Clip purports to show troops standing by as settlers attack Palestinians
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Clip purports to show troops standing by as settlers attack Palestinians

Army denies soldiers failed to stop stone-throwing in West Bank scuffle seen in video published by left-wing watchdog

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

An image from a video purportedly showing Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians in the northern West Bank on April 12, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube/YeshDin)
An image from a video purportedly showing Israeli settlers attacking Palestinians in the northern West Bank on April 12, 2017. (screen capture: YouTube/YeshDin)

A video released by an Israeli organization over the weekend appears to show Israeli settlers throwing rocks at Palestinians in the northern West Bank, while IDF soldiers stand by and do nothing to prevent the violence.

However, the army claimed Palestinians had sparked the altercation and soldiers were separating between them and settlers.

In the video released by left-wing Israeli rights watchdog Yesh Din, a group of a dozen or so people are seen hurling rocks next to an olive grove in the Palestinian village of Burin, outside Nablus, on Friday afternoon.

According to the organization, the settlers from the nearby outpost of Givat Ronen attacked a group of Palestinian residents who came to a grove east of the village to put out a brush fire.

The residents said the settlers arrived at scene accompanied by several soldiers, and began attacking them.

The IDF on Saturday denied the group’s allegations, saying the Palestinian villagers were responsible for starting the confrontation with the settlers.

“Yesterday afternoon, a fire broke out in the Givat Ronen and Burin area, and settlers arrived at the scene to put out the fire when they were attacked by Palestinians in the area,” an IDF statement said.

“Contrary to the claim, the soldiers who arrived at the scene tried to separate between the sides, and asked the settlers to stop the stone-throwing.

“Later on additional forces were mobilized to the scene and were able to break up scuffles, and disperse those present. We emphasize the incident ended without any casualties,” the army said.

Along with other left-wing Israeli organizations, Yesh Din has drawn criticism from the IDF and the government for collecting and publishing information on alleged human rights violations by Israelis and Israeli authorities against Palestinians.

Last week, the army’s spokesperson lambasted the organization B’Tselem for publishing a similar video, saying the footage of a scuffle between an IDF officer and a photographer was released purely to “manufacture an incident.”

In a rare snub last month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his scheduled meeting with Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel after he announced he would meet publicly with Breaking the Silence, a group that collects evidence from former soldiers of wrongdoing in the Palestinian territories.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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