Archive for Settlers

Settlers Shoot Palestinian, Attack Mosque Imam

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by loonwatch

More anti-Palestinian violence from fanatical settlers who believe the land has been deeded to them by God, and therefore they have right to intimidate Palestinians into leaving:

Israeli settler shoots Palestinian in West Bank

NABLUS (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler shot and wounded a Palestinian man on Saturday in a clash that began when a group of settlers set fire to fields belonging to a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank, officials said.

Najeh al-Safadi, 22, was handcuffed by a guard from the illegal settlement of Yitzhar who threw him to the ground and shot him while other settlers kicked him, a relative said.

Muntaser al-Safadi said people from his village, Orif, which is near Nablus in the northern West Bank, arrived and rescued the young man. He was transferred to Rafidia hospital with severe injuries.

Residents said about 25 settlers, some of them carrying guns, set fire to wheat fields and an olive grove near the Orif school. Settlers fired at people who were trying to put out the fire, they said.

Villagers came out to extinguish the fire and ended up clashing with the settlers, said Nablus official Ghassan Daghlas. Eight people were injured and four of them were hospitalized, he told Ma’an.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that a settler shot and wounded one Palestinian, adding that security forces were sent to the scene to break up the violence.

“The Israel Defense Forces regards this incident as severe and will thoroughly investigate it,” the spokesman said.

The military is investigating a similar incident from last week in which a video distributed by an anti-settlement group appeared to show a settler shooting and wounding a Palestinian during a confrontation with rock-throwing Palestinians, as soldiers stood by.

Daghlas said Saturday’s attack was a direct assault on civilians, and part of a pattern of incidents sparked by gun-toting settlers.

The official expressed surprise at the “international silence” toward Israeli violations, particularly the silence of the United Nations.

It is also being reported that Settlers attacked an Imam in the Ain Silwan region:

Settlers attack mosque Imam, IOF arrest a boy

(Palestine-info.co.uk

AL-KHALIL– A number of Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday the imam of Ain Silwan mosque in Silwan town in Jerusalem after storming the neighboring area.

Jerusalemite sources stated that the settlers attacked the seventy-year-old imam of Ain Silwan mosque, Adam Samreen, under the pretext of enabling tourists to enter the place. Meanwhile, the Zionist settlers raided the neighboring area, and attacked the guard causing him injuries.

It is noted that the ongoing Zionist attacks against Jerusalemites aim at forcing them to leave their lands and properties.

Settlers, Amongst IDF Soldiers Shoot at Palestinians

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2012 by loonwatch

Fanatical Yitzhar Settlers have once again attacked Palestinians. One Settler was armed with a “Tavor” rifle only used by IDF infantry soldiers. They were also accompanied by soldiers who according B’TSelem didn’t do enough to protect Palestinians from Settler violence.

Video: Settlers, amongst soldiers, fire on Palestinians

(Ma’an News)

An Israeli human rights group released footage on Sunday of settlers firing on a Nablus village a day earlier, and called on Israel’s military to investigate the assailants, as well as the army’s role.

Settlers entered Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday and threw rocks at properties in the village, which borders Yitzhar settlement, before the arrival of Israeli forces, a Ma’an correspondent said.

In the ensuing clashes Nimir Fathi, 24, was shot in the neck, while Ahmad Jaber Jibrel, 30, was hit in the face with a rock.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem released footage by volunteer photographers showing the settlers, some of whom were masked and armed, arriving in the village.

Palestinian youth from the village arrived and threw stones at settlers, and Israeli forces arrived at the scene, while rounds of live ammunition are heard, B’Tselem said.

The group said the footage raises “grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians … and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

B’Tselem said the one settler used a “Tavor” rifle, only used by Israeli infantry soldiers, and called for the army to investigate suspicions that the assailant was thus a soldier on leave.

Another two settlers were armed with M4 rifles, and one with a pistol while another appears to be wearing a police cap, the group said.

B’Tselem said it had written to police and military authorities calling on them to apprehend the shooters and investigate the “suspicion that the soldiers did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”

An Israeli military spokeswoman said at the time that settlers has clashed with Palestinians in the village, and she was looking into further details.

The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, visiting the wounded men in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus later Saturday, condemned the “barbaric attack by settlers.”

The Palestinian Authority will not stand idly by while these “completely unacceptable and reprehensible actions” take place, he said.

Abdel Rahim demanded the international community fulfill its responsibilities towards such “crimes that will lead to the collapse and security-destabilization of the region as a whole.”

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.

