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Wave of settler violence hits Palestinian villages in West Bank

Settlers from the radical Yitzhar settlement attack Palestinians in Urif and Huwwara, just one day after Israeli activists were assaulted by masked settlers in the Jordan Valley.

By Yael Marom

A Palestinian women is stretchered away with a head injury after settlers attacked the village of Huwwara, West Bank, April 22, 2017. (Yesh Din)

A Palestinian women is stretchered away with a head injury after settlers attacked the village of Huwwara, West Bank, April 22, 2017. (Yesh Din)

Dozens of Jewish settlers assaulted Palestinians in two separate West Bank villages on Saturday, just one day after settlers attacked and injured left-wing Israelis in the Jordan Valley.

Israelis from the radical Yitzhar settlement carried out two waves of attacks on the village of Urif, near Nablus. Four Palestinians were injured in the initial assault, and although residents of the village alerted Israeli security forces about the violence, the soldiers and police who arrived on the scene simply ordered the attackers away and did not arrest anyone.

Shortly after, an even bigger group of settlers returned to Urif and started attacking again. A building in the village was damaged and car windshields smashed. This time round, the army entered the village, only to fire rubber bullets at Palestinians who were trying to drive the settlers back by throwing stones at them. According to witnesses, the settlers then started uprooting olive trees, even starting a fire.

A few hours later, Israelis from Yitzhar set out for a further round of violence, this time in the village of Huwwara, also close to Nablus. They threw stones, smashed windows and attacked Palestinians, injuring three — including a woman who received a head wound. According to B’Tselem, her injury was serious, although not life-threatening.

Settlers stand atop a hill near the Palestinian village of Urif, which was attacked twice on Saturday, April 22, 2017. (Urif Council)

Settlers stand atop a hill near the Palestinian village of Urif, which was attacked twice on Saturday, April 22, 2017. (Urif Council)

Zacharia Sadeh, of Rabbis for Human Rights, said that the settlers who attacked Huwwara passed an IDF outpost on their way to the village.

“They should have reported the settlers heading down [to the village], and they could have prevented three people from being hurt,” he said. “The security forces make no effort to stop these attacks on Palestinians, and do nothing to protect the lives of Palestinians.”

On Friday, a group of Israeli activists with Ta’ayush were attacked by masked settlers from the Baladim outpost, also known for its extremism. The activists, who were in the Jordan Valley in order to assist Palestinian shepherds who were under threat of violence from the settlers, were attacked with stones and clubs, leaving five injured.

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman commented on the violence on Sunday, but only condemned the fact that an Israeli army officer had been attacked by settlers, and ignored the assault on Palestinians. Rabbis for Human Rights, responding to Liberman’s statement, said that while “attacking an IDF officer is indeed serious,” failing to mention the heart of the matter — violence against dozens of Palestinians — “sends the implicit message that attacking Palestinians isn’t no big deal provided [Israeli] security forces aren’t assaulted at the same time.”

Indeed, as is customary in the face of settler violence, the Israeli forces who arrived on the scene felt no obligation to open fire on the Israeli stone throwers, had apparently left their tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at home, and suddenly knew how to restrain themselves.

The fact that settlers are allowed to continue their attacks undisturbed reveals, over and over, the shared interests of the landlords of the West Bank’s hilltops, and the armed forces who serve them.

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Grandpa Frost

      Wave of settler violence! Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Except… how many killed? How many seriously injured? Hmmmm… None? In the US, high school gang violence is WAY scarier and more deadly than the so called “settler” violence. Of course, I realize that there is a desperate need to make the Jews look bad! I mean, you don’t want everyone else in the region look like a worthless savage, do you? Good job Yael Marom! Excellent propaganda piece!

