Jewish settlers sit together after being detained by Palestinians, January 7, 2014. .
Palestinians prevented fellow villagers from lynching 14 settler youths in Kusra
on Tuesday afternoon and called in the IDF to rescue the Jewish group, who had
been cornered in a construction site and beaten.
Palestinians alleged the
Jewish teens and young adults had entered the village, southeast of Nablus, to
carry out a “price-tag” attack. Settlers in turn alleged that the group was
hiking in the area when Palestinians forced them to go to the construction site
According to a security source, Palestinians held the settlers
for more than 40 minutes before soldiers and border police arrived. The security
personnel then spent more than 90 minutes negotiating their
Young Palestinians roughly handled and beat the settlers, but
elders in the village intervened to halt the violence, a security source
“The [older] Palestinians prevented a lynch,” the security source
With respect to the possibility that the Jewish youths had come to
carry out a price-tag attack, he said the incident is under investigation, but
added that “someone who goes into a village does not do it by
The incident began earlier in the day when security forces
destroyed two olive groves that belonged to the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost, which
the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria said had been illegally
During the demolition, clashes broke out between settlers,
Palestinians and Israeli security personnel. There was an additional fight in
the area by the nearby village of Jalud and Kusra.
Zakariya Sedde, a
field worker for Rabbis for Human Rights, alleged that the settler youths, some
of whom were masked, had vandalized 15 olive trees and attacked a farmer.
Security forces intervened and shot tear gas, Sedde said.
At the same
time settler youths tried to enter Kusra and were surrounded by villagers and
trapped at the construction site. He said he arrived at the scene as Palestinian
Authority security officers and a few villagers tried to protect the
Sedde arrived at the scene as a Palestinian security officer
and a few others in the village attempted to protect the settlers.
Odeh, deputy mayor of Kusra, also accused the settlers of trying to cut down
olive trees belonging to villagers. He said that the IDF intervened to release
“Today we sent a message to the settlers that next time
they storm the village we will beat them in defense of our lands and people,” he
Farmer Mahmoud Tubasi told Reuters, “I was tending my fields when a
group of around 30 settlers came down the hill and attacked us with stones. We
chased them and they fled to a house under construction. They were cornered
there and some of the people here beat them – they had attacked us on our own
A Reuters witness said villagers beat the settlers with their
fists and sticks. Some bled from the head and mouth.
Aron Katsof, a
resident of Esh Kodesh, said that the group of Jewish youths, none of whom were
from his outpost, had been hiking in the area to see ruins from the time of Bar
Kochba, when people from Kusra attacked them.
“They pushed them toward an
unfinished house, tied them up and tried to kill them,” Katsof said.
chastised the media for jumping to the conclusions that the group had attacked
Palestinians or was attempting to carry out a price-tag attack.
youths are victims of violence and could have been killed, he said.
and Samaria Police said seven minors were detained in the incident, of whom four
received treatment for injuries. Police added that in a separate incident
nearby, a girl was detained for attacking an officer, and that another three
minors were detained for throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles in the Shilo
area to the south.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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