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Israelis set West Bank mosque on fire, as UN report reveals rise in settler violence

Al-Akhbar | January 15, 2014

IDF soldiers and Israeli settlers

A group of Israeli settlers set fire to a West Bank mosque and sprayed it with racist graffiti, Ma’an news agency reported on Wednesday.

The “price tag” attack comes as a United Nations report revealed that settler attacks on Palestinians have almost quadrupled in eight years.

Ayoub Abu Hijlah, the mayor of the northern village of Deir Istiya, told Ma’an that the settlers entered the village before dawn to set fire to the mosque’s door, causing minor damages.

The settlers also scrawled threatening graffiti on the walls of the mosque, including “Arabs out!” and “Best regards from Qusra,” in an allusion to an incident in early January in which a group of settlers was apprehended by Palestinian villagers as they intended to destroy their crops.

Another tag read: “The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked.”

Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Daghlas said that residents managed to extinguish the blaze before it spread to the interior of the mosque.

Most price tag attacks against Palestinians are never prosecuted, and many take place in full view of Israeli troops. According to rights organization Yesh Din, indictments were only filed in 8.5 percent of 825 completed police investigations it monitored.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) report, relayed by the Associated Press, recorded 2,100 settler attacks since 2006, from 115 attacks that year to 399 in 2013.

OCHA figures estimated that in eight years, 10 Palestinians were killed by settlers, and more than 1,700 Palestinians were injured by settlers or by troops in clashes.

Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law.

January 15, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Israeli army no longer even pretends it’s trying

The army admits its observers noticed the masked Israeli bandits descending on Qusra – and did nothing

By Yossi Gurvitz | Yesh Din | January 13, 2014

1525753_774227715939899_1376986126_nA case of man bites dog: On Tuesday, January 7th, in the village of Qusra, Palestinians united in order to defend themselves from a group of Israeli marauders, taking the latter captive, and turning them over to the authorities. The rare event drew significant media attention.

However one point did not get the attention it required: The IDF told Haaretz (Hebrew) that “an observation post identified the settlers, some of whom were hooded, descending towards the village, but then eye contact with them was lost.”

You get that? The IDF identified a group of masked people heading toward a Palestinian village, and in response it did… nothing. The army entered the picture only after the raiders’ plans had been disrupted, in order to return them to their homes. That is, as far as the Israeli army – which effectively is the sovereign over the West Bank – is concerned, it is perfectly reasonable that masked men will pass by its apathetic eyes to raid a Palestinian village.

Had the villagers of Qusra not congregated to protect their persons and property, the incident would have ended with more damage to Palestinian property and perhaps more wounding of Palestinians – and it seems the IDF would not have cared that much. Now let’s try and imagine the opposite scenario: Masked Palestinians creep toward a settlement. Do you think in this case the IDF observer would consider it sufficient to inform command that it had “lost eye contact” with the suspicious masked group?

Once, the IDF – which according to international treaties and HCJ instructions is entrusted with protecting the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories – would at least pretend to try to protect them from the settlers’ daily terrorism. Seems it has stopped even pretending.

Perhaps because the truth is much worse: this blog has reported numerous incidents of IDF troops providing protection to Jewish marauders while they have attacked Palestinian villages. The following footage, taken by B’Tselem staff, brings the incident to life. The soldiers react with apathy to the masked Jewish civilians stoning Palestinians – and when the Palestinians try to react in defense, the soldiers fire tear gas canisters at them.

So it goes.

January 14, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Qusra settler attack, two hospitalised

International Solidarity Movement | January 7, 2013

Nedda-400x300Qusra, Occupied Palestine – At around 2 p.m. seven settlers attacked a farm on the outskirts of Qusra. The farm belongs to Abu Nasser and his wife Nedda who are both in their sixties.

Nedda confronted the settlers after seeing them on their property cutting olive trees, warning them off with a solid wooden walking stick and a firm voice. At around 4 p.m. twelve settlers returned accompanied by around 12 jeeps and 60 Israeli Occupation Soldiers.

A small group from the local village confronted the settlers and soldiers to defend the farm and a conflict erupted. Consecutive rounds of tear gas were then shot onto the farm land and the settlers and the local youth (shabab) confronted each other. During the skirmish two shabab were shot at close range with rubber bullets: one in the shin and the other in the upper thigh. Both required hospital treatment, with the shabab who was shot in the upper thigh remaining in hospital for further treatment as the rubber coated bullet passed into the front of his thigh and out the side. One of the stones thrown by a shabab hit a settler in the head. In addition to this the Israeli Army fired several rounds of live ammunition. The village Mayor rang the DCO to report the incident and the DCO warned him that the settlers would return for ‘‘revenge’’.

As four volunteers from the ISM, we arrived at the village around 7p.m. and were welcomed to stay overnight at the small farm house of Abu Nasser and Nedda. The following day the settlers were seen gathering across the valley with Israeli soldiers. We were driven to the hilltop across from them and made our presence known, shortly after which they left. During our time in the village we learnt of other attacks on the village that occurred as frequently as 3-4 times a week. We were shown several olive fields where the olive trees had either been broken or cut. The villages estimate that in the previous 3-4 days around 400 olive trees had been killed in their surroundings by settlers from the illegal settlements Esh Kodish and Kida.

During a similar settler attack on the village on the 23/09/2011, the local villages went to stop settlers from cutting the trees and the Israeli Army arrived and shot dead a 32-years old father of 5, Islam Badram.

January 7, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

Three injured from tear gas after settlers raid in Qusra

September 10, 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

Settlers together with Israeli soldiers in Qusra. Picture from Tantawi Aljiniral

Three people were treated for injuries related to tear gas after an attack by illegal settlers in the village of Qusra near Nablus on Saturday night. The attack comes roughly a year after Qusra resident Issam Kamel Odeh, 33, died from Israeli gunfire after settlers invaded the village in September of 2011.

Shortly before six in the evening Saturday, five settlers came onto the land of Akram Taysir Daoud at the edge of Qusra village. Soon after, they began beating the man’s wife and yelling obscenities at his mother. Additional raiders arrived until there were a total of fourteen settlers on the land.

In an attempt to get help, Akram Taysir called the mayor of the town. The mayor alerted the people of the village to come to the farm, and then called both the local District Coordination Offices to report the attack.

The invading settlers sealed a well on the property with a large stone.

Israeli soldiers arrived at the village thirty minutes later. According to Abdel Ahrim, a resident who observed the event, soldiers began firing tear gas shortly after their arrival. Abdel Ahrim stated that soldiers fired 30 total tear gas bombs. Thirteen of these were fired directly into the house of Abdul Majid Towfeek, a resident of Qusra.

Abbdel Ahrim reported that the commanding officer told the mayor that if any of the villagers followed the soldiers over the hill, he would burn the village down.

Soldiers fired three times before leaving the immediate area of the conflagration.

According to Red Crescent workers, three people were treated for injuries related to tear gas, two for inhalation, and one for an injury he received when a canister hit him in the ankle.

This is the second invasion by settlers on the village of Qusra in as many days. Yesterday, settlers from the nearby illegal development of Aish Coddish came onto land belonging to the residents of Qusra village.

Photos of that incident show that they were armed with an M16 rifle.

At that time, officials from the occupation forces told the mayor of the town that the only recourse for the farmer involved was to go to the local Israeli-administered court and file a complaint against the settlers. This type of legal appeal requires the petitioner to either hold an Israeli identification card, or to hire a lawyer who holds an Israeli ID to file the complaint.

September 10, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment