Clashes settlers Palestinians IDF soldiers 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters/Nayef Hashlamoun)
The IDF dismissed accusations by the Palestinian Authority that it was
protecting settlers who attack Palestinians and/or their property in the West
Bank as ridiculous on Thursday.
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“It is both baseless and ridiculous to
say the IDF is supporting such activity,” an army source said.
together with other law enforcement bodies constantly work to prevent and
investigate unlawful activities in the West Bank, whether they are perpetuated
by Palestinians or Israelis,” the sources said.
But the PA minister for
fence and settlements, Maher Ghnaim, told reporters in Ramallah that a recent
upsurge in anti-Palestinian settler violence in the West Bank “coincided with
increased assaults by the occupation against our people.”
He said this
indicated the attacks were being “coordinated and programed” between the
settlers and the IDF.
Ghnaim claimed IDF soldiers were not only
protecting the violent settler groups, but were also providing escape routes for
them after attacks on Palestinians.
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Instead of dealing with the
assailants, the soldiers often target defenseless Palestinians, as was the case
in the village of Kusra last month, where one Palestinian was killed during a
confrontation, he added.
The PA minister said that in the last month
alone, settlers attacked more than 20 Palestinian communities in the West Bank
while the Israeli government was busy “Judaizing” Jerusalem and while
“aggressions” were continuing against the Aksa Mosque.
He also pointed
out that four mosques had been torched or vandalized in the West Bank in recent
According to the minister, more than 4,000 olive trees were set on
fire or uprooted during the month of September in the West Bank. He expected
settler violence to increase during the olive harvest season, which is scheduled
to begin in the coming days.
Earlier this week, the PA decided to send
policemen and civil servants to participate in picking olives in a bid to keep
Ghnaim also claimed settler drivers have deliberately hit
33 Palestinians since the beginning of the year. In the last few days, he noted,
three Palestinians were injured after being hit by cars driven by
The IDF was not able to provide The Jerusalem Post
statistics regarding violent incidents in the West Bank.
But an army
source said there had been a rise in West Bank violence between Israelis and
Palestinians since the demolition of three homes
at the Migron outpost early
“It is a concern for us, because it can potentially create a
deterioration in the security situation,” said the source.
claimed, meanwhile, thousands of prisoners have been on hunger strike in Israeli
prisons since September 27.
The prisoners are protesting against the
policy of solitary confinement of some inmates and other punitive measures taken
by the Prisons Service.
The PA called on Palestinians in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip to hold rallies in solidarity with the striking prisoners in the
next few days.
The PA minister for prisoners affairs, Issa Qaraqi,
claimed that the lives of many prisoners was at stake because of the 10- day-old
hunger strike. He accused the Israeli government of endorsing a policy of
“repression” against the prisoners and warned this would lead to a mutiny in the
prisons.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.
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