Yitzhar Settlers Torch Palestinian’s Car in Nablus

Posted in Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2012 by loonwatch

Settlers from Yitzhar torched a car in Einabus village in the Nablus district.

Fanatical religious settlers who believe God gave them the land have been attacking Palestinians who they hope to intimidate into moving away.

Settlers Torch Car in Nablus

NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of settlers on Thursday set fire to a car in Nablus, a PA official said.

Three settlers from Yitzhar settlement set fire to the car in Einabus village, PA official Ghassan Daghlas told Ma’an.

The owner, Zain Mustafa Allan, said the car was parked outside his home when the attack took place.

Earlier, settlers threw rocks at Palestinian cars driving near Yitzhar settlement, Daghlas said.

The Nablus district experienced the majority of settler violence in 2011, The Palestine Center says.

In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.

Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.

Forward.com: Christians Called to Serve Jewish Settlers

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Christians helping Jewish settlers cultivate stolen land

Evangelical Christians are heeding the call to help Jewish settlers occupying Palestinian land harvest  crops. They are doing so because the “Bible” says so.

So the Bible legitimates the confiscation of other people’s land, driving them out and then aiding the occupiers and initiators of violence in reaping the harvest from land that they stole?:

Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers

(Forward.com)

PSAGOT, WEST BANK — It is a typical, even stereotypical, West Bank settlement scene: bearded young men pruning vines while enthusing about the Chosen People’s God-given right to this region. But in this case it is Jesus, and not Jewish identity, that animates these tillers.

For years, Westerners have flocked to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to help Palestinians with their olive harvest, as part of left-wing activist groups like the International Solidarity Movement. Among other things, the activists seek to resist efforts by settlers to disrupt the Palestinians’ reaping.

Now, the settlers have international harvest help of their own. The young Christians working in the Psagot Winery’s vineyards near Ramallah in mid-March were members of HaYovel. Last year, this Tennessee-based evangelical ministry started a large-scale operation to bring volunteers to tend and harvest settler grapes. They attach epic importance to their work.

God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

NATHAN JEFFAY
God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

“When you see prophecy taking place, you have the option to do nothing or become a vessel to it,” said volunteer pruner Blake Smith, a 20-year-old farmer from Virginia.

HaYovel preaches the old-school ideology of Religious Zionist settlers with one innovation: a sacred role for Christians.

The group’s members believe that the establishment of the State of Israel, its subsequent conquering of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and specifically the flourishing of agriculture in the occupied areas are fulfillments of biblical prophecies. Like many settlers, HaYovel cites a prophecy by Jeremiah that refers to the Samaria region of the West Bank: “Again you shall plant vines on the mountains of Samaria.” And like them, HaYovel believes that the settlement movement will help to bring the Messiah to Jerusalem — the only difference being that the volunteers anticipate a second coming.

But these Christians also focus on a prophecy rarely cited by settlers, who tend to place ideological value on using only avoda ivrit, or “Hebrew labor,” whenever possible. “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers,” Isaiah prophesized to the Israelites.

Basing itself on this verse, HaYovel — which takes its name from the Bible’s twice-a-century agricultural jubilee — has made reverence of settlers into a central religious virtue.

“Being here, we just want to serve — and to bless the Jewish people in building up the land,” said Joshua Waller, a HaYovel ministry leader and one of the 11 children of Tommy Waller, the group’s founder and spiritual head. During a lunch break, a settler with yarmulke and sidelocks came to address volunteers. They keenly asked him to explain why the international community is wrong and the West Bank is not really occupied, and seemed prepared to accept what they were told. “We are not here to teach anything, just to learn,” Joshua Waller said shortly before the talk began.

To some of the volunteers, becoming settler laborers is a way of righting a historical Christian wrong. “This is a crazy time,” said Joe Trad Jr., a 23-year-old college dropout from Missouri. Over 2,000 years of contention, he said, “we saw Constantine and the Holocaust. Yet today, in this spot of the world, you have Christians and Jews for the first time with the same goal.”

The volunteers are a mix of people who, like Smith, had a mainstream Christian upbringing and were drawn to HaYovel out of curiosity; people from families that gave up the organized church to develop their own brand of religion, one they see as closer to Judaism, and some people who are emerging from personal crises.

Trad, a former alcoholic and cocaine addict, went through rehab and became a Christian two years ago. He described his volunteering as a way of giving thanks “for what the Lord has done for me in my life by freeing me from these addictions.”

Aaron Hood, a 21-year-old HaYovel staff employee, comes from a Tennessee family of 14 children that gave up on any organized church and started observing the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible according to its own understanding. The family observes Saturday, not Sunday, as a rest day.

