10 April 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
At 8.30am yesterday morning around fifty settlers, some masked and armed with guns, descended from Yitzhar settlement onto the Palestinian village of Assira Al Qibliya. International observers from the UK and Ireland witnessed the settlers threw rocks at homes and people on the outskirts of the village injuring one local, who is being treated in hospital.
Within thirty minutes an army jeep carrying Israeli soldiers arrived. They stood in front of the settlers on the hillside approximately one hundred metres from the Palestinian homes yet did nothing to prevent their attacks. The soldiers could be seen firing guns into the air and directly towards the Palestinians who had come out of their homes to witness and document this attack on their village.
During the attack four settlers broke away from the main group and made their way to a Palestinian quarry. Two armed with machine guns stood on a ledge while two descended onto the side of the road and set fire to a car used by the Palestinian workers.
The settlement of Yitzhar was originally established as a military outpost in 1983 but demilitarised and turned over to residential purposes a year later. Yitzhar is home to a Jewish orthodox community of over 100 who have in the past decade attacked the residents and properties of Assira Al Qibliya and neighbouring villages on numerous occasions using rocks, knives, guns and arson. These attacks often happen on Saturdays, the religious holiday of Shabbat.
Yitzhar is home to Rabbi Elitzur who published a book last November entitled “The Handbook for the Killing of Gentiles”, condoning the murder of non-Jewish babies, lest they grow to “be dangerous like their parents”. Rabbi Elitzur is vocal in his encouragement of “operations of reciprocal responsibility” such as the arson attack made on Yasuf mosque in December 2009
Despite West Banks settlements’ status as illegal under international law, Yitzhar was included in the Israeli governments’ 2009 “national priority map” as one of the settlements earmarked for financial support. Yitzhar also receives significant funding from American donations, tax-deductible under U.S. government tax breaks for ‘charitable’ institutions.