On Tuesday, 30.4.2013, immediately following the stabbing attack in which a Palestinian killed Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the settlement Yitzhar, dozens of settlers from Yitzhar began revenge attacks against the adjacent Palestinian villages. Settlers also stoned cars driving on route 60, in the vicinity of the settlement. Two buses carrying Palestinian schoolgirls were stoned in the village Huwarra. Two girls and one of the drivers were lightly injured.
B'Tselem volunteers in the villages documented the events with video cameras from their homes and vantage points in the area.
FYI: some of the footage uploaded was shortened by editing to allow us to upload it swiftly. We will make the full rushes available in the coming hours. The attached material is a small part of the video footage available. It has only reached our office today, as the area was closed by the army on Tuesday.
The videos show dozens of youths, mostly masked, descending from the direction of the settlement and throwing stones at the Palestinian villages' peripheral homes. Additionally, the footage shows fires that were started in several locations, in areas where settlers were standing. The footage shows that the security forces present in the area during the attacks did not act with the necessary firmness and efficiency to prevent the attacks, which were to be expected. In some cases, soldiers are seen standing by while settlers throw atones. Soldiers are seen using crowd control weapons against the Palestinian youths which arrived at the area and threw stones at the settlers. There is no record of the use of crowd control weapons, even when those are throwing stones near the soldiers.
The documentation raises several problems with the security forces' operation:
- The army did not prevent settlers from exiting Yitzhar's perimeter, and it is unclear whether it was attempted.
- Additionally, in some cases, soldiers accompanied groups of settlers charging the villages.
- • In other cases, soldiers approached stone throwing settlers and their body language indicates they requested that the settlers stop. However, they didn't go beyond that and take actions to stop the stone throwing.
- Security forces are not seen detaining settlers, even when they had ample forces deployed. Soldiers are not seen attempting to identify masked settlers.
- B'Tselem will pass the material to the law enforcement authorities and to the military investigative authorities to help promote criminal investigations and to communicate to the army that forces did not adhere to the obligation to effectively defend the Palestinian population from revenge attacks.