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Israel slaps restraining orders on 12 settlers

Aug. 2, 2011 3:01 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2011 7:11 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Twelve Israeli settlers accused of setting fire to Palestinian mosques, property and vehicles have been slapped with restraining orders limiting their movement in the West Bank, the military said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the Israeli military said it had signed off on the restraining orders based on recommendations from the Israel Security Agency, the internal security service.

The orders range from three months to a year, with six settlers told to stay away from certain communities, three prohibited from entering the Yitzhar settlement south of Nablus, and three more prevented from entering the West Bank at all.

"The orders follow the culmination of information recently gathered by the ISA, according to which a group of extreme activists living in the vicinity of Yitzhar have been, for the past two years, involved in leading, directing and executing violent and clandestine activity targeting Palestinian residents," the statement said.

"These activities include igniting a number of mosques, vehicles, and buildings that belong to Palestinians, therefore endangering lives and disrupting public order."

"According to security assessments these acts, and more so the igniting of mosques, can be potentially detrimental to the entire area."

The Palestinians regularly accuse settlers in the West Bank of attacking them and their property.

Hardline settlers have adopted what they call a "price tag" policy under which they attack Palestinians, their fields or villages, whenever the Israeli government takes measures to curb settlement construction.

In June, attackers rolled lit tires inside a mosque in Al-Mughayyir village, some 20 kilometers northeast of Ramallah in the West Bank, starting a small fire that damaged prayer mats.

They also spray-painted anti-Arab slogans on the walls along with the words "Alei Ayin," the name of a nearby settlement outpost demolished by Israeli police in an operation that sparked fierce clashes with the settlers.

The mosque attack was condemned by the Israeli government and much of the international community.

A report by the Palestinian Authority found that settler violence increased "dramatically" in June 2011, documenting 139 attacks in the West Bank and the destruction of over 3,600 olive trees and vineyards.
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