RAMALLAH, September 19 (JMCC) - Palestinian grassroots activists are training residents how to handle attacks by Jewish settlers in light of increased tension over Palestinians' bid for statehood at the United Nations, reports
In recent days, settlers have burned hundreds of Palestinian olive trees, thrown rocks at Palestinian cars, vandalized mosques and a university and threatened to march en masses on Palestinian towns.
The incidents mark a rise in settler violence in the West Bank, where some 500,000 settlers live among 2.5 million Palestinians.
This project came from the continuous and frequent attacks by the settlers in the last days. The settlers have many plans to attack Palestinian houses and lands and they announced that they will make the Palestinians suffer as a punishment for going to get full membership in the United Nations, Issa Amro, a Palestinian human rights activist with the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements organisation, told IPS.
From fending off attack dogs and knowing how to protect their children and where to hide in their homes during an attack, Amro explained that Palestinian and international activists have visited and provided advice to Palestinians living in close proximity to illegal Israeli settlements in the Hebron-area.
We are giving them a protection plan. We don’t have any weapons. We give them what we can. We give them cameras because we think that the cameras are the most reliable witness and it’s the best protection too these days, said Amro, adding that activists will also stay with Palestinian families in their homes to fend off the settlers.
The settlers don’t want us to show how violent and how aggressive they are and how the army and Israeli police is not fulfilling their responsibility which, under international law, mandates them to protect Palestinians living in Israeli-controlled areas, he said.
In late August, Israeli media reported that the country’s military was training and arming Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank with tear gas and stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrations following the United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood, scheduled to take place when the UN reconvenes later this week.
On Sunday Sep. 18, settlers’ councils throughout the West Bank signaled their intention to march towards the Israeli army’s District Coordination and Liaison Command and onto major Palestinian cities under Palestinian Authority control, in protest against Palestinian statehood. Being dubbed sovereignty marches by the settlers, the extremist rallies are set to begin Tuesday afternoon.