Bethlehem – James Cochrane-Dyet – PNN
Settlers armed by the Israeli authorities and supported by extremist right-wing factions based in Israel are preparing plans to attack Palestinian communities this month.
Fundamentalist settler organizations such as the Hilltop Youth Movement, and supporters of the outlawed Kahane Chai movement, (a splinter cell of the Kach terrorist group), and apparently headed by Michael Ben-Ari, Member of Knesset and of the extremist National Union Party (Ichud Leumi), confirmed that preparations for attacks began in August. Such organizations have acknowledged that there are already comprehensive plans outlining organized “children against children, women against women”, attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem to “contain the anticipated Palestinian popular activities”. According to the plans, heavily armed male settlers will “deal with the Palestinian male population of protestors”.
The Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman has also been affiliated with Kach movement, and since becoming a Knesset member has called repeatedly called for the expulsion of all Palestinians from the country, denouncing them as a “demographic threat to Israel”.
The eight-page plan includes comprehensive instructions for military-style operations in Palestinian towns and villages in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem. It operates under the slogan “let us transform September from threat to an historic opportunity to change the rules of the game”. It states unequivocally that “should the UN officially recognize a Palestinian independent state, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians will take off to the streets to celebrate, and they might approach the settlements”, adding, “Unarmed Palestinian women and children will lead the processions heading to the settlements, this will push the Israeli soldiers to open fire at them, and this will lead to a full collapse in the security situation, and the Palestinians will resume their attacks against the settlements”. According to Ben Ari, the military’s supposedly protective and apolitical role necessitates settlers “initiating our own plans, making our own decisions”.
Officially the Israeli military has condemned settler plans to attack the Palestinians, but its official stance is brought into disrepute by a leaked report revealing “Operation Summer Seeds” - a blueprint for the providing further arms for aggressive settler communities.
Furthermore, Israel daily, Haaretz released a leaked document stating that the military maps have been circulated with detailed instructions to shoot Palestinian protestors in the legs should they cross designated lines also illustrated on the maps. The instructions do not differentiate between non-violent demonstrations and violent attacks by Palestinians, implying that both forms of demonstration would be met with the same violent response.
Jewish settlers have already been responsible for hundreds of attacks against Palestiian people and have torched hundreds of Dunams of Palestinan agricultural land and desecrated and set fire to mosques such as the mosque torched in the village of Qasra early this morning. The settlers are already well armed and combat-trained and possess more than half a million small-arms weapons and retain endless sources of ammunition supplies. The consequences of a confrontation with Palestinians would inevitably lead to serious casualties.