Settlement Leaders Concerned Over Arab Patrols Following Highway Attack

September 25, 2011 2:22 pm 0 comments

An Israeli baby injured last week during a violent Palestinian riot.

JERUSALEM- Settlement leaders have expressed worry this week following the announcement that Palestinians will begin unofficial civil defense patrols throughout Judea and Samaria.

The Popular Committees, a Palestinian group known for its involvement in protests against Israel’s West Bank security barrier, and Anarchists Against the Wall, an Israeli organization with which they frequently collaborate, have called for volunteers to man “several cars [that] will patrol the West Bank” in order to “quickly respond to cases of settler attacks.”

Participants in the “volunteer-based campaign” will also stand guard over local Arab villages in order to prevent price tag attacks by Israeli settlers.

Price tag is a term adopted by the extreme fringe of the settlement movement for assaults on Arab infrastructure and property as a retaliatory measure against the dismantlement of unauthorized outposts.

Mohammed Khatib of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee commented that “if anyone needed further proof that Palestinians cannot count on Israeli authorities to prevent settler violence, recent events show beyond doubt why we need to organize to defend ourselves.”

Khatib was most likely referring to a recent price tag incident in which a mosque in the village of Qusra was vandalized, allegedly in response to the demolition of three houses in the settlement of Migron.

The four initial patrol teams, the Popular Committees announced, will “document settler-attacks, but will also intervene to prevent and stop them when possible.”

Teams on the ground, which will be “composed of Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, will be directed from an operations-room in Ramallah, to which toll-free calls will be routed.”

Kobi Snitz, a Jewish activist and organizer of demonstrations against Israel’s West Bank barrier, emailed members of Anarchists Against the Wall on Friday, calling on them to “support this campaign” by volunteering to “cover shifts” when there are not enough Palestinians available.

The Popular Committees stated that they have already seen success in their initiative, telling website Islam Online that they “succeeded in fending off several settler attempts to infiltrate a number of towns and villages.”

Despite Khatib’s assurances that his volunteers will operate in a “civic and peaceful manner,” a photograph taken by AFP showed at least one Palestinian participant standing near an Arab village armed with a blunt object that appeared to be a baseball bat, prompting worries by some settlers over the possibility that the patrols could lead to violent clashes.

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, a think-tank with close ties to Israeli intelligence, the “popular resistance” employed by the committees in their demonstrations is “represented as non-violent, but in reality it often employs well-organized, ‘soft’ violence, such as throwing stones at and physically assaulting IDF soldiers, and the occasional Molotov cocktail.”

Among the settlement leaders who have expressed their concerns is David Ha’ivri, the spokesman for the Samaria Liaison Office, the public relations branch of the Samaria Regional Council.

Ha’ivri alleged that the patrol initiative was “another effort by the extremist left wing and Anarchist activists in Israel to cause friction between Jewish and Arab residents.”

The committees are looking to “provoke violence in Judea and Samaria” he stated. “I expect that the police will deal with those who come from afar to stir commotion in our region.” Ha’ivri called on his “Arab neighbors” not to “cooperate with provocateurs who’s only goal is the inflame the region.”

The leader of one settlement’s civilian rapid reaction force, who declined to be identified publically, said that he thinks “it would be helpful if these groups would document the dozens of unprovoked Palestinian rock attacks on Israeli civilians; specifically children.”

He expressed anger over the deaths of two Israelis on Friday in a Palestinian ambush.

“On Friday, Palestinian rock throwers murdered Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonatan as they smashed Palmer’s car['s windshield with rocks] on highway 60, causing it to overturn, killing Asher and Yonatan,” he said. “Last week, a 16 month old infant was seriously wounded, when Palestinians smashed rocks into her car windshield. The infant is currently in serious condition.”

However, despite his anger over Friday’s attack, the security officer requested that the residents of Judea and Samaria “obey the law” and “let Israel’s security forces bring Arab terrorists to justice.”

Friday’s attack came as Palestinians rallied throughout the West Bank in celebration of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ request for United Nations’ recognition of a Palestinian state. Israeli security forces have been on high alert due to fears of possible Arab unrest following Abbas’ UN bid. Palestinians did not wait for Friday to escalate the situation, however, with several shots fired at motorists near the town of Karnei Shomron last Wednesday.

Hebron community spokesman David Wilder also reacted angrily, saying that the Popular Committee’s security patrols were “terror in disguise.”

“I fully expect Israeli security forces to stop them before they begin,” Wilder stated. “Of course it is a provocation – any Arab attacking a Jew will be dealt with accordingly.”

Adding to settlers’ worries regarding the new Palestinian highway patrols, Wilder wrote on his blog on Sunday that the Palestinians “have begun using a new method in their continued attempts to kill Jews” involving motor vehicles.

“Instead of standing on the side of the road and throwing a rock,” he claimed, “they are heaving them from moving cars, coming at you from the opposite direction. They toss a rock out their window, in front of your car, just prior to passing you.”

Despite prior assurances from Palestinian police spokesman General Adnan Damiri that no forces independent of his command would be allowed to operate in the territories, the PA has come out in favor of the civilian initiative.

“This is not about any security functions, but rather about Palestinians, Israeli[s] and international [activists working] to document, in order to protect, Palestinians from settlers’ attacks. Therefore it does not contradict with what Damiri said,” stated PA spokesman Ghassan Khatib.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    Jewish New York Giants Guard Plans to Fast on Yom Kippur

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz said on Wednesday that he will not eat anything between sundown Friday and sundown Saturday in observation of Yom Kippur, ESPN reported. “If I was playing, I wouldn’t fast, because I’ve got to be able to fuel myself to play,” said the Jewish athlete, who is on short-term leave due to a toe injury. “But it’s not that tough, really. I’ll eat dinner at 5:00 Friday, then I’ll go to services and I’ll just [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.