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Palestinian villagers temporarily detain armed Israeli settlers

May 12, 2017 2:25 P.M. (Updated: May 16, 2017 5:14 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinians from the Qusra village, south of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, turned two Israeli settlers to the custody of Israeli forces on Friday, after the settlers had attempted to assault Palestinian farmers from the village.

Members of a “guarding committee,” which provides around the clock protection for villagers from violent Israeli settlers in the area, held the two armed Israeli settlers in the southern area of the village, after managing to stop and subdue them as they were attempting to attack Palestinian farmers in the area.

An official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, Ghassan Daghlas, told Ma’an that the two armed Israeli settlers were from the nearby illegal Yesh Kodesh settlement outpost.

After members of the guarding committee contacted Israeli forces to report the settlers, Israeli forces raided the village and escorted the settlers out of the area.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Residents of Qusra live in an area designated as Area B, an area of the West Bank where security affairs lie under Israeli military control, while civilian affairs are under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The Israeli military, stationed just kilometers away from the village, has for decades facilitated the wishes of the settler movement, whose illegal and often violent presence in the village has threatened Palestinian residents' sense of security.

Qusra is one of nearly 90 Palestinian villages in the West Bank that has implemented such “guarding committees” and nightly patrols as a form of autonomous, unarmed protection against settler attacks with which Israeli authorities are complicit and over which the PA has no jurisdiction.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 2016, with 46 attacks being reported since the start of 2017.

In March, Israeli NGO Yesh Din revealed that Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years.
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