Settlers on Wednesday from the illegal Israeli settlement of Sanur near Jenin — due to be evacuated as part of Israel’s “disengagement” plan — attempted to launch an assault on the Palestinian village of Assa’sa, clashing with the Israeli soldiers engaged in the evacuation. The clashes were witnessed by volunteers from the International Solidarity Movement.
Around 6 p.m., a group of about 50 settlers came out onto the road to Assa’sa, and began blocking Palestinian cars. About 10 minutes later, an Israeli army jeep arrived and soldiers told settlers to leave, setting up a checkpoint to allow Palestinian cars to pass. The settlers then began attacking a nearby Palestinian gas station. More jeeps arrived, coming under attack from the settlers, as they attempted to reach the village.
The soldiers tried to stop the settlers, but were overrun by them, and were forced to call for reinforcements. A number of armored personnel carriers arrived with more troops, who stopped settlers from entering the village. The settlers then returned to the settlement. It appeared that a number of settlers were setained by the army, and later on Border Police arrived, presumably to arrest the detainees.
Despite the fact that the Sanur settlers’ 48-hour deadline to leave the settlement passed at midnight last night, it appears that no attempts have been made by the army to evict them. Some soldiers have been seen inside the settlement today, apparently talking and arguing with the settlers, but without seeking to detain or remove them. ISM volunteers estimate that around 350 settlers remain in Sanur.
The mood in Assa’sa is currently one of extreme fear, with the villagers not knowing whether and when the settlers will attack again, and whether the army will be able to stop them. Some villagers are gathering stones to defend themselves, a poor weapon against the heavily-armed settlers, but for the most part, they can do nothing but watch and wait. ISM volunteers remain in Assa’sa, alongside the villagers, and continue to monitor the situation