Israeli settlers enter Palestinian village in West Bank, 10 hurt in stone-throwing clash

Monday, July 26, 2010

Settlers, Palestinians clash with rocks in village

BURIN, West Bank — Israeli settlers entered a Palestinian village, set fire to a field, tried to tear down an unfinished house and attacked villagers on Monday, residents said, in apparent retaliation for authorities demolishing illegal settler buildings.

The two sides began hurling rocks at each other, leaving 10 people injured, including one settler who was seriously hurt, Palestinian witnesses and Israeli police said.

Extremist settlers often respond to the demolition of their unauthorized construction by attacking Palestinians and their property, a policy they call “price tag.”

Four settlers were injured, one of them seriously, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed. Palestinians said five villagers were hit by rocks and taken to hospital. An AP photographer was lightly hurt by a rock.

AP Television News footage showed villagers trying to extinguish the fire in the field in the north West Bank village of Burin.

The Israeli military, which controls the West Bank, arrived on the scene and separated the sides. No shots were fired.

Earlier Monday Israeli authorities demolished several structures built without permits by settlers in the area. The Israeli government has made limited attempts to rein in unauthorized construction in the West Bank, where about 300,000 Jewish settlers live among some 2.5 million Palestinians.

Palestinians and human rights groups regularly charge Israeli authorities with not doing enough to protect villagers from settler harassment.

In related news, police on Monday arrested a settler rabbi from the area on suspicion of incitement, Rosenfeld said. Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira wrote a book that says it is permissible to kill non-Jews if they pose “a threat to Israel.”

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