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Israeli Army Avoids Confronting Settler Violence

West Bank settlers have once again attacked Palestinian residents and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, and once again the army and police showed no attempt to apprehend the lawbreakers.
Israeli soldiers (R) and a Jewish settler (L) stand at the entrance to the West Bank Jewish settlement of Bat Ayin, near Hebron April 2, 2009, after an attack. A Palestinian with an axe and a knife killed a 13-year-old Israeli boy and wounded a seven-year-old boy in Bat Ayin on Thursday, two days after a right-wing government took power.
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The Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) Central Command set a precedent by deciding to stop providing security for the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion settlement cluster. The decision came after anonymous masked men attacked soldiers at the settlement's gates. The incident started when the assailants tried to attack a Palestinian truck driver who got caught there. In order to prevent IDF troops from intervening, the masked men fired pepper spray at the soldiers.

Violence by settlers against the IDF soldiers is nothing new. For anyone familiar with the relationship between the army and the settlers, the real questions should be: How long will these sanctions last? A month? Two weeks? A week? Or maybe it will just be for a couple of days.

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