Jewish settlers torch Palestinian homes

April 29, 2010 at 1:23 PM
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HUWWARA, West Bank, April 29 (UPI) -- A band of Jewish settlers set houses and cars ablaze in a West Bank Palestinian village after Israeli soldiers arrested 11 settlers, village residents said.

The right-wing settlers, from an illegally constructed part of Yitzhar, in the Samarian mountains south of Nablus, also set fire to fields and vandalized homes, the residents said.

The vandalism, which ended after Palestinians threw stones at the settlers, was part of the settlers' "price tag" campaign aimed at harming Palestinians and making trouble for soldiers, who right-wing activist Baruch Marzel said were "out to get" the settlers, Haaretz reported.

Some of the smashed and burned cars had "price tag" spray-painted on them, witnesses said.

Extremist settlers started the "price tag" campaign after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared a temporary freeze in West Bank construction late last year.

Israeli troops patrolled the area later to prevent further vandalism. The military vowed last week to take "serious steps" to curb Yitzhar settler violence, with assistance from local police and the Shin Bet security service's Jewish unit, set up to thwart violence by extremist settlers, Haaretz reported.

Some Yitzhar residents claimed police were extracting a "price tag" policy of their own, and that this week police have been present at the entrance to the settlement

The arrested settlers were suspected of disturbing the public order, Ynet News reported.

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