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Palestinian residents prevent settler attack in Salfit village

Aug. 5, 2015 11:20 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 5, 2015 1:17 P.M.)
SALFIT (Ma'an) -- Palestinian residents of the Salfit-district village of Haris were able to prevent an attack on their village by Israeli settlers overnight Tuesday, locals said.

Resident Ahmad Soof told Ma’an that dozens of settlers sneaked into the western outskirts of the village through fields of olive trees and gathered not far from village houses.

However, the villagers noticed the settlers' suspicious movement and began to chase them in groups, forcing them to run away, he said.

Soof added that Israeli forces arrived and "helped the settlers run away, preventing villagers from reaching them."

He said that the Israeli soldiers fired flares and stun grenades at the villagers.

According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, Israel has confiscated about a third of Haris' village lands for the construction of four illegal Israel settlements.

These are Barqan industrial Zone, Revava, Qiryat Netafim, and Barqan. In 2013, they were reported to house more than 3,100 settlers.

Settler violence has come under international scrutiny in recent days following the killing of 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha in an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma near Nablus last week.

On Saturday, residents of Duma said they were going to form voluntary groups to guard against attacks by Israeli settlers, and on Monday, the governor of Bethlehem district called on municipal councils to form popular groups to guard against settler violence.

The Palestinian Authority security services have said they will do everything in their power to crack down on violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers, but under the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PA has no jurisdiction over Israeli citizens living in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli authorities, meanwhile, have systematically failed to hold settlers accountable for attacks on Palestinians and their property, according to rights groups.

Israeli rights group Yesh Din calculated in May that a Palestinian who files a complaint against Israeli settlers has a "1.9 percent chance that his or her complaint will lead to an effective investigation that results in the identification of a suspect and followed by indictment, trial and conviction."

Israeli settlers have carried out at least 120 attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank since the start of 2015, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
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