Nour Samaha: Revenge of the Settlers

Posted in Loon Politics, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2012 by loonwatch

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Israeli settlers attack Palestinians daily

Revenge of the settlers

Nour Samaha (AlJazeera English)

Fadi Quran is little different from any other Palestinian living in the West Bank, where violence from Israeli settlers is part of daily life. Hailing from the town of Al-Bireh, less than one kilometre from the settlement of Psagot, the 23-year-old Master’s degree student has been forced to deal with attacks and harassment for years.

“Settler violence is a daily occurrence,” he told Al Jazeera. On one occasion, he was playing football with friends when they came under fire from settlers with machine guns. In another altercation, settlers threw stones at him while he was driving. Their guns discouraged him from stopping. “I’m telling you my story, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of other cases that are much worse.”

Last week, Quran was arrested after attending a non-violent protest in Hebron which demanded the re-opening of a street in the centre of the city. The Israeli army had made it a settler-only road 11 years previously, despite the presence of Palestinian families still living there.

Following a verbal dispute, Israeli soldiers pepper-sprayed him, beat him, arrested him, blindfolded him and took him to an interrogation centre at a nearby settlement. Once there, he discovered the arresting soldiers were actually from one of the area’s settlements.

“I asked where they were from and they told me: ‘Kiryat Arba’,” he said. “One of them then asked me if I knew Baruch Goldstein [an Israeli settler who, in 1994, opened fire inside a mosque in the West Bank, killing 29 and wounding over 125 others]. They said he was a hero and they would do the same thing.”

Quran was charged with attacking ten soldiers. In court a few days later, the judge stated there was no proof that Quran did not attack them. The hearing was postponed until the following day, by which point a video capturing the events leading up to Quran’s arrest had gone viral. After the video was presented to the judge (which clearly showed Quran had not attacked troops), he was released on bail.

Settler violence has been forcing people to significantly change their lives, Quran said: “There are communities who don’t use main roads because they are afraid they will be murdered. Many farmers can’t farm anymore because their lands are being burned or vandalised, so they have to find another job.”

report published in January by the Washington-based Palestine Center revealed a 39 per cent increase in the number of settler attacks – from stone-throwing to arson and shootings – between 2010 and 2011.

Furthermore, in the five-year period between 2007 and 2011, the occupied West Bank has witnessed a 315 per cent increase in settler attacks – while, over the same period, there has been a 95 per cent decrease in Palestinian violence against Israeli settlements and settlers.

The report found ”over 90 per cent of all the Palestinian villages which have experienced multiple instances of Israeli settler violence are in areas which fall under Israeli security jurisdiction”.

The report revealed a geographical shift in violent acts; previously settler violence was concentrated in the southern West Bank city of Hebron and its environs. Over the past few years, the Nablus governorate, in the northern West Bank, has also been on the receiving end of a large proportion of the documented settler violence.

This shift to the north, “where rural villages are predominantly targets, suggested that settlers are exploiting unfettered access to isolated Palestinian villages to perpetrate violence more than ever before”.

‘Open hunting season’

“What we have here is a complete failure to enforce the law and uphold the obligations to protect Palestinians,” Yousef Mounayer, director of the Palestine Center, told Al Jazeera.

“The Israelis really need to uphold their own obligations, otherwise we will continue to see violence and it will be open hunting season for settlers to attack Palestinians.”

International law states that occupying powers have a duty to protect local populations, while maintaining security and ensuring public order.

Issa Amro, a Palestinian from Hebron who heads the Youth Against Settlements activist movement, was forced with his family to leave his home – now designated a “closed military area” – after years of attacks from settlers.

“Every time settlers attack a Palestinian house, they are escorted by the army who protect them,” he explained. “I have filed dozens of cases and complaints, and not one time has anyone gone to court.”

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 90 per cent of monitored complaints filed by Palestinians have been closed without indictment.

“I have death threats against me, and I’ve been attacked many times by settlers,” said Amro. “[The settlers] say to me ‘I hope God erases your name’, and they say this to me in front of the army and the police, who stand by and do nothing.”

‘They are there to protect the settlers’

Ezra Nawi, an Israeli activist who has been working with Palestinians against settler violence for the past decade, said the Israeli military in the West Bank was complicit through inaction.

“Settlers attack Palestinians, but the army has orders preventing them from arresting or stopping them,” he said. “They are simply there to protect the settlers.”

Nawi is no stranger to settler violence, with his work frequently making him a target. He said the attacks “serve the state’s interests”.

“The violence scares the Palestinians into not moving around or using their land for farming and agriculture,” he said.

