Sunday, July 13, 2008

Jewish Settlers Arrested for Attacks on Palestinian Civilian; Settler Seminary Student Fired Rocket at Palestinian Town

The JDL, Jewish Defense League, was founded by Meir Kahane, a far right-wing American rabbi whose political party, Kach, was banned in Israel for inciting racism and violence. Both Kach and the new, not-so-underground replacement, Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives), raise money in the U.S. and Europe. Both groups are on the United States Department of State's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Settler arrested in failed rocket attack on Palestinian town;
Settlers Arrested for Attacking Palestinian Teacher
Published in the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz;
Compiled from Associated Press reports (July 13, 2008)

Police said Sunday they have arrested a settler suspected of involvement in a failed rocket attack on a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that police arrested Gilad Herman, a student at a Jewish seminary in the settlement of Yitzhar. Herman had been wanted for questioning since the attempt last month to launch a home-built rocket at the neighboring village of Burin, but apparently had gone into hiding. Rosenfeld said Herman was arrested at Yitzhar on Saturday, in connection with the house-to-house search that took place about a month ago for weapons. The projectile failed to reach its target and nobody was harmed, although the sound of the blast triggered a sweep of the area by Israeli security forces who initially believed a Palestinian attack on settlers was in progress. Media reports said police believe the perpetrator probably found rocket-making instructions on the Internet.

Until a truce with Islamic militants last month, Palestinians fired crude rockets into Israel from Gaza almost daily. Sporadic rocket fire has continued since the truce took effect. [The Palestinian group HAMAS recently arrested inviduals in Gaza who fired rockets in breach of the truce. In a key detail usually left out of U.S. media reports, the individuals in this instance were not HAMAS members, but were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, a militia loosely-tied, and in reality not controlled, by the secular Fatah Party of Palestinian president Mahmoud 'Abbas.]

Israeli settler graffiti on the walls of the Nabi Elias (Prophet Elias) Mosque in Qalqilya, a Palestinian city near Tel Aviv. The same mosque had been defaced with similar graffiti on a previous occasion.

But the Yitzhar attack is the first reported instance of Israelis firing homemade rockets at Palestinian targets. Two week ago, Palestinian police sources reported that two improvised mortar shells, bearing the legends "Sharon 1" and "Sharon 2," were fired from the settlement of Bracha to the village of Burin, near Nablus.

Yitzhar is a known hotbed of ultranationalist Israelis who believe that the West Bank is part of the biblical land of Israel promised to the Jewish people by God. They oppose any concessions to the Palestinians. An instructor at the seminary was arrested in 2006 on suspicion of inciting violence against Arabs. Yitzhar residents have repeatedly fought farmers from the Palestinian villages that surround their hilltop settlement and have clashed with police sent to supervise demolition of unlicensed buildings in the area. In 2006, the Israel Defense Forces withdrew troops stationed at Yitzhar for its protection, citing repeated settler attacks on soldiers and destruction of military equipment.
Settlers indicted for attacking Palestinian
See the previous post for background information.
Also in Sunday, the Be'er Sheva District Court indicted three residents of the illegal West Bank outpost of Asah-El, for allegedly abducting and assaulting a Palestinian just over a week ago. Lior Ben-David, Mordechai Azuriel and Eyal Rahamim are suspected of beating a Palestinian farmer and tying him to a poll. Rahamim has also been charged with opening fire on left-wing [Israeli] activists and Palestinians and of hurling a container of sewage at them as well.

According to the indictment, a week ago Saturday a group of Palestinians came in a field some 400 meters from the Asah-El outpost in order to uproot weeds. The complainant, Madahat Abu-Kirash, said that over the course of their fieldwork, he dropped a lit cigarette, igniting a fire. He said he asked settlers for some water to extinguish the flames and was greeted with hostilities. According to the complainant, the suspects accused him of starting the fire deliberately and begin to beat him with sticks. They then allegedly pulled off his shoes, tied his hands together, and dragged him to an electrical post near their homes. Left-wing [Israeli] activists later videoed a settler kicking Abu-Kirash, as he remained tied up and was surrounded by Israeli security forces. The soldiers subsequently removed the settler from the scene. Hebron police opened an investigation into the incident after Abu-Kirash submitted a complaint, claiming that he had been beaten all over his body.
Note: Interestingly, these two stories, and the original story about Abu Kirash, seem to have received very light to no attention from American mainstream media outlets. The stories were run in newspapers and media outlets from Israel, Europe, Canada, the Middle East, Asia, and U.S. independent media.
On the day Israel celebrates its founding, the army puts on shows of military hardware at various sites. This row of machine-guns was available to bystanders in the settlement of Efrat in the Palestinian West Bank, just south of Bethlehem.

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