A former head of Israel’s Shin Bet,Israel’s security agency, recently said that Israel doesn’t want to stop the price tag attacks that have terrorised the residents of Yatma and Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank. Carmi Gillon’s comments at a cultural event were reported in Jerusalem Post. He said that Shin Bet could stop the attacks if it wanted (presumably as criticism of the present administration). His comments were echoed by former head of Mossad, Shabtai Shavit.
‘Price Tag’ attacks are carried out by extremist Israeli settlers typically when the Israeli government does something they don’t like. For the most part the victims are Palestinians, although occasionally the extremists target Israeli government property. Attacks are often arson attacks against cars, spray painted walls, slashed tires, burned olive trees, uprooted crops. Yatma and the area south of Nablus have been plagued by these attacks, and the Israeli occupation forces have rarely done anything to identify the attackers. (In a rare exception, Israeli police recently arrested several people from the settlement of Yitzhar, which is just a few kilometres from Yatma).
Olive trees destroyed in ‘Price Tag’ attacks
The UK government continues to fail the people of Yatma, and Palestine in general by refusing to sanction Israel for its occupation, while demonstrating this week that it is willing to take sanctions against other countries that occupy their neighbours.
Last week three more families in Yatma were given notice by Israel’s occupation forces that their homes were slated for demolition. That adds to the twenty houses already under demolition orders in Yatma. Most of these families have exhausted their appeals, which are almost never granted.
Each of these families must live with the knowledge that any morning the Israeli army may arrive and give them a few minutes notice to remove their possessions, before demolishing their house. This has happened thousands of times in other parts of the West Bank, and there has recently been pressure by settlers to enforce demolition orders in Yatma.
While our government has been quick to defend the human rights throughout the world, it has remained oddly immobile in the face of rising human rights abuses in the West Bank by Israeli occupation forces.
This year attacks by settlers in the vicinity of Yatma have more than doubled, and scarcely a week goes by that we don’t hear of trees uprooted, vandalism, tires slashed, equipment destroyed and other harassment by settlers on Palestinians in the Yatma vicinity. These aren’t often reported in our media. And rarely does the Israeli occupation administration do anything to stop the attacks.
Since the beginning of 2014 18 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Most of these attacks have been examples of excessive and unnecessary force against unarmed Palestinian civilians, many of them young people or juveniles. Israeli military personnel act with impunity; there is little possibility they will be censured, no less charged.
Once again we must ask our government to take the kind of actions that it is willing to use in the Crimean crisis, against the members of the Israeli administration who create and administer these policies.
HFOY has bought essential equipment for the Yatma clinic. We have been able to supply sterilising equipment; blood pressure, diabetes and blood testing apparatus, and a washing machine . The doctor only makes fortnightly visits and much of the running of the clinic is done by the nurse Mureena – in the photo she is unpacking the delivery with deputy Mayor Mohammed Snober.
Militant Jewish settlers have attacked and destroyed eight cars in Qabalan, West Bank. All were owned by local residents of the Palestinian village.
Qabalan is the village next to Yatma, about one kilometre southeast. Attacks against villagers by Jewish settlers are almost four times a frequent as in privious years. The settlers scrawled ‘Price tag’ messages on cars and building, a reference to the policy of attacking Palestinians in revenge for perceived threats against the settler movement by the Israeli government.
Two weeks ago residents of Qussra West Bank captured and detained a group of Price Tag attackers before turning them over to the occupation authorities.