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Settlers to diplomats: Go home!

March 8, 2011 1:40 P.M. (Updated: March 10, 2011 10:25 A.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank passed out threatening pamphlets to foreign diplomats on Thursday, instructing them to "go home" and put an end to their "meddling" in Israeli affairs.

The flyers, handed to diplomats waiting at a military checkpoint into Ramallah, warned that "meddling" by the American government and European Union "is putting your stay at risk!"

A diplomat in Jerusalem told Ma'an that "a number of Western diplomats" received the fliers at the district coordination office terminal. A "settler youth group" targeted cars with diplomatic plates, he said.

"Dear diplomats," the flyer says, "Go Home! Face the facts! We never will make peace with Palestinian terrorists!

"You are guests in our country! You are standing on the Holy Land! Of the Jewish nation! Do not interfere with the building of our country: The meddling by the American government and by the European Union, is putting your stay at risk!"

On the back, the pamphlet continued: "President Barack Hussein Obama -- With friends like you who needs enemies!!!"

The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press about the incident, emphasized that the documents were handed out within an area supervised by Israeli security forces, raising questions about cooperation between settler groups and soldiers.

DCO officials said they were unable to comment on the issue, referring inquiries to the Civil Administration. A Civil Administration spokesman referred inquiries to the army. An army spokesman said the military had nothing to do with the incident and would not issue further comment.

The tactic appeared to be one of several actions marking a settler "day of rage," reportedly organized by extremist groups to intimidate Israeli forces in the wake of an evacuation of an illegal settler outpost in Nablus earlier in the week.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned hardline Jewish settlers against violent "price tag" attacks of retribution against Palestinians.

The warning came just days after a series of anti-Palestinian attacks in the wake of the army's razing of a building in a settlement outpost last week, with Netanyahu saying such violence would be "dealt with."

"The concept of 'price tag' is unacceptable," Netanyahu said, according to a statement from his office. "There is no taking the law into ones own hands. Those who decide the law in Israel are the courts."

The settlers routinely act when police and soldiers demolish structures in settlements or wildcat settlement outposts.

Reactions also include targeting Palestinians in a policy they call "price tag" attacks. This is violence against the local population as a direct response to "anti-settler" activity by the Israeli government.

"The whole concept is totally unacceptable and we will make sure those who break the law are dealt with." Netanyahu said.

Last week police removed a caravan, a tent and another half-built structure in Havat Gilad outpost west of Nablus. That prompted settlers to fire bomb a house in Huwarra village, which saw two children taken to hospital for smoke inhalation.

They also smashed up shops and cars in the southern city of Hebron. Over the weekend, another group cut down 500 olive tree saplings that had been planted on the site of a former settlement outpost.

Anti-settlement movement Peace Now says there are more than 100 wildcat outposts strewn across the West Bank, all of which have been set up without permission from Israeli authorities.

Netanyahu has committed to removing those that are built on private Palestinian land by the end of the year and legalizing others.

AFP contributed to this report.
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