Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has released a video showing illegal Jewish settlers setting fire to fields in the occupied West Bank, contradicting the Israeli army’s claim that the blaze was started by Palestinians.
The Spokesperson’s Unit of the Israeli army was yesterday forced to change its original statement, in which it claimed to have extinguished a fire set by Palestinians.
The fires were started last Friday near the occupied West Bank villages of Burin, Urif and Asira Al-Qibliya, all located off Route 60 south of Nablus. Illegal Israeli settlers from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar had attacked Palestinians from these villages, with both groups subsequently blaming the other for causing the fires which followed.
Contradicting the Israeli army’s claim of Palestinian culpability, video footage released by B’Tselem showed two Israeli [settlers] � one of them armed with a Tavor assault rifle � entering grasslands, crouching down and walking away. Moments later, flames can be seen in the area where they’d been standing, the Times of Israel reported.
B’Tselem added that [Israeli] soldiers who were standing next to [the settlers] did not arrest them and prevent[ed] the Palestinians from reaching their burning lands. In a separate video, settlers can also be seen throwing rocks at nearby Palestinian homes while four Israeli soldiers stand idly by.
B’Tselem stressed that the Israeli army had granted almost total immunity to the settlers involved in the attacks, noting that none were interrogated or arrested following the incident.
Although the Israeli army today issued a new statement saying several fires were set and quickly spread and that, in addition to the fires, some 20 settlers went down to the outskirts of Asirah Al-Qibliyah and began throwing rocks, it did not admit its attempts to cover up the settlers’ attacks. The Israeli army also refused to comment on why no settlers had been arrested for the arson.
This is not the first time the Israeli army has been found to have covered up settler attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Source: Palestine Chronicle