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West Bank mosque torched, pro-settlement graffiti sprayed on wall

In what seems like another “price tag” attack against Palestinian civilians, unknown perpetrators torched a mosque in the village of Jeba, west of Ramallah. Graffiti in support of the Ulpana neighborhood in the settlement of Beit-El, set to be evacuated by the end of the month, was sprayed on the mosques outside wall.

Price tag attack: Inside a torched mosque in Jeba, near Ramallah (photo: Iad Hadad/B'Tselem)

Settler leaders are in the midst of negotiating an agreement with the government, in which they will receive hundreds of housing units deep inside the West Bank in compensation for the Supreme Court ruling that ordered the land in the Ulpana Hill be returned to its Palestinian owners. At the same time, some of the settlers promise to fight the looming evacuation. Now it seems that other elements are determined to punish the Palestinian civilian population living nearby as well.

Pro-settlement graffiti on a torched mosque in Jeba, near Ramallah, reading "Ulpana, War" (photo: Iad Hadad/B'Tselem)

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    1. Jack

      Where are all those saying Israel is the only democracy and protect minorities?

      Reply to Comment
    2. XYZ

      Although these incidents have been going on sporadically for months, as far as I know, there have been no arrests. I recall that some people were detained for questioning, but no one has been charged.
      Same with all the “shocking” incidents regarding what people claim is settlers shooting at Palestinians and torching their fields for the fun of it. Several incidents were reported here, along with videos. In the first of this recent series, the fellow shooting the gun was clearly identifiable. I have not heard of any arrests or prosecutions, even though in those incidents there were neutral witnesses, such as soldiers. I have repeatedly request that those here at 972 who report on those incidents give us follow-up information regarding arrests or prosecutions, but, to the best of my knowledge, I have not seen any. This makes me wonder of the incidents are really as reported. I am waiting.

      Reply to Comment
    3. sh

      Well, XYZZZZ, I suppose you’ll accept Dan Halutz’s views on the strange dearth of arrests for this kind of incident, so no need for a +972 journalist to waste precious time spelling it out for you.
      “Dan Halutz, a former chief of staff of the Israeli Army, said that the authorities did not do enough to crack down on “price tag” vandalism, which he called “counterterrorism.”
      “If we wanted, we could catch them and when we want to, we will,” Mr. Halutz said on Army Radio.”
      If the will isn’t there…..

      Reply to Comment
    4. XYZ

      Ah, yes…what is it that Halutz is saying? That someone doesn’t WANT to catch the perpetrators? Why would that be? Wouldn’t Barak, the Defense Minister, a former Labor Party man, be putting the pressure on the IDF and other security services to do something? What about all the MERETZ and Arab Knesset members? Are they screaming about it? Demanding action? Have you heard anything like this? If not, why not?

      Reply to Comment
    5. XYZ, Farid Nasasreh was shot dead as he harvested his olives in October 2000, and the grove was full of eyewitnesses (five of whom were wounded in the attack). Two settlers from Itamar were accused of the murder – one of whom had recently boasted of his willingness to hurt Palestinians in an interview with Keshev. The police detained them for five days, and then released them on the grounds that there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute.
      When the Fogel family was killed in Itamar, aroudn three hundred people were arrested from the village of Awarta. This was the procedure: a military jeep with a loudspeaker drove through the village and ordered all men over fifteen and under forty to present themselves in the village schoolyard.
      There is clearly a huge discrepancy between how the army responds to physical violence perpetrated by Palestinians and how it responds to violence perpetrated by settlers. There are two different legal systems at work in the West Bank, for a start – one which guarantees very limited legal rights to the people who live under it, and has a 99.7% conviction rate. The men accused of killing Farid Nasasreh were not brought to that court, or any court; and I expect the same will be true of the settler who was videoed firing that gun. It doesn’t matter much whether he was identifiable or not. In 2003 74-year-old James Delaplain sustained a punctured lung, broken ribs, and a torn eye when he was attacked by settlers after helping with the harvest at Yanoun; he gave a full statement to police, and nothing came of it. The entire population of Yanoun village was driven out through settler violence, and nothing came of that either. The full-time presence of international observers (equipped with video cameras) has enabled the villagers to go back to their homes, so publicity does help to some degree. But it doesn’t guarantee arrest, let alone prosecution, so it can’t be effective all the time.
      On the occasions when settlers are accused of crimes, an investigation will be launched…and it will drag on and drag on. Some things (such as stone-throwing) usually remain totally uninvestigated. A stone-throwing Palestinian teenager, on the other hand, can expect a night-time visit from those soldiers (who are not neutral at all – how can they be?). This is just the way it works. It’s horrible.
      If you want follow-up information on these incidents, you don’t have to wait for in on 972. The West Bank isn’t so far away.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Piotr Berman

      “neutral witnesses, such as soldiers”

      Is this legendary Jewish sense of humor? Sarcastic satire?

      How neutral are soldiers? When a group of young Israeli and foreign women dresses in a way that irritates settlers, and walks on a public street, what do impartial soldiers do? Mind you, dresses were traditional and modest, perhaps the first case EVER I heard that donning a local female folk dress by females was persecuted. Settlers of course are irritated by anything, but why “neutral soldiers” are enforcing whims of fanatics?

      How neutral are soldiers? After being stoned by settlers, IDF officer complains to a journalist that he cannot be expected to arrest Jews. Which reveals two aspects of the situation: (a) IDF officers view their mission as being on a “side of Jews” (b) Leftists are demoted from Jews to “other people”, as IDF never had problems arresting leftists, like girls that use dresses traditional to the area.

      And what happens when soldiers shoot 9 foreigners, and autopsies reveal that almost all were prone on the ground and shot in the head? An investigation takes a year and reveals … faults in planning and decision making process.

      Reply to Comment
    7. ..::bEEp::..

      Cowards. Why can’t they emulate their religion’s founders more closely? They’re going to end up setting fire to a building full of women, children and the elderly. What will they think of themselves then?

      Reply to Comment
    8. XYZ

      You know darned well that Israel has mandatory conscription. People from all political views serve as soldiers. While some Leftist/Progressives don’t want to serve in the West Bank, others do in order to make sure there aren’t violations of human rights. If there was a group of soldiers there, it is unlikely that all would be part of “conspiracy” to cover up for settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Piotr Berman

      XYZ, revealing crimes of IDF can land you in prison for many years. Indoctrination and military discipline makes conscript only as impartial as officers allow them to be.

      In a normal civilized country, a person who shot would be at least identified and investigated. The fact that there is a person shooting on the video in the presence of soldiers and NEVER investigated means that the command did not want to investigate. In a case like that the grunts keep their mouths shut, apart from misfits that at best can be reviled and threatened, perhaps blacklisted, and very plausibly incarcerated for years.

      I do not see a benign explanation for the lack of identification of the settler shooter.

      Reply to Comment
    10. The Israeli State, by refusing to prosecute these acts, attaches the acts to the State. To say that most settlers are not like this is irrelevant. Vanguard settlers are like this, and they are supported in various ways by the State apparatus. Hence the vanguard ideology attaches to the State, seeping back in ways such as MK’s incitement to riot against “infiltartors” in South Tel Aviv. State inaction against vanguard settlers places the latter’s ideology within the State. And so I say: clean your own house.

      Reply to Comment