Settlers were caught on video throwing rocks at Palestinians in the West Bank on Sunday as Israeli soldiers looked on.
The incident took place near the settlement of Givat Ronen, south of Nablus. The settlers also threw rocks at people affiliated with the left-wing movements Yesh Din and Rabbis for Human Rights, who filmed the incident.
Only after some time did the soldiers intervene – to tell the Palestinians to move away.
The settlers, some with their faces concealed, continued to throw stones at the Palestinians even after the soldiers arrived, the video shows. The clips show about ten settlers and at least four soldiers.
This is not the first time that such an incident occurred. A similar one last week was documented by Yesh Din. The Israel Defense Forces denied that the soldiers did nothing and asserted that both sides had been throwing stones.
This time, one segment of the video shows settlers approaching to within meters of the activists. A soldier stands between the parties. The clip shows him talking with a settler while the rest continue to throw rocks. The soldier goes toward the Palestinians, apparently ordering them to leave, and then distances the attackers.
Zakaria Sadeh of Rabbis for Human Rights says the incident began with settlers throwing rocks at Palestinian homes on the outskirts of the village of Burin, located near Givat Ronen.
"Somewhere between 25 and 30 settlers arrived next to Palestinian homes in Burin," Sadeh said. "There is an isolated, unoccupied house there. They climbed its fence and started damaging the electricity poles and throwing rocks at [other] Palestinian houses. I arrived and then they started to throw stones at the Palestinians."
Four or five Palestinian children threw stones at the settlers in return, Sadeh says. Then, he says, a couple of the settlers recognized his car and started throwing rocks at it, which he views as a serious threat.
According to Sadeh, the soldiers protected the settlers. "It took the soldiers 15 to 20 minutes to arrive. They actually stood by the settlers and shouted at the Palestinians to get back into their houses," he said. "The officer told the soldiers to go on higher group, then sprayed tear gas toward the Palestinians and even shook the hand of one of the masked men. As long as this is how the army conducts itself during incidents of this sort, the violence won't stop."
A spokesman for the IDF said that they hadn't had a chance to study the incident but an initial glance at the video shows it had been edited and does not reflect everything that happened on the ground.
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