soldiers, settlers 248.63.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi)
It is no secret that over the course of the past several months, Israeli
settlers in the West Bank have randomly attacked Palestinian villagers and their
property after their government makes decisions they oppose. Settlers who resist
the government’s limited attempts to implement the partial freeze of settlement
expansion have adopted what they call the “price tag” policy, an irrational and
indiscriminate policy applied against Palestinians who have no role in Israeli
The motive is to punish Palestinians for
something they are not responsible for. In doing so, the settlers put themselves
above the law.
The latest ‘price-tag’ violence took place late last month
in the Palestinian village of Burin. Several people from the Bracha settlement
near Nablus raided the village and attacked Palestinian homes. This came in
response to the government’s demolition of several caravans near the settlement
of Yitzhar. “Two of our residents were injured, one seriously.
under construction was seriously damaged and dozens of dunams of land and olive
trees were set on fire,” said Ali Eid, head of the Burin village
On the same day, settlers blocked roads at 11 intersections in
the West Bank and hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles.
There is a clear
pattern of settlers behaving in ways that would not be tolerated in any
law-abiding democracy. In May, settlers from Asfar burned more than 200 trees
belonging to Palestinians from the village of Sa’ir, near Hebron. There have
also been reports of settlers hitting Palestinians with their cars and driving
away; since May this has happened in Hebron, Qalqilya and Al Jab’a near
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has
reported 120 attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians and Palestinian
property in the first five months of 2010 – more than twice the average for the
same period in each of the previous four years.
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IN CONTRAST, when
Palestinians protest the Israeli security barrier built on their lands, or house
demolitions in east Jerusalem or elsewhere, Israel calls these peaceful
demonstrations violent and security forces apply brutal
The rule of law is thus applied selectively against
The Israeli authorities do little about these unprovoked
attacks on Palestinian civilians, and even less to prevent the settlers’
Many violations and attacks occur without
consequences for the perpetrators.
In several incidents where Israel
police detained some settlers suspected in the attacks, it released them shortly
thereafter without taking action. In the latest case – the killing of a
16-year-old Palestinian boy in May allegedly by a settler near Ramallah – the
only suspect was released after a few hours.
violence contradicts Israel’s claim that it upholds the rule of law.
Israeli government should take responsibility and stop these attacks on
Measures should be put in place to hold the settlers
accountable for their brutality.The writer has a degree in journalism
and communication from the American University in Cairo. He lives in Ramallah
and works for the Palestinian Government Media Center.
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