Four Jewish Teens Indicted for Attacking Palestinian Farmers

The defendants, an 18-year-old and three minors aged 15 to 17, are said to have set out from a West Bank outpost near Shilo, masked and in possession of an iron bar, seeking to expel Palestinians from the area.

File Photo: Masked Jewish settlers, top, clash with Palestinians in the West Bank village of Assira al-Kibliya, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011.
AP

Four suspects, an 18-year-old and three other minor teens ranging in age from 15 to 17 were indicted in Jerusalem district juvenile court Monday on allegations that they were involved in the assault of Palestinians about a week ago near the northern West Bank Palestinian village of Turmus Aya.

The accused allegedly set out from the unauthorized Jewish outpost of Geulat Tzion near the settlement of Shiloh for Palestinian-owned agricultural fields. They are said to have been masked and equipped with a pole and a crowbar and, according to the prosecution, intended to cause Palestinian farmers in the area "to stop working and leave the site."

The indictment charges them with aggravated assault with racist motives, aggravated assault and threats out of racist motives. The defendants are accused of throwing dozens of stones at the farmers, to have cursed at them and to have threatened them "out of a nationalist ideological motive, even though they had had no prior personal dispute with the Palestinian farmers," according to a statement from the prosecutor's office.

The defendants were arrested after having been spotted by four undercover policemen in the vicinity. The police then identified themselves to the suspects and ordered them to stop, at which time the four tried to flee back towards the Geulat Zion outpost, according to the prosecution.

The Honenu organization, which according to its website provides legal representation to Israeli defendants who have "legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression," is representing the defendants in this case. The organization said the indictment "reveals that the police have again used undercover police disguised as Arabs against Jewish residents despite assurances by the public security minister [Gilad Erdan] and prior criticism by the courts over the approach."

Moshe Polsky, a lawyer for Honenu, added: "Again we are seeing a dangerous provocation initiated by the police, seeking to spur incidents with the goal of arresting residents and keeping them out of the area after the courts have ruled the there is no ban on being present in the Geulat Zion outpost."