Palestinians and settlers threw stones at each other between the Palestinian village of Beit Furik, and the Itamar settlement, on Monday.
The IDF said the incident that involved 200 Palestinians and 15 settlers was already underway in when soldiers arrived.
It was their initial conclusion that the stone throwing was mutual, the IDF said.
According to a non-governmental group, Rabbis for Human Rights, which documented a portion of the incident with short video clips, a group of settlers, teens, some with their faces covered, came into the olive grove that belongs to the village of Beit Furik.
It’s spokesman Yariv Mohar said, “no one knows who threw the first stone, but Palestinians believed the settlers were going to damage their olive trees. They were not there for a trip.You do not just go to walk around a Palestinian olive grove with your faces covered.”
In a number of the short video clips that Rabbis for Human Rights provided the media one can see a number of boys, that look as if they are Jewish. In some cases the boys had sidelocks and wore tzitzit (ritual fringes).
In one of the videos it is possible to see an armed man, not in uniform, who looks like he could belong to the settler emergency response team, as well as a number of adults, standing on the hilltop, out of the fray – and appear to be observing.
Ester Allouch, a spokeswoman for the Samaria Regional Council, where Itamar is located, said the incident started when Palestinians came to a ridge by the settlement and thew stones in the direction of people’s homes. The settlers came out to defend themselves.
“We treated the incident as an infiltration into the settlement,” she said. “It is a very serious matter.”
She did not believe, she said, that the violence had spread to a nearby Palestinian olive grove.
The Samaria Regional Council said, “The emergency response team held off the infiltrators until the army arrived. To our sorrow left wing groups, funded by innocent Israelis, the EU and foreign emissaries, who act as demagogues to incite the area. These organizations published videos that cut out the infiltration to the settlement. They added background noise that indicated that harm had been done to Arabs. We are asking the IDF to distance these left wing organizations from the area. These organizations only harm coexistence in the area and the normal life of its citizens.”
Mohar rejected the charge.
Earlier this month, he said, it was a field worker from their organization Zakariya Saddeh that had intervened to help save the lives of 14 setters who had been cornered at a construction site by Palestinians in the village of Kusra.
“We are not blaming the settlers, or demonizing them. We see these attacks as a national problem that we are trying to tackle,” he said.
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