Friday, 9 October 2015

The 'most moral army in the world' backs up settlers setting fire to Palestinian olive groves

Yet more disturbing videos of the Israeli army backing up stone-throwing settlers who set fire to Palestinian olive groves.  I suspect that the settlers won’t receive the minimum 4 year sentences that now apply to Palestinians!

Tony Greenstein

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem today released six damning videos of heavily-armed Israeli soldiers escorting Israeli settlers as they hurl stones at Palestinians and set fire to their olive groves.

In the above video, Israeli soldiers are embedded within a group of masked settlers from the Yitzhar settlement in the northern occupied West Bank. The footage shows soldiers — crouching among settlers who are slinging stones — while they fire tear gas canisters in the same direction.  
In another video, soldiers stand idly by as they watch settlers set fire to Palestinian fields belonging to the village of Urif:

The video below shows a settler helping a soldier load tear gas canisters into his launcher while other settlers throw stones with slingshots.

“Settler rampage”

The videos were filmed on 3 and 4 October by B’Tselem volunteers. In a press release accompanying the videos, B’Tselem calls the footage “the most blatant example of the tacit support of the settler rampage by forces on the ground.”

The group also points out that the military is “shirking” its obligation to provide protection to Palestinians as stated under international law. 

“The soldier not only refrains from stopping the settlers, but on the contrary, is helped by a masked settler who carries his military backpack containing tear-gas canisters, and even loads the canisters onto the soldier’s six-shot launcher,” B’Tselem states.

The Israeli government has declared a “war” on stone throwers — but only when the stone throwers are Palestinian.

Settlers in Yitzhar, which is located on a hilltop, regularly harass Palestinians in the villages of Burin and Urif below.


Meanwhile, Israeli settlers and soldiers enjoy impunity as the numbers of injured and dead Palestinians rise. 

Ma’an News Agency reports that on Thursday, Israeli forces shot and killed 20-year-old Wissam Faraj in Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem during an invasion. Since Saturday, Israeli military forces have injured 800 Palestinians, 60 of whom were shot with live fire. 

Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors settlement activity in the West Bank, says there have been more than 130 settler attacks on Palestinians in the last week.

Israeli legal rights group Yesh Din says it has received dozens of complaints from Palestinians who are reporting their vehicles and homes being stoned at junctions, attempts at arson and home break-ins and the torching of their farmland.

Some West Bank villages are forming patrols to guard their residents from settler attacks, a trend that has increased since the July firebombing by Israeli settlers of a Palestinian home in Duma. That attack killed 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha and his parents. 

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