      Reply to Comment
        • Grandpa Frost

          That’s a rather unimpressive list, which only serves to make my point for me. Here’s a salient paragraph from the Wikipedia page “According to B’Tselem, 49 Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians between 2000 and 2010.[133] The majority of these killings are settler-related, because a significant portion of the dead were killed while attempting to infiltrate settlements or attacking Israelis.[134]”
          Well, even according to the leftist propaganda outfit such as B’Tselem, the majority of the Arabs were killed while trying to perpetrate acts f violence. Clearly, the lesson here is: if you don’t want to die, stop trying to kill Jews! Another thing to note here is that 49 people from 2000 to 2010 is less than 5 per year. Clearly the “Palestinians” are in far more danger from their own people (ie, the crime rate, inter-clan skirmishes, honor killings etc) than they are from the Jewish “settlers.” I would go even further and say that the very existence of this Wikipedia page is a manifestation of tremendous bias against Israel and the Jewish people. Because there are many phenomena that are much more significant than the so called settler violence, and yet they are not covered by Wikipedia.

          Reply to Comment
          • Laura

            And absolutely nothing will be done to the settlers. It’s just like being black in the South, back in the day. Palestinians have no rights that Israelis are bound to respect. (Paraphrasing Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, from the Dred Scott decision.)

            Reply to Comment
          • Grandpa Frost

            Why should anything be done to people who live in their historical homeland and defend their rights against people who want to murder them?

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Laura

            You want Palestinians to have rights that are enforced by a police investigation unit you have to stop with the rhetoric about occupation. Anti-occupation creates an impossible dilemma for Israel. If they try and enforce a good civilian law they are in violation of the Geneva convention. If they don’t try and enforce a good civilian law code then their citizens are racists.

            You want to handle this problem, start applying Israeli law to Area-C. Then you have law enforcement agencies with criminal investigative resources involved rather than military units that cannot have those resources. You have civilian courts able to work through disputed facts. You have protections for due process for everyone involved. The problem of settler violence and legal asymmetry can be made to go away easily.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            This is sheer pettifoggery. Occupation law applies. Military law applies. The army’s and the civil administration’s studied indifference and incompetence, nay deliberate refusal to be competent, as a strategy, is indictable. None of your um, novel legal theories convince, JeffB. You again and again insist on having it both ways. It is a transparently self-serving, manipulative, false line of argument that studiously ignores the heart of the matter.

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Ben

            If occupation and military law applies then civilian on civilian violence is of limited concern to the occupying force. They are under no obligation to be particularly interested in quality policing. They have an obligation to provide minimal policing which they are doing.

            The one trying to have it both ways is you. You want this to be an occupation then start talking about it like one. None of this is happening in Israel. If it is an occupation there is a country called Palestine. There are different ethnic groups in Palestine having land disputes with each other. One of those disputant groups claims to be emigrants from Israel. The Israeli occupying army seems to have little interest their dispute and is leaving it to the people of Palestine to resolve amongst themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            “They are under no obligation to be particularly interested in quality policing.”

            This is simply contemptuous. Contemptuous of the persons under occupation. And contemptuous of the occupier’s legal duty to protect protected persons under international law and the Geneva Conventions.
            And spoken like someone who has not read a single one of Yossi Gurvitz’s many articles here or a single article in +972’s License to Kill series.
            https://972mag.com/for-settlers-theres-no-reason-not-to-break-the-law/126823/

            “If it is an occupation there is a country called Palestine.”

            Nope. The Geneva Conventions and related aspects of customary international law are about protecting persons under belligerent occupation by troops, not about states. Theodore Meron gave his authoritative and top secret opinion on this many many years ago and reaffirmed it twice in recent years.

            You know, a quite knowledgeable and intelligent commenter named “Yeah Right” has thoroughly covered this topic and the endless attempts to evade legal reality in regards to the occupation and the duties of the occupier with respect to protected persons. As far as I am concerned he has put these attempts to wiggle away from reality to rest for good. You should track down his many posts on this in previous articles.

            Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        Your right, the colonialist settler zionist jews or CSZJ for brevity, don’t need any assistance looking bad; the reason they look bad is because they are and they demonstrate this regularly. If they didn’t get financial rewards for their ‘bad’ behavior, they’d cease to exist and that would be excellent.

