The World

This woman’s house is the last one in this Palestinian village and the closest to the neighboring Jewish settlement. She says last month several settlers came to her house, cut the water main, smashed the solar panels on her roof, uprooted trees and painted black Jewish stars on the side of her house. She captured it all on a video camera given to her by an Israeli human rights organization. Several Palestinians were hurt by gunfire from the settlers. She doubts the settlers will ever be prosecuted for what they did. She says they come into the village almost every week to engage in a campaign of intimidation. Prime Minister Olmert had harsh words for the incident, and the commanding officer for the region says he’s worried about growing extremism amongst the Jewish settlers in the region. He said the number of extremist settlers has risen lately and they’re making it harder for the army to maintain law and order. The number of reported harassment incidents by settlers has risen sharply this year. At this settlement, known as one of the most militant, residents don’t deny recent attacks. But they say the Palestinians deserve it because a 16 year old Palestinian boy entered their settlement and started a housefire and then stabbed a 9 year old Israeli boy before fleeing back to his village. The Palestinian was shot and killed the next week when he tried to go back to the settlement. The woman whose house was almost destroyed by the fire says there have been many other incidents of violence in their settlement. This settler wants that to change and he says attacks from the settlers on the Palestinian are justified. His wife says there’s nothing wrong with the attacks on the nearby Palestinian villages. She is also critical of the Israeli army because they haven’t done enough to stop the attacks by Palestinians. Olmert recently said the only way to achieve peace with the Palestinians is a near complete pullout of Gaza and the West Bank.

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