Further OCHA statistics also state approximately 10,000 Palestinian-owned trees were damaged or destroyed by settlers in 2011, while 139 Palestinians were displaced due to settler attacks.

The UN group also found that “80 communities with a combined population of nearly 250,000 Palestinians are vulnerable to settler violence, including 76,000 who are at high-risk”.

“Every day there are attacks by settlers,” said Amro. “What is new is that they have started burning mosques.”

Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for B’Tselem, an Israeli group which documents violence in the West Bank, told Al Jazeera that increasing violence was a result of a lack of law enforcement.

“The Israeli authorities have an obligation under international law to protect both settlers and Palestinians,” she said. “While they fulfill their obligation to protect the settlers, with the Palestinians, we see a systematic failure to protect them from attacks.”

“It is worth noting that Palestinians who are arrested by the Israeli army are prosecuted and charged through the military court system, which is very low in terms of protection of their rights, while settlers, if they get arrested, are held and tried in the civilian court system, which offers greater protection of their rights,” she added.

‘It’s actually calmer now’

Yet not everyone agrees with the assertions made. David Ha’ivri, spokesperson for the settlement council covering the northern West Bank region, told Al Jazeera he felt the area “is over-exposed in the media in comparison to other areas in the world”.

“I’ve lived here for many years and we have experienced violence, but that is not the situation currently,” he said. “It is strange that someone is saying that there is an increase, while we’ve experienced a decrease in the violence. It’s actually calmer now than in the past.”

Dani Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council, reiterated Ha’ivri’s assertion, saying the levels of violence had decreased in the past two years, and that media had a tendency to “inflate and exaggerate things like the price-tag attacks“.

“Life in Judea and Samaria [the Biblical term for the West Bank] is normal,” he told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think violence during the last year has been a crucial problem, not for Jews and not for Arabs.

“Let’s not forget that the numbers provided are actually the other way around,” he added. “There have been at least 12 settlers who were murdered by Arabs in the last 24 months.”

According to B’Tselem statistics 13 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in the West Bank over the past two years, while four Palestinians were killed by Israeli civilians, and a further 22 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army. In Gaza, 173 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military during the past two years.

Both Ha’ivri and Dayan state the Israeli authorities were doing what was required of them in terms of protecting civilians and arresting perpetrators.

“I don’t think there is less accountability, the state and the police are very serious about enforcing the law on both sides,” said Ha’ivri. “For example, there are individuals in some communities in Samaria who have been arrested, or banished from living in this area.”

“If the Arabs feel there is less accountability then they are not aware of the facts.”

While Dayan agreed the authorities were performing their duties, he acknowledged flaws in the judicial system.

“There are very few indictments, if at all, presented to the courts,” he said. “I do not have an explanation as to why there are so few indictments, and it is not my place to provide an explanation, but it does create problems, leading some to believe one side has a sense of immunity and can get off without punishment.”

“I do know the government and police have a high interest in the public opinion, so I don’t think they lack the motivation,” said Dayan. “It’s not a question of leniency, but maybe one of capability.”

‘They want Palestine’

The analysis of the Palestine Center’s Mounayer focused on causes of settler violence and whether it was responsorial (a reaction to either Palestinian violence and/or Israeli government actions), or structural (a product of demographics and security arrangements).

“What we found actually is that instances of Palestinian violence trigger a decrease in settler violence,” said Mounayer. “Palestinian violence tends to receive an official response from the Israeli army, so in these instances the settlers don’t intervene.

“We also found that some of it is motivated by Israeli government actions, but … it doesn’t necessarily have to be provoked by anything. As settlers can get away with it at any given time, they will continue.

“The message the settlers are receiving is that ‘this is okay, and the state is not going to stop them’.”

B’Tselem’s Michaeli, however, was keen to emphasise that violence was not something the majority of the settler community participated in. “The mainstream leaders in settler politics have denounced these attacks,” she said, adding that settler violence and clashes with local Palestinians dated back to the 1970s.

“Having said that, the settlement community as a whole in an occupied area is violent,” she said, referring to the illegal nature of the expanding settlements in the West Bank, frequently condemned by the international community.

Ha’ivri said that in most cases, when there is violence, it happens as a response to attacks on settlers. “I don’t think it happens on a daily basis. All acts of violence that have occurred are isolated on both sides,” he said. “I don’t think either side is going out and actively looking for targets.”

For Israeli activist Nawi, the motivations of settlers are much more straightforward.

“Most of the settlers are motivated by religious ideas; that the Arabs are unwelcome people and they need to leave,” he said. “It is not an argument you can reason with.”

“They want Palestine.”