        Reply to Comment
      • Growl

        I guess, “Grandpa” (thank God you’re not related to me), that you forget Baruch Goldstein, killed 29. Then, there are the killers of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, and the the killers of the Dawabshe family, burned alive.

        Hmmm… that adds up to more than “none”. Then, of course, there’s Jakov Teitel… I’m sure I can come up with more if I really have to try, but I think that’s enough to point out the fact that you are a LIAR.

        Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        It should have read ‘Settler violence continues unabated’. That’s better.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Laura

      And absolutely nothing will be done to the settlers. It’s just like being black in the South, back in the day. Palestinians have no rights that Israelis are bound to respect. (Paraphrasing Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, from the Dred Scott decision.)

      Reply to Comment
      • i_like_ike52

        If you want to talk about people not having rights, one can also compare this to the way dhimmi Jews and Christians were treated in Muslim states up until the 19th century, and even today to a great extent.

        Reply to Comment
    3. carmen

      “I would go even further and say that the very existence of this Wikipedia page is a manifestation of tremendous bias against Israel and the Jewish people. Because there are many phenomena that are much more significant than the so called settler violence, and yet they are not covered by Wikipedia.”

      Of course you would! “….the very existence of Wikipedia is a manifestation of tremendous bias against israel and the jewish people”. Of course it is! That’s your go to argument for everything and as such, it means nothing and you’re a joke. Settlers are on Palestinian land. Period. An ancient story provides no legitimacy for colonialization of Palestine. The settler trash have been allowed to grow, stockpile weapons and the iof take their orders from these criminals.

      Reply to Comment
      • Grandpa Frost

        Carmen, you’re twisting my words here. I didn’t say that the existence of Wikipedia shows bias, I said that the existence of this particular PAGE on Wikipedia shows bias. Rather dishonest of you.
        You say: “Settlers are on Palestinian land. Period.”
        The entire Palestinian narrative is hopelessly bogus, there have never been any Palestinian people and therefore there is no Palestinian land.
        You say: “An ancient story provides no legitimacy for colonialization of Palestine. “
        Well, in order for a territory to be colonized, there needs to be a colonial power from where the colonists come from. Jews who resettled their ancient homeland were acting on their own behalf, which is very different from acting on behalf of some colonial power.
        You say: “The settler trash have been allowed to grow, stockpile weapons and the iof take their orders from these criminals.”
        Again, when the Muslims stop trying to kill the Jews, then there’s going to be peace. Same goes for their coreligionists throughout the world.

        Reply to Comment
        • Carmen

          I did leave off a few words and do apologize. As far as the rest of my post to you, it stands as it is. It’s a shame that you resort to denying the history of one people in an attempt to legitimize your ‘historic’ claim to land that has been lived on, loved and cultivated by Palestinians for centuries. You have no claim to it at all. 70 years versus centuries; how does that work?

          Reply to Comment
          • Grandpa Frost

            Can you name even one Palestinian who identified himself as a Palestinian before 1967? And I do mean “Palestinian”, not a “Palestinian Arab” or something else. Also, can you name one King or Queen or any other kind of a leader from such a long and illustrious history of Palestine? Did the Palestinians have a currency of their own? Did the have ANYTHING that set them apart from the other Arabs in the region?
            For your information, the Jews have lived in the Land of Israel CONTINUOUSLY. There have been times when the Jews were a minority in the land, but they were always present. Also, even when the Jews were living in other countries, they ALWAYS identified with the Land of Israel. The Jews and the Land of Israel are inseparable, which is something you cannot say for the Arabs. Jewish history in the land of Israel goes back THOUSANDS of years.

            Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            “The Jews and the Land of Israel are inseparable”. How? A convenient prop used by zionists everywhere, the torah, said at one time jews lived in Palestine. That same book says the Jews were exiled because they didn’t obey the Lord and were sent out, not to return until the Lord brought them back; not theodore herzl, not lord balfour, not haim weizman, not ben gurion and not the u.n. Your argument is an emotional one only. You don’t have the right to steal land from it’s current owners, who’ve been present for centuries, because of the Holocaust or the torah. The torah was real clear about who decides who the land belongs to and that person isn’t you or I. You take what suits you to take from the torah and forget the rest. There are millions of Jews who happily live all over the world. They are very much separated from Palestine and choose to stay exactly where they are.

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            The biggest part of the Jewish people is here in Israel. Every year more and more Jews come to live happy in their homeland. Nothing can be done without the will of G. That is why the State of Israel is so powerful and rich and our neighbors so suicidal and underdeveloped. The divine promises made to the Jewish people become true even if it has to displease Carmen…

            Reply to Comment
          • JeffB

            @Carmen

            . That same book says the Jews were exiled because they didn’t obey the Lord and were sent out, not to return until the Lord brought them back

            So where does “that same book” discuss the post Roman exile?

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            Even King Hussein told in 1987 that the “Palestinian People” does not exist. Several “Palestinian” leaders confirmed… Only anti-Semites and shameful Jews defend the “Palestinian people”.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ben

      All of the predictable, yelling right wing commentary and whataboutery on this page is just more of what Yael Marom describes as “failing to mention the heart of the matter.” Shame on you Frost. Shame on you Ike. Shame on you Halevy. Look at the facts you try to conceal. Yael Marom works for Just Vision. You all work tirelessly for unjust vision.

      Reply to Comment
      • Itshak Gordin Halevy

        We defend the People and the country which we love. Look how it is nice, rich, full of trees.
        Look at the Arab villages: poor, dirty, ugly without trees and flowers. When the Jewish People is here, Eretz Israel rejects the foreigners.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Is this the botanical theory of eurocolonial swiss kleinbürgerlicher judeofascism, Halevy? We’ll have to teach the natives how to grow pretty neat red and pink geraniums in tidy window boxes and bring them up to snuff.

          Reply to Comment
      • Grandpa Frost

        Ben, I wouldn’t trust your definition of “justice”, much like I don’t trust your definition of “occupation.”

        Reply to Comment
    5. JeffB

      @Ben

      And contemptuous of the occupier’s legal duty to protect protected persons under international law and the Geneva Conventions.

      In an occupation the occupiers obligation is to protect persons from the effects of the occupation. They don’t have an obligation to protect persons from internal gang warfare.

      Nope. The Geneva Conventions and related aspects of customary international law are about protecting persons under belligerent occupation by troops, not about states.

      Yes. The Geneva convention (and the more reasonable and responsible Hague conventions) assumes there is still a at least partially functioning government over the territory. If as a result of the war, the state no longer exists, i.e. is incapable of policing then the occupation has an obligation for form a legal government for that territory. They never have an obligation themselves to become a police force. That’s annexation not occupation.

      As for “Yeah Right”, if you want to point to some articles I’ll be happy to read. But I’ve seen your bias on many articles where positions that partially agree with you become definitive works of brilliance even when the analysis is objectively shoddy. Conversely clear cut disproofs of leftist positions are evaded often with personal insults. You’ve lost credibility. You are clearly capable of serious analysis but choose instead to let your emotions run riot.

      Let’s take an example. Your comment about me having failed to read Yossi Gurvitz recent article is a good case in point. Of course I read it and you know I likely read it. If there is an occupation the occupying force should be unconcerned with civilian infrastructure construction unless such construction interferes with the occupying army’s functions. Permitted building would be the duty of the civilian government not the occupation. If you want to call what’s going on in the West Bank and insist on the letter of the law, you need to deal with it as an occupation and stop treating it as if Israel were responsible for the details of civilian administration. There is a country called Palestine. And you object to the government of Palestine’s enforcement of its permitting system. That has nothing to do with Israel.

      Reply to Comment
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