Palestinians to ‘respond’ to settler violence

Following increase in attacks, NGO says Palestinians can't rely on IDF, have no choice but to protect themselves.

By
September 20, 2011 03:05
3 minute read.
Palestinian civil patrol

Palestinian civil patrol 311. (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

 
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With fluttering Palestinian flags attached to their cars, a new volunteer Palestinian patrol of four vehicles set out Monday morning from a contested spring that lies between the village of Nabi Saleh and the settlement of Halamish in the West Bank.

For their first run, the four cars drove slowly down Route 60 until they entered the Palestinian city of Nablus.

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The patrol was organized by a Palesditor$htmlencodedText=With fluttering Palestinian flags attached to their cars, a new volunteer Palestinian patrol of four vehicles set out Monday morning from a contested spring that lies between the village of Nabi Saleh and the settlement of Halamish in the West Bank.

For their first run, the four cars drove slowly down Route 60 until they entered the Palestinian city of Nablus.

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The patrol hopes to respond to incidents of settler violence.

As the Palestinian volunteers gathered in the dirt lot by the spring, the IDF moved in to prevent their access to the small body of water where the committee had planned to hold a press conference.

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Soldiers stood on the hillside by a low wall overlooking the parking lot, and on the edges of the small gathering of Palestinians and journalists.

A committee spokesman, Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, said that the army’s actions to prevent the Palestinians from holding their press conference at the spring even as settlers were allowed to sit there, illustrated the need for the patrol.

“The IDF cannot be relied on to defend and protect Palestinians against settler attack,” said Pollak. “It leaves us no choice but for the Palestinians to protect themselves. The purpose of the project is to quickly respond to incidents of settler attacks, to document them and to try and prevent them,” he said.

“The settlers can only be unruly because the IDF allows them to be unruly. We hope that if we arrive there in numbers with cameras, to document them and to peacefully intervene, it will decrease the number of attacks,” he said.

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But even as Palestinians are concerned about settler violence, settlers, the IDF and the Border Police are bracing for possible Palestinian violence against the settlements, as Palestinians turn to the United Nations in a unilateral bid for statehood. In particular, security forces are alert for possible Palestinian violence on Wednesday.

Separately, on Tuesday at 5 p.m., both the Samaria and the Binyamin Regional Councils as well as the citizen committees have organized three separate marches in Judea and Samaria against a Palestinian state and in support of Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank.

The first sets out from the Beit El settlement, the second from the Kiryat Arba settlement and the third from the home of the Fogel family in Itamar in the direction of Nablus.

In March Palestinians infiltrated the Itamar settlement and killed five members of the Fogel family.

In advertising the march, the Samaria Citizens Committee put out a short ironic video set to the song, “We’re neighbors.”

The English words spoke of friendly neighbors who meet and work together, sharing food such as apples and tea.

But the cheery words were set to photographs of masked Hamas militants and suicide bombers. The video also included shots of rockets being launched at Israel, as well as scenes of Palestinians throwing molotov cocktails and stones at Israelis.

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