about this kind of thing happening to Palestinians. look for “Who are the real terrorists out here?”.

      you are not forgotten!

      Reply to Comment