Israeli soldiers have been caught on tape standing by while settlers were throwing stones at Palestinians in the West Bank.
In the videos, shot on Friday near the village of Burin in the West Bank, the soldiers are seen standing meters away from the settlers, who are throwing the stones unimpeded.
According to local Palestinians, the settlers arrived at the area from the direction of the illegal outpost Givat Ronen, accompanied by soldiers. The videos, taken by an employee of the human-rights group Yesh Din, clearly show the faces of both the settlers and the soldiers.
"This is a very serious incident in which IDF soldiers allowed the criminals to throw stones unhindered," Yesh Din said in a statement. "The soldiers have the responsibility to prevent violence, and they have the authority to arrest the lawbreakers and hand the over to the police. As they failed to do so, the IDF must investigate their conduct."
The IDF denied that the soldiers stood idly by. The army said that the settlers arrived in the area to put out a fire, and that both Israelis and Palestinians were throwing stones.
"In contrast to the claims, forces that arrived at the site tried to separate the sides and asked the settlers to stop throwing stones," the IDF said in a statement. "Later, additional forces were dispatched and put an end to the friction, dispersing everyone present. Let us stress that the incident ended without injuries."
A similar incident took place earlier this week. Footage captured by the Rabbis for Human Rights group showed masked settlers throwing stones toward Burin on Wednesday. An Israeli soldier who arrived on the scene spoke to the settlers and ordered them to go away without making arrests. In one video the soldier appears to be having a friendly chat with a settler, and even pats him on his back.
According to Rabbis for Human Rights, the incident began when Palestinians arrived in the area to put out a fire that broke out near an olive grove. During the incident, a Palestinian youth was arrested for throwing stones during the altercation, according to the Palestinians, but no Israelis were arrested.
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