“Masked Jewish fanatics in a West Bank area”
B’Tselem, the Israeli information center for human rights in the occupied territories, has accused the Israeli security and military authorities of exchanging roles with Jewish settlers in attacking the Palestinian citizens as part of Israel’s intents to strengthen its control over the West Bank.
In a recent report, B’Tselem said the Israeli authorities allow Jewish settlers to harm Palestinians in the West Bank without then being arrested and held accountable for their crimes.
It stated that the settlers’ acts of violence and intimidation against the Palestinians “are a type of privatization of force which serves to further entrench Israel’s control without official action on the part of the state.”
“Israel allows these acts to continue almost entirely unabated because they help further its agenda in the West Bank, which includes taking over more land.”
According to the human rights group, on 22 April 2017, settlers from Yizhar and its satellite outposts descended on the Palestinian village of Urif and threw stones at homes and cars. Later that day, a group of settlers also arrived at the northwestern outskirts of the town of Huwara, which is flanked by these settlements on the west, and by the settlement of Tapuah from the south, and assaulted people and homes in the area with sticks and stones.
An elderly woman called Badi’a Odeh, 68, was grazing her sheep in a plot of land near her daughter’s house at around 5:00 p.m. The outpost of Mitzpeh Yitzhar was built near the home. Her son-in-law, Muhammad Odeh, came out of the house and started walking toward her, when suddenly, some seven settlers appeared.
In the testimony she gave to B’Tselem on May 11, 2017, Badi’a Odeh recounted:
“I saw my son-in-law Muhammad approaching, and suddenly I saw seven or eight masked settlers a few meters away from me. Some of them ran toward me, and before I knew what was going on, they had surrounded me on all sides. I didn’t know what to do. I covered my head with my arms and just succumbed to my fate. They picked up stones and threw them at me. I felt a hard blow next to my right ear, and then I lost consciousness.”
In his own testimony, given to B’Tselem on May 1, 2017, Badi’a’s son-in-law, Muhammad ‘Odeh, who also suffered an arm injury in the attack, said:
“When the settlers caught sight of me, they started throwing stones at me, too. I shouted at them and threw stones back at them to defend myself. While this was happening, I shouted to my mother-in-law to get out of there fast. I could hear my daughters, who are 15 and 17 years old, screaming from the house and I saw settlers on the roof of the sheep pen next door. They were throwing stones. I was afraid they would go into our house… I kept throwing stones at the settlers, until they moved off and went to throw stones at the neighboring house. I went over to my mother-in-law, and then settlers suddenly showed up again, and I got hit by a stone in the right arm. In the meantime, some relatives and friends came from Huwara. My daughters must have called them. Some soldiers came, too. When they went up to our house, the settlers backed away.”
“I went over to my mother-in-law with a few guys. She was lying on the ground, unconscious. Her face was covered in blood. I called for help, and some more guys came and tried to take care of her until the ambulance came 15 minutes later.”
B’Tselem affirmed that “the security forces that arrived on the scene did not arrest any of the settlers involved in the attack, and let them leave the area as if nothing had happened.”
“Based on past experience, it is safe to assume that the police will not take any measures against the individuals involved in the incident, who will be able to continue their violent conduct. The inaction on the part of the Israeli authorities in this case is part of their longstanding policy throughout the West Bank of allowing settlers to harm Palestinians without then being held to account,” the rights group underlined.
(Source / 13.06.2017)