Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Palestinians prevent lynch of settlers in their West Bank village


Younger Palestinians roughly handle, beat settlers possibly seeking to carry out "price tag" attack; village elders intervene to halt violence.

settlers west bank
Jewish settlers sit together after being detained by Palestinians, January 7, 2014. Photo: Reuters
Palestinians prevented a lynch of 14 settler youth by fellow villagers in Qusra on Tuesday afternoon and called in the IDF to rescue the Jewish group that had been cornered in a construction site and beaten.

Palestinians alleged that the Jewish teens and young adults had entered Qusra to execute a "price tag" attack in the West Bank village. Settlers in turn alleged that the group was hiking in the area when they were stopped by Palestinians who forcibly brought them to a construction site in Qusra.

According to a security source, the settlers were held by Palestinians for over 40 minutes before the IDF and Border Police arrived and negotiated their release, an act which took over an hour-and-a-half.

The settlers were roughly handled and beaten by younger Palestinians, but elders in the village intervened to halt the violence, a security source said.
“The [elder] Palestinians prevented a lynch,” said the security source. With respect to the settlers, he said and the possibility that they had entered to execute a price tag attack, he said, “ The incident is under investigation, the source said, but added that “someone who goes into a village does not do it by mistake.”
The incident began earlier on the day when the security forces destroyed two olive groves that belonged to the nearby Esh Kodesh outpost, which according to the civil administration had been illegally planted.

During the demolition clashes broke out between area settlers, Palestinians and Israeli security forces. There was an additional outbreak by the nearby Palestinian villages of Jalud and Qusra, that followed reports of the Qusra incident.

Zakariya Sedde, a field worker for the Israeli non-governmental group Rabbis for Human Rights, alleged that settlers, some of whom were masked, had vandalized 15 olive trees and attacked a farmer. Security forces intervened and shot tear gas, Sedde said.

At the same time, another group of settlers attempted to enter Qusra and were surrounded by villagers and trapped at a construction site, Sedde said. He arrived at the scene as a Palestinian security officers and a few others in the villagers attempted to protect the settlers, Seddeh said.

Ziad Odeh, deputy mayor of Qusra, also accused the settlers of trying to cut olive trees belonging to villagers. He said that the IDF intervened to release the settlers.

“Today we sent a message to the settlers that next time they storm the village we will beat them in defense of our lands and people,” he said.

Palestinian farmer Mahmoud Tubasi told Reuters, ”I was tending my fields when a group of around 30 settlers came down the hill and attacked us with stones.
“We chased them and they fled to a house under construction. They were cornered there and some of the people here beat them - they had attacked us on our own land." A Reuters witness said villagers beat the settlers with their fists and sticks. Some bled from the head and mouth.

A resident of Esh Kodesh Aron Katsof said that the group, none of whom were from his outpost, had been hiking in the area to see ruins from the time of Bar Kochba, when they are attacked by Palestinians from Qusra.

“They pushed them toward an unfinished house, tied them up and tried to kill them,” Katsof said.

He chastised the media for jumping to the conclusions that the group had attacked Palestinians or was attempting to execute a price tag attack.
They were victims of violence and could have been killed, he said.

According to the Judea and Samaria Police, seven minors from the incident were detained, of whom four received medical treatment for injuries. It added that in a separate incident nearby, a female minor was detained for attacking an officer and another three minors were detained for throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles in the area of Shiloh.

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