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Aug-19-2012 22:46printcomments

U.S. State Department Defines Settler Violence as Terrorism For First Time

“Price-tag” attacks get Israel listed...

A Palestinian woman reacts as Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar Jewish settlement try to set ablaze her olive tree field on June 19, 2008 in the West Bank village of Burin.(AFP)
A Palestinian woman reacts as Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar Jewish settlement try to set ablaze her olive tree field on June 19, 2008 in the West Bank village of Burin.(AFP)

(WASHINGTON DC) - Haaretz reports: A report by the U.S. State Department defines, for the first time, violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the West Bank as acts of terrorism.

The Country Reports on Terrorism, which under U.S. law is produced annually by the State Department and presented to the U.S. Congress, was published two weeks ago. It contained a chapter on Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

A section of the report entitled “Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism” addressed so-called “price-tag” attacks, which are committed primarily against Palestinians and their property by West Bank settlers.

The report mentions an attack carried out by a group of Israeli settlers against the IDF’s Efraim Regional Brigade headquarters in the West Bank.

That attack “sparked a public debate in Israel on the phenomenon of settler violence; political and security officials pledged to implement several steps to curb and punish these violent attacks,” according to the report.

The report also notes that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak labeled such attacks as having the characteristics of terrorist acts. Former IDF Head of Central Command Avi Mizrahi is also mentioned describing attacks against Palestinians and against their property as “terror.”

During 2011, the report says, ten mosques in the West Bank and in Jerusalem were set on fire – a dramatic increase compared to past years, following “six such incidents in 2010 and one in 2009.” The report also states that Israeli authorities believe that the attacks were “perpetrated by settlers.”

2011 Terrorist Incidents: There were multiple acts of violence conducted by different sub-state actors in the West Bank, both Israeli and Palestinian. Palestinian militants launched indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks at Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza. Attacks included:

  • On March 11, two Palestinian men affiliated with the PFLP stabbed to death five members of the Fogel family, including three young children, in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus.
  • On March 23, a British national was killed and 50 others were wounded when a bomb exploded at a telephone booth near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. In September, Israeli officials announced the arrest of several Hamas militants suspected to be involved in the bombing.
  • On April 24, a member of the PASF opened fire on Israeli worshippers visiting Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, killing one and injuring six others. This attack was characterized by the Israeli government as a terrorist incident, while the PA characterized it as a violation of the PASF rules of engagement.
  • On October 29, a rocket fired from Gaza struck the city of Ashqelon, killing one.
  • On November 10, at the Mamilla Cemetery in Jerusalem, vandals sprayed “price tag” graffiti in Hebrew on four Muslim graves.
  • On December 14, unknown vandals burned a mosque in Jerusalem and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti (e.g., “A Good Arab is a Dead Arab,” “Mohammed is Dead”).
  • On December 15, Israeli settlers attacked a mosque in the village of Burqa in the Ramallah governorate, setting it afire and defacing it with “price tag” graffiti.

by News Sources




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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.