+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

PHOTO: Why is a Border Policeman shaking hands with a masked settler?

The photo below was taken by an Israeli Ta’ayush activist on Saturday March 2 at 10:30a.m, in Umm al Amad, a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills close to the Otniel settlement. Shepherds from the village were trying to graze their sheep when according to the activist, Border Police officers showed up and simply expelled them. Masked settlers then came around to join in the intimidation and harassment. They were not questioned by the security forces or asked to identify themselves, but rather made nice.

Border Police officer shaking hands with Israeli settler, South Hebron Hills. 10:30a.m. March 2, 2013 (Guy, Ta’ayush activist)

Although the settlers did not attack anyone in this incident, just a week and a half ago, settlers accompanied by IDF soldiers shot two Palestinians in Qusra. And not all of them even bothered covering their faces.

A settler (in white shirt) pointing a gun at Palestinians on the plantations of Qusra, February 23 2013 (photo: Saad Al-Wadi)

The top photograph is a simple, visual manifestation of the fact that Israel’s security establishment is not simply colluding with settler harassment and violence but is leading the way when it comes to violations of Palestinian human rights, and breaking Israel’s own laws.

Why is a Border Police officer shaking hands with a citizen whose face is covered? And more importantly, why is that settler’s face covered in the first place?

A picture is worth a thousands words. In this specific case, the single snapshot captures daily reality in the West Bank. As I have reported many times in the past, Palestinian farmers in the South Hebron Hills are often prevented from grazing their cattle or accessing their water cisterns not only because of settler intimidation, harassment and violence, but also due to IDF collusion and at times active enagement by the IDF and Border Police in preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and going about their lives.

Collaboration between IDF, settlers reaching point of no return
WATCH: IDF turns blind eyes to settlers throwing stones at Israeli activists
Why IDF soldiers stand idly by when settlers attack Palestinians

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. annie

      excellent report mairav!

      Reply to Comment
    2. annie

      mairav, check your embed ” As I have reported many times in the past,”

      broken link…and then don’t bother posting this comment!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Mairav Zonszein

      @Annie, thanks, should be fixed now.

      Reply to Comment
    4. annie

      thank you, i had not seen that video. i was reminded to check back by a friend who sent about 10 of us the link. this topic is really important,this soldier/settler collaboration routine. private militias, very infuriating. it worries me a little these same people might end up in the military there. then they’ll just be better armed fanatics.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Dave Boxthorn

      If they were masked how do you know who they were? None of the settlers in the second photo appear to be masked.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Nikki

      another pertinent question we should be asking is where and how these citizens, not police or military personnel, aquire firearms. has the law changed in israel? last i knew private citizens in israel do not have the right to bear arms.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        You are/were misinformed.

        Reply to Comment
      • Haifawi

        It’s very easy to get a civilian firearm license if you live in a settlement. It’s quite a bit harder if you actually live in Israel (and harder still if you live in the Golan). One of the things I want to do here (in addition to destroying the “Jewish State”) is hunting (and eating) wild boar.

        Reply to Comment
    7. rose

      Mairav you should not waste your energies with people like Trespasser. He is a fascist that tries always to defend other fascists. He will pay a huge price for this, perhaps not in this life but in the following one. What goes around comes around. It is just a matter of time.

      Reply to Comment
    8. laila

      Connivence between masked settlers and Border Police is routine in the South Hebron Hills.
      Check out this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_pxqC-sitk taken 2 years ago.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Zephon

      Oh they just keep digging further and further into the pits of limbo and keep proving me right. They don’t believe in God they only believe in dominance and superiority – crushing humanity and enslaving all conscience. They have no hearts, and since they don’t believe in God – they are soulless.

      Look into their eyes and you won’t find anything in there. They only smile when the ‘ inferior’ beings suffer – it makes them feel alive.

      Something has to.

      Reply to Comment