Settlers allegedly torch house in Hebron; army apologizes for soldier's assault on photographer.
By YAAKOV KATZ, TOVAH LAZAROFFPublished: DECEMBER 6, 2008 19:32Advertisement
Two Kiryat Arba residents suspected of shooting a Palestinian father and son during the clashes between settlers and Arabs following Thursday's forced evacuation of Hebron's Beit Hashalom surrendered to police on Saturday.
The shooting was caught on video by a B'Tselem photographer. One of the victims was reported in serious condition.
Police said they would do everything in their power "to bring people who break the law to justice - whether Jewish or Palestinian."
Click below to watch the Betselem footage
Settlers allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home in Hebron over the weekend, while another group blocked a road close to Yitzhar, south of Nablus, Palestinians said Saturday.
Both incidents were seen as reactions to the evacuation.
Hebron police and the IDF said a complaint had yet to be filed with them regarding the alleged arson.
Also Saturday, the IDF apologized for an incident in which a Haaretz photographer was assaulted by a soldier in Hebron.
According to reports, the paper's Tess Sheflan was punched in the face by a soldier from the Haruv Battalion as she was documenting events in Hebron.
One of the soldiers reportedly tried to take her camera away, and when she resisted, he punched her in the face.
Brig.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, head of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, met with Palestinian Authority security chiefs in Hebron to discuss the violence that erupted following the evacuation of Beit Hashalom.
The Palestinians were very critical of the IDF for playing what they said was a "passive role" by not taking a more active stance in preventing the attacks on Palestinians in the city.
The Palestinians said that some 10 homes were attacked by the settlers and that a number of cars were set on fire.
On Friday, the United Nations' Middle East envoy praised security forces for evacuating the Beit Hashalom house, but condemned the violence that followed.
"I welcome the evacuation by Israeli security forces of approximately 200 settlers from a house in Hebron yesterday," said Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process said.
"I condemn the ensuing violence and attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians and the destruction and desecration of Palestinian property, mosques and graves, as well as settler attacks on Israeli security forces.
"As the occupying power, the government of Israel is under obligation to protect Palestinian civilians, property and holy sites," Serry continued. "I remain concerned about the potential for a further escalation of a tense situation. I call for an immediate end to settler attacks, and restraint and calm from all parties, and urge vigilance from the Israeli authorities to ensure that the events of yesterday are not repeated.
"Actions of extremists continue to pose a threat to the peace process, and further underline the need for action to fulfill road map commitments," Serry said. "The United Nations will continue to closely monitor developments."
Meanwhile, Hebron's Jewish community on Saturday night sent a letter to IDF and Border Police commanders to complain that not enough was being done to protect them from attacks by Palestinians.
In particular they complained that there had been a number of serious stoning incidents and attempted physical attacks. They taped testimony regarding two of the attacks and posted the footage on YouTube.
In one instance, a woman who helped a small child related how she, her husband and their two small children were traveling on Friday to her in-laws for Shabbat when two Palestinians threw stones at their car.
"We were very frightened," she said. As she spoke, the camera showed how in the attack the front window of the car had been broken and the roof was dented.
In the second YouTube video, a woman from Hebron said that she was walking to the Cave of the Patriarchs on Thursday with a double baby carriage in which there were two children. A third child walked alongside the carriage. As they walked, two Palestinian women with sticks tried to attack them. She tried to run away and the women chased after them. Luckily, she said, they were saved by the intervention of border policemen who were able to protect them but did not apprehend the Palestinian women.
In their letter to the IDF and Border Police commanders, the community lists a series of Palestinian attacks against them going back to last weekend. There were two serious incidents in which two teenagers suffered head injuries from Palestinian rock attacks.
In the letter, Hebron's Jewish community say that the failure of the IDF and the Border Police to protect them was an act of "collective punishment" in which Palestinians were now being allowed to exact revenge against their community.
AP contributed to this report
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