A couple a days ago I linked recent settler violence with the IDF plan to train and arm setters – ostensibly to fight against nonviolent protesters. Unsurprisingly, the settlers are back at it. On monday morning, Israeli settlers desecrated and set fire to a mosque in the village of Qusra. Windows were smashed and graffiti was written on the walls, insulting the prophet Mohammed and celebrating nearby illegal settlements and outposts and molotov cocktails were thrown into the house of worship.
According to UN OCHA, settler violence that results in damaged property or Palestinian injuries is up by over 50% this year. Moreover, this was the second attack on a Nablus area mosque this year and the 25th attack on Christian or Muslim holy sites since 2010. Additionally, dozens fo settlers reportedly spent monday morning throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles between Huwwara and Nablus; settlers from Betar Illit settlement flooded Palestinian farmland near Bethlehem with sewage; settlers near Nablus set vast areas of agricultural land on fire; and last week settlers entered Qusra and shot a young Palestinian.
This increase in settler violence before the UN vote in September is unquestionably worrisome and, according to PA spokesman Nabil Abu Rdeina, an attempt to thwart the Palestinian diplomatic efforts. Mustafa Barghouthi has warned that unfettered continuation of settler terrorism could easily lead to a ‘massacre’ and, noting the collaboration between the settlers and the IDF, accused the Israeli government of being complicit in the attacks. The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has reported that 9 of 10 settler attacks do not result in prosecutions.
As the UN vote approaches, one can easily assume that such settler terrorism against Palestinian civilians will only increase in both size and scope. The unwillingness to properly investigate and prosecute those responsible for this violence – and the cooperation between the IDF and the settlers – will only encourage settlers to continue.
Photo from Desert Peace