Video taken by Palestinians and posted on YouTube by the Israeli group B’Tselem shows Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians with stones, live fire and setting fire to fields as Israeli occupation forces guard the settlers.
One Palestinian, Fathi al-Asayreh, 24, was shot in the head in the settler attack.
The settler assault occured on 19 May in the village of Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus in the occupied West Bank and the settlers came from Yitzhar, an Israeli colony built to the east of the village on land stolen from the villagers in 1983.
Masked, hooded settlers attack village
A Hebrew-language text from B’Tselem accompanying the three video clips says that the Yitzhar settlers, some masked and hooded, approached the village from the settlement and began hurling rocks and setting fires. One of the settlers, video shows, appears to be carrying an army-issue “Tavor” assault rifle, suggesting, according to B’Tselem, that he was a soldier on leave from the Israeli occupation forces.
Soldiers protect settlers as settlers attack
Young men from the village began throwing stones back at the settlers. Within a short time, Israeli occupation soldiers showed up at the scene, but instead of doing anything to halt the settler assault, the soldiers formed a line to protect the settlers who continued firing at Palestinians.
Settlers can be seen aiming and firing weapons at Palestinians, including a handgun and M16 rifles.
Gunfire from the settlers injured villager Fathi al-Asayreh in the head. He is in stable condition at Rafidiyeh Hospital in Nablus, according to B’Tselem. About five other Palestinains were injured by rocks, B’Tselem said.
The attack on Asira al-Qibliya comes amid a sharp increase in settler attacks on Palestinians which are almost never investigated or punished.
A recent EU report, citing UN figures, found that in 2011 there were 411 settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage compared to 266 attacks in 2010, an increase of more than 50%. Compared to 132 attacks in 2009, the number has more than tripled.
In 2011, UN OCHA recorded 70 attacks by Yizhar settlers, “the largest figure recorded from a single settlement” that year.
B’Tselem said it asked the occupation authorities to investigate the incident, however such a request appears to stand little chance of being taken seriously.
The EU report noted that, “92% of the 600 cases related to settler violence monitored by Israeli NGO Yesh Din between 2005 and April 2010 were closed by Israeli authorities without resolution.”
Video: Yitzhar settlers fire at villagers in Asira al-QibliyaVideo shows settlers firing at Palestinians in the village of Asira al-Qibliya. One young man, wearing a green t-shirt is seen being carried away after being shot by the settlers.
Video: Soldiers guard the settlers as they attack the villageIn this video, taken from a different angle, a settler can be seen crouching and aiming a handgun at Palestinians, as a line of soldiers protects the settlers. There is the sound of gunfire.
The same young man seen shot in the first video can be seen more clearly as he is carried away with blood pouring from the side of his head.