Ma'an News Agency, May 21, 2012
This article was originally published by the Ma'an News Agency and is republished with permission.
An Israeli human rights group released footage on Sunday of settlers firing on Nablus-village a day earlier, and called on Israel's military to investigate the assailants, as well as the army's role.
Settlers entered Asira al-Qibliya on Saturday and threw rocks at properties in the village, which borders Yitzhar settlement, before the arrival of Israeli forces, a Ma'an correspondent said.
In the ensuing clashes Nimir Fathi, 24, was shot in the neck, while Ahmad Jaber Jibrel, 30, was hit in the face with a rock.
Israeli rights group B'Tselem released footage by volunteer photographers showing the settlers, some of whom were masked and armed, arriving in the village.
Palestinian youth from the village arrived and threw stones at settlers, and Israeli forces arrived at the scene, while rounds of live ammunition are heard, B'Tselem said.
The group said the footage raises "grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians ... and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing."
B'Tselem said the one settler used a "Tavor" rifle, only used by Israeli infantry soldiers, and called for the army to investigate suspicions that the assailant was thus a soldier on leave.
Another two settlers were armed with M4 rifles, and one with a pistol while another appears to be wearing a police cap, the group said.
B'Tselem said it had written to police and military authorities calling on them to apprehend the shooters and investigate the "suspicion that the soldiers did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence."
An Israeli military spokeswoman said at the time that settlers has clashed with Palestinians in the village, and she was looking into further details.
The Secretary-General of the Palestinian Presidency Tayeb Abdel Rahim, visiting the wounded men in Rafidia Hospital in Nablus later Saturday, condemned the "barbaric attack by settlers."
The Palestinian Authority will not stand idly by while these "completely unacceptable and reprehensible actions" take place, he said.
Abdel Rahim demanded the international community fulfill its responsibilities towards such "crimes that will lead to the collapse and security-destabilization of the region as a whole."
In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year.
Settler violence against local Palestinian communities is widespread, but figures compiled by Israeli rights group Yesh Din have repeatedly shown that nine out of 10 police investigations about settler crimes fail to lead to a prosecution.
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