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Palestinian Attacks on Settlers Signal a Shift in Tactics

Attacks by Palestinians against Israeli settlers have increased in recent years, requiring a shift in Israeli strategies to protect settlers in the West Bank, reports Adnan Abu Amer.
The Jewish settlement of Halamish is seen in the background as a stone-throwing Palestinian protester stands on a garbage bin during clashes with Israeli security officers at a weekly protest against the settlements, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah February 1, 2013. U.N. human rights investigators called on Israel on Thursday to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all half a million Jewish settlers from the occupied West Bank, saying that its practices could be subject to prosecutio
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We were all surprised by the sharp disagreements that came to light between the Israeli defense and interior ministries concerning the cost of bulletproofing West Bank settler’s cars against possible armed attacks by Palestinians. The first ministry accused the second of not transferring the 5 million Israeli New Shekels [$1.36 million] allocated for this purpose. The Israeli government usually fortifies settler cars at the expense of the army’s budget. However, because of the relative calm witnessed in the last few years, the number of requests by settlers to have their cars fortified has dropped, despite increasing attacks in different parts of the West Bank.

One of the possible reasons for increased Israeli concern about settlers being targeted in the West Bank came courtesy of the Shabak security agency’s statistic confirming that the number of resistance operations against settlers had increased since the “Pillar of Defense” military operation against the Gaza Strip three months ago. This operation gave the Palestinian organizations in the West Bank impetus to take part in the war effort by either hurling rocks, Molotov cocktails, or sometimes shooting at settler cars at an unprecedented frequency. The army estimated that there was a 300% rise in the number of attacks.

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