Palestinians from the West Bank village of Orif in the Nablus region once again clashed on Sunday with residents of the nearby Yitzhar settlement. Palestinians claimed that dozens of settlers, some armed and masked, trespassed on land belonging to their village, hurled stones, set fire to wheat fields and olive groves and caused huge fires.
On the opposing side, residents of Yitzhar claimed that the Palestinians initiated the riot by setting land on fire near their settlement.
The clashes ended when a young Palestinian who wielded a knife was apparently shot by a security guard from Yitzhar. Police arrived at the scene and began investigating the incident, but despite the fact that the violence was captured on film by the B'Tselem human rights organization and by residents of Yitzhar (who were granted religious permission to film on the Sabbath), no one has been arrested to date.
A statement by the IDF Spokesman's Unit said "The incident is under investigation. The Israel Defense Forces views this as a severe incident and will thoroughly investigate its cause."
This was not the first time the two groups battled each other. In Sept. 2011, dozens of Palestinians and Israeli settlers clashed at the entrance to the Palestinian village of Asira al-Qibliya, also near the settlement of Yitzhar. The Palestinians, who set out from their village to demonstrate support for the Palestinian statehood initiative in the U.N., were met by settlers holding a counter-demonstration. Tempers quickly flared and stone throwing ensued between the two groups.
According to Palestinian reports, at least three demonstrators were injured. Israel Defense Forces soldiers arrived at the scene and dispersed demonstrators with tear gas.
On May 19, Judea and Samaria District Police began investigating a confrontation between Israeli settlers from Yitzhar and Palestinians from the nearby village of Asira al-Qibliya.
B'Tselem released video footage of the clash showing Palestinians hurling stones at the settlers who responded by firing live rounds. Israeli soldiers witnessed the entire incident, but did nothing at first, eventually firing tear gas to disperse the Palestinians.
According to reports, one Palestinian was shot in the head. The video footage was transferred to Judea and Samaria District Police, which launched an investigation into the incident.
At the time, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit issued a statement, saying "After [the clash] was reported to us, security forces arrived at the scene to separate the sides. Shots were fired during the incident, and the brigade commander is investigating the matter. At first glance, it appears the video does not present the entire event."