Another so-called “price tag” attack occurred this morning in a village near the West Bank city of Salfit. “Israeli settlers,” according to reports, “set fire to the main entrance of the Broqeen Mosque, and a number of Palestinian cars parked nearby.” The International Middle East Media Center reports on the incident and gives a list of previous settler attacks:
Local sources reported that several armed Israeli settlers invaded the village and tried to burn down the mosque, but were only able to set its entrance ablaze. The settlers then burnt a number of parked cars within the vicinity.
The recent attack is part of a larger “Price Tag” campaign against the Palestinians, their holy sites, and their lands. The settlers blame the Palestinians for any evacuation of illegal settlement outposts in the occupied territories, and they even deface and vandalize homes and vehicles that belong to Israel’s Peace Now Movement, and its activists.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, November 8 and 9, extremist settlers killed one Palestinian, and set three Palestinian cars ablaze near the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The settlers also fired tear gas at a family of Palestinians in Ertas village, near Bethlehem.
A ten-year old child was among those attacked, and he was transferred to a hospital in Beit Jala after being rendered unconscious by the gas.
Earlier in November, a number of Israeli settlers set fire to a tractor belonging to a Palestinian farmer, after trying to attack him in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
On Sunday, October 2nd, 2011, a group of extremists Israeli right-wingers burned a mosque at the entrance of Toba Zanghriyya village in the Galilee, and wrote “Price Tag” and “Revenge” on its walls.
On Monday, September 5th, 2011, a group of extremist Israeli settlers broke into a mosque in Qasra village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and torched it after destroying its property and writing anti-Arab slogans on its walls.
On Tuesday June 07, 2011, settlers burnt a mosque in Al Mughayyir village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and wrote racist graffiti on it walls.
On Sunday, October 25, 2010, extremist Israeli right-wingers attacked an ancient mosque in Ma’alul village near Nazareth, inside Israel. They removed the stones and spray-painted slogans of the Israeli settler movement on the walls.
On Sunday, October 3, 2010, a group of fundamentalist Israeli settlers broke into a mosque in Beit Fajjar, near Bethlehem, and set it ablaze.
On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, a group of fundamentalist settlers torched the main mosque of the Al Lubban Al Sharqiyya village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
This is what Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin rightly called terrorism. “This is not a ‘price’ or a ‘tag,’ this is terror,” he wrote. “These villainous criminals who harmed houses of prayer, fields, homes and property belonging to Palestinians, are Jewish, and this is Jewish terrorism that should be called nothing less.”
As this WAFA report explains, “About half of the Palestinian households were directly exposed to violence by occupation forces and settlers before July 2010, the highest in Gaza Strip, 49.1% compared to 47.8% in the West Bank.”
Part of why these attacks have been so prevalent and why scores of settlers feel free to march onto Palestinian property armed with guns and planning arson is because they accurately assume they will face very little consequences, if any. Countless videos on YouTube show Israeli occupation forces acting indifferent towards aggressive settlers harassing Palestinians. But that’s not all: a two-tiered justice system is firmly in place which harshly punishes Palestinians and grants Israeli settlers to behave in this way. Take, for example, the Dromi law, “named for the farmer Shai Dromi who in January 2007 shot to death Khaled el-Atrash,” a Palestinian who broke into his farm at night. Dromi was acquitted of the manslaughter charges basically on grounds of self-defense. The Dromi law states that “a person will not bear criminal responsibility for an act that was required immediately in order to curb someone who breaks in, or tries to break in, in order to commit a crime.” But when Israeli settlers broke into a Palestinian home this summer, “shouting,” “kick[ing] cans of milk,” and “overturning sacks of flour and rice” before “stoning them [the Palestinian family] (one little girl was injured), threw a baby (wrapped in its blankets) out of a cradle” the unarmed Palestinians did not have the right to defend themselves. In response to the attacking Israeli intruders, the Palestinians threw stones back at them. And then they were arrested.
Without a realistic concern that they will face legal consequences for acts of aggression, Israeli settlers will continue their terrorism.