settlers protest anti freeze 248 88.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Hundreds of West Bank settlers would likely act violently against Palestinians in response to Israeli government sanctions such as an extension of the freeze on settlement construction, according to the latest assessments in the IDF Central Command.
On Friday morning, Palestinians from a village near Kedumim discovered two vehicles that had been set on fire the night before; one of them was spray-painted with the words “Price Tag,” a term indicating that the rampage was the work of settlers angry over the government’s curbs on settlement construction.
In an effort to prevent retaliation, the Israel Police and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) opened an investigation into the incident and officials from the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria spoke with local Palestinian leaders.
There was a similar incident on Wednesday, when masked men entered the Palestinian town of Hawara, south of Nablus, and spray-painted a Star of David and the word Muhammad – in Hebrew – on the wall of a mosque.
“There are Jewish terrorists on the margins who are radicals and are the minority,” a top IDF officer told The Jerusalem Post
over the weekend. “Someone who sets a mosque on fire or attacks a Palestinian is a terrorist.”
There was also a larger group of several hundred settlers and right-wing activists who would be willing to throw stones at Palestinians but would not attack IDF soldiers, the officer said.
The officer said the IDF was increasingly concerned with the attacks against the Palestinians, which he warned could lead to an escalation in anti-Israel terrorism in the West Bank.
“We can see through the intelligence information we collect that these incidents escalate terrorist activity,” the officer said.
The incidents come as the government is
debating an American request to extend the moratorium on Jewish housing starts in the West Bank.
In addition to extending the freeze on settlement construction –
approved for 10 months and set to expire in late September – the
Americans are asking the government to stop Jewish construction in east
Jerusalem and transfer security control for certain parts of the West
Bank to the Palestinian Authority.
As a result, the Judea and Samaria Division decided recently that all
military units deployed in the West Bank for operations will undergo
crash-courses in dealing with Jewish demonstrations and settler