Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hebron settlers rampage in reaction to outpost crackdown

Israeli settlers rampaged through the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Monday afternoon, smashing the windows of cars and setting fire to at least one vehicle.

No casualties were immediately reported in the attacks, which were in response to the Israeli army's dismantling of an unauthorized settler outpost elsewhere in the West Bank.

Militant settler groups have declared their intention to exact a "price tag" for every outpost or structure that is removed by their government. Usually this involves attacks on Palestinians.

In a separate incident, Palestinians said that settlers stoned cars on a highway south of the city of Nablus, in the northern West Bank. At least one car's windows were smashed.

The Israeli army demolished nine settler-built structures in an outpost called Maoz Esther, which settlers rebuilt after it was destroyed several times.

According to Israeli media, the military cancelled a plan to demolish another outpost on Monday called Bnei Adam, consisting of nine structures, when the settlers agreed to leave of their own accord on Tuesday.

Israel's current right-wing government has chosen to crack down on a handful of the outposts instead of responding to international calls for a total freeze on construction in all West Bank settlements, including those sanctioned by the government.

The outposts are makeshift encampments set up by settler activists without prior government approval. Frequently outposts grow into full-fledged settlements with the complete compliment of government services and army protection. About 500,000 settlers live in illegal Israeli colonies in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

Source: American Jews For A Just peace
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