Israel 'must end impunity' on settlers' violent acts after attack on rabbis' group

(Photo: Courtesy - Yesh Din)One of the Israelis bloodied from a beating allegedly by Jewish extremists in the West Bank near the outpost of Givat Ronen on January 21, 2022. (Courtesy: Yesh Din)

The World Council of Churches has called on Israel's government of Israel to end the impunity of settlers who commit acts of violence following an attack on Rabbis for Human Rights and the Palestinians they were accompanying,

Settlers from a West Bank outpost that Israel does not sanction attacked human rights activists assisting Palestinian farmers in planting trees, amid an intensification of such attacks, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported Jan. 21.

The settlers were armed with batons, rocks. and incendiary materials in the attack Jan. 21 and set afire a car belonging to the human rights activists, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which reported that four human rights activists were slightly injured, said the JTA.

The attack took place in Burin, south of Nablus at an event organized by Rabbis for Human Rights and the Olive Harvest Coalition.

The activists said about 15 assailants came from Givat Ronen, an illegal outpost, and fled by the time Israeli army troops arrived, said the JTA.

Rabbis for Human Rights posted a statement on its Facebook page saying, "It has happened again. With clubs, stones and gas, masked settlers swarmed upon RHR staff & volunteers from the Olive Harvest Coalition. Beating, stoning and torching a car. Volunteer 

World Council of Churches acting general secretary Rev. Ioan Sauca shared prayers of healing for those injured and of solidarity with those working for peace.

"The WCC and its member churches around the world join in praying that the day will come when peace prevails and such attacks become a thing of the past," said Sauca.

"We call on the Government of Israel to end the impunity of settlers who commit acts of violence.

"The World Council of Churches expresses solidarity with Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) - and the Palestinians they were accompanying - in the aftermath of an attack by settlers in the West Bank against RHR staff and volunteers. We pray for a speedy recovery to those who were injured in this attack."

 Daniel Roth, an American-Israeli who works with Rabbis for Human Rights said,"They threw rocks through the windows of the car, poured gasoline on one of the cars, lit it on fire, and then turned their attention to throwing rocks and hitting any volunteer they could get their hands on" according to The Times of Israel.

Six Israelis wounded by the extremist assault were hospitalized in Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva. Some sustained head injuries, and another apparently had a broken hand. Roth said a settler hurled a large rock at his head, which he managed to block with his arm.


The Israeli army and police were called to the scene after the attack began, but arrived after the perpetrators had apparently fled.

A police spokesperson said officers were investigating the incident, The Times of Israel reported.

"Police will act decisively and forcefully to find the lawbreakers, capture them and bring them to justice," he said according to the Times.

Settler attacks in the West Bank spiked 50 percent in 2021, according to a recent report said the JTA.

It said the administration of US. President Joe Biden administration has signaled that it is monitoring the phenomenon and last month the country's U.S. State Department's annual terrorism report included extensive reporting on settler violence.

JTA cited the Haaretz quoting the settler leadership umbrella body, the Yesha Council, as decrying the attack, which it said in a statement "contradicts the values of the people of Israel and harms settlement efforts."

The Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights, Avi Dabush, said: "The settler violence has become a real mark of Cain on the forehead of Israeli society. Their violence directed first of all at Palestinians and to anyone who refuses to accept their version of messianic Jewish superiority that they seek to impose.

"Activists from RHR and the Harvest Coalition have been standing in solidarity with Palestinian farmers, assisting them and being a voice for peace, and a vision of Judaism that values human rights for 20 years."

Dabush said, T"he attack, like others, on the activists and farmers is more than anything else an expression of their fear of a Judaism that speaks in a different voice.

"It is unfortunate to see how time and time again the authorities, and in particular the policymakers, headed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense, demonstrate helplessness in the face of these Jewish terrorists who, in the name of G-d, commit such serious crimes."

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