Follow Nour Samaha on Twitter: @samahanour

Haaretz: Jerusalem Christians are Latest Targets in Recent Spate of ‘Price Tag’ Attacks

Posted in Loon Violence, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Some more analysis of the ongoing “price tag” attacks against Muslims and Christians in Israel:

Jerusalem Christians are latest targets in recent spate of ‘price tag’ attacks

“Price tag” graffiti was spray-painted in Jerusalem again Sunday night, with vandals this time targeting a downtown church.

The attack on the Narkis Street Baptist Congregation marks the latest in a series of price tag attacks that have targeted Muslim, Christian and leftist institutions in the capital over the last two months. But police believe most of the vandalism is not the work of an organized group; rather, they say, the spray-painted slogans are largely copycat actions carried out by lone individuals.

The original price tag attacks, in contrast, were thought to be the work of a group of settlers seeking to set a “price tag” on house demolitions in the settlements via retaliatory attacks on Palestinians and/or Israeli soldiers.

The attacks during the past two months have included the torching of cars belonging to Arab residents of Jerusalem’s Kiryat Moshe neighborhood; spray-painting slogans on a Christian cemetery on Mount Zion; spray-painting slogans on Peace Now’s office in the capital, as well as the house of Peace Now activist Hagit Ofran; threats against Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer; and an arson attack on an ancient mosque in the city’s Geula neighborhood. Over the last week alone, a bilingual school and two churches have been vandalized, including the Baptist church vandalized Sunday.

In both church attacks, the vandals spray-painted slogans denouncing Christianity, Jesus and Mary, such as “Jesus is dead,” “Death to Christianity” and “Mary was a prostitute.” They also included the by-now customary “price tag” slogan.

The Jerusalem police said they have arrested several suspects in this spate of attacks, including one for the attacks on Peace Now and one for the vandalism of the bilingual school. The latter suspect, arrested last week, said he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago, according to police. Police believe that many of the other attacks are similarly motivated by ordinary hooliganism, rather than ideology.

“It’s intolerably easy,” one senior Jerusalem police officer said. “Any child can take a spray can and spray it, and people know it will be broadcast. Not every case is really nationalistic.”

But to victims, the motive is irrelevant. Jerusalem’s Christian community increasingly feels under assault, and that is especially true for Christians living in Jewish neighborhoods. Priests in the Old City, especially Armenian priests who must often transit the Jewish Quarter, say they are spat on almost daily.

“It’s almost impossible to pass through Jaffa Gate without this happening,” said a senior priest at one Jerusalem church.

The spitting has become so prevalent that some priests have simply stopped going to certain parts of the Old City.

The Baptist church has been attacked twice before: It was torched in 1982 and again in 2007. “We mainly feel sad” about the attacks, said the church’s pastor, Charles Kopp. “It hurts us that anyone could even think we deserve such treatment. They don’t know us, but they apparently oppose anyone who doesn’t identity with them. I wish them well; I have no desire for revenge.”

Baptist priests don’t normally walk around in priestly garb, but Kopp said he would be afraid to walk through the Old City if he did.

Jacob Avrahami, the mayor’s advisor on the Christian community, visited the Baptist church on Monday to condemn the attacks. “They feel besieged; you can see it on them,” he said.

Dr. Gadi Gevaryahu, whose Banish the Darkness organization works to combat racism, said his big fear is that “one day, they’ll attack a mosque or a church with people inside and there will be a terrible conflagration here.”

“Over the last two years, 10 mosques have been torched here, and today it’s clear that it’s not just aimed at Palestinians or Muslims, but at foreigners in general,” he said.

Gevaryahu also offered a practical suggestion: Security cameras, he said, should be installed on every sensitive building in the city.

Israeli Settlers Vandalize and Set Mosque on Fire

Posted in Loon Rabbis, Loon Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2011 by loonwatch
Settler crying after his illegal outpost was demolished. Later they went and set a mosque on fire.

Can anyone imagine if Muslims had done this to a so-called “disused” Synagogue, Church, etc.? You can be sure there would be a big brouhaha over how Islam is evil and is trying to destroy the “infidel.”

Earlier in the day, Israeli settlers in the West Bank tried to set a fire inside a disused mosque to protest the Israeli military’s destruction of three settler houses at an illegal outpost.

The police and witnesses said the settlers threw burning tires into the mosque and spray-painted the names of two settlement outposts on the walls, including that of Migron, where the army destroyed three buildings constructed on private Palestinian land. The Israeli Supreme Court determined that the entire outpost was built on such private land, but the three chosen for destruction had been built after that decision was handed down. (Via the NewYorkTimes)