Standing Idly by: Non-enforcement of the law on settlers

‘…I saw a group of settlers, including men, women and children, going into the yards of Palestinian homes, destroying everything in their path. They broke windows, fences, and flower pots and damaged cars. At that stage, I saw a soldier who was on duty, standing near one of the Palestinian homes that came under attack. He did nothing. Four other soldiers arrived a little later. They didn’t try to stop the settlers either.’

From the testimony of the soldier A.

Today B’Tselem is publishing a report on the failure of security forces to enforce the law on settlers who rioted in Hebron after the killing of the soldier Elazar Leibowitz. The report strongly criticizes the performance of IDF and Police forces in Hebron from the time that Leibowitz was killed until his funeral.

The report presents eyewitness testimonies, including testimonies relating to the killing of Nivin Jamjoum, age 14, the stabbing of Ahmad a-Natshe, age 8, and the beating of his brother Falah, age 9.

The report also includes the testimony of a soldier who witnessed some of the events.

In October 2001, B’Tselem published a report on non-enforcement of the law against settlers who attacked Palestinians in reaction to attacks on Israeli civilians. The main argument of the report was that The vast majority of these incidents could have been prevented if the police and army had been properly prepared and had made any effort to prevent anticipated violence. These comments are also applicable to the events described in the new report.

B’Tselem’s investigation reveals that not only were the security forces not properly prepared to protect the Palestinians, in many cases they stood aside and did nothing to prevent the settlers from harming the Palestinians and their property.

For more information on the lack of law enforcement in cases of settlers violence