Settlers in Coronavirus Quarantine Attack Palestinian Campers, Torch Their Cars

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Palestinian cars torched by Israeli settlers near the Dead Sea, April 14, 2020.

A group of radical settler youth who had been put in a military-run coronavirus quarantine facility attacked Palestinian campers and torched their cars overnight on Monday.

Israeli police have launched an investigation into the incident which took place in the southern West Bank, near the Dead Sea, but so far no suspects have been arrested.

According to an initial investigation, two Palestinians from Jenin and a third from Haifa, an Israeli citizen, set up their tent in a camping site near the quarantine compound. The settler youth approached them and asked for cigarettes, then returned to the quarantine compound. About 15 minutes later, they came back to the site and began throwing stones at the group of campers and set their two cars ablaze.

The three Palestinian required no medical treatment, and were questioned by police.

Palestinian cars torched by Israeli settlers near the Dead Sea, April 14, 2020. Credit:

The group of settlers, all from the area of the infamous settlement of Yitzhar, south of Nablus, were placed in a secluded tent last week, after they came in contact with a confirmed coronavirus patient. 

They refused to go into quarantine in one of the state-run coronavirus hotels, because they would have been placed there in separate rooms, which would not have allowed them to celebrate the Passover seder together. Jewish Israelis were asked to refrain from celebrating last Wednesday's seder with people outside of their household in an attempt to prevent the spread of the virus during the holiday.

A defense official commented that the incident is further proof that the settlers, belonging to the hilltop youth from Yitzhar are a "violent, extremist and racist group that reigns terror wherever it goes." Their actions show "their gratitude to the State of Israel for taking care of them during the coronavirus crisis," said the official sarcastically, adding that security forces will bring the suspects to justice.  

Last week, the youth was transferred to the quarantine compound in a military bus. En route to the Dead Sea some of them broke the vehicle's windows and escaped. They were later caught by the police.

The settlers were in quarantine because they had come into contact with a sick patient. That same patient had been in contact with an army major general, who also had to be quarantined.

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