Illustration. CC-BY-SA Rich Anderson
Anticipating possible settler reprisals to the eviction of Ulpana Hill, human rights organizations call on security forces to prepare in advance.
Five human rights organizations sent an urgent letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Judea and Samaria Police District Commander Amos Yaakov, and GOC Central Command General Nitzan Alon, demanding a preconceived and proactive approach to the possibility of violent activities by extreme right-wing activists against Palestinians in the days leading up to the removal of five houses in Ulpana Hill in the settlement of Beit El.
The signatories, Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, Yesh Din, B’Tselem, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and Rabbis for Human Rights, state that based on past experience there is a real concern that Israeli citizens will carry out violent acts of reprisal against Palestinians in the context of a policy known as “price tag.” A proof of this concern is the arson and vandalizing of a mosque in the village of Jaba’, which occurred despite the fact that the eviction is, according to various publications, being carried out with consent. The organizations also stress that past experience shows that when security forces are adequately organized, damage to Palestinians and to their property is prevented.
“Israel’s obligation to protect the well being of the Palestinians is anchored in law and in High Court rulings and is not an act of kindness,” write the organizations. “Even if it requires the allocation of significant resources, it is necessary in order to fulfill the duty to protect the security of Palestinians, and past experience demonstrates that in situations in which the security forces were not adequately prepared, settlers harmed Palestinians and caused damage to their property. We ask that you act to prevent violence against Palestinians as the imminent eviction approaches.”
The organizations demand the following from security forces:
• Provide clear guidelines to all military and police forces regarding their obligation to protect the well being and property of Palestinians
• Enforce the law on lawbreaking settlers and place police and security guards in areas prone to violence
• If settlers succeed in trespassing on Palestinian lands and villages despite the preemptive preparation of security forces, instruct the forces in the field to disperse such settlers immediately
• Arrest lawbreakers and bring them to trial
• Allow freedom of movement and activity to Palestinian fire and rescue services
• If their movement is restricted, Israeli fire and rescue services must act swiftly to evacuate the wounded and to put out fires
The complete letter (Hebrew):