Photo by TPS
By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 17 November 2020
Arabs from the Palestinian Authority (PA) committed 10 times more hate crimes than Israelis did in the Judea and Samaria area in 2020, an IDF report on the issue shows.
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held on Monday a debate titled “The security forces’ handling of settler violence,” following a proposal submitted by Members of Knesset Tamar Zandberg of the far-left wing Meretz party and Ahmad Tibi, of the Arab-majority Joint List.
Zandberg alleged that there is “systematic” and “very severe violence in the occupied territories, when the Palestinian residents of the area want to carry on with their daily agricultural life,” which includes “pogroms in the olive groves and in the villages.”
She accused the IDF of “near-complete helplessness of the security forces” in dealing with these incidents.
“The army is the sovereign on the ground, but unfortunately, we see time and time again that it stands aloof or, in the worst case, the Palestinian victims are prevented from conducting their daily lives,” she asserted.
She did not provide facts to support her serious allegations.
However, the IDF’s data on the subject depicts a completely different picture.
Col. David Sonego, the IDF Central Command’s operations officer, noted that there has been a 50% decrease in the number of violent incidents during this year’s olive harvest, compared with the same period last year.
Sonego said that during the entire olive harvest period in the past four weeks, the IDF recorded 37 attacks against Palestinian olive harvest sites, compared with 66 last year.
He said that on an annual average, there are some 300 incidents perpetrated by Israelis against Palestinians, as opposed to about 3,000 incidents carried out by Palestinians against Israelis, about 10 times the amount.
The 300 incidents reportedly committed by Israelis include the spray-painting of cars and petty vandalism.TPS has previously documented incidents in which the Arabs vandalized their own crops and then blamed the Israelis for the damage.
Chief Superintendent Daniel Agam, head of the Operations Division at Shai District Police, said there is a 100% increase in “quality arrests” compared with last year, which contributed to the 50% reduction in incidents.
MK Yair Golan, also from Meretz, said that “as someone who was the commander of the Judea and Samaria Division between 2005 and 2007 – I know that there is no such thing as soldiers standing by when they witness violence on the ground and do not respond.”
Each year, he said, “thousands of police and soldiers deal with the protection of Palestinian olive farmers instead of dealing with thwarting terror.”
He demanded that “the leaders of the settlement enterprise, and all the rabbis, would act against the phenomenon with all their might, and reduce it to zero, in order to allow the security forces to do what they really need to do.”
Leaders and rabbis have repeatedly condemned the so-called “Price Tag” acts of vandalism against Arabs.MK Amit Halevi, of the Likud party, underscored that “the representatives of the state are talking here about individual incidents, which need to be handled, compared with the phenomenon of the Palestinian Authority funding, educating, inciting and budgeting terror.”
“The settler public is the least violent public, but there is a false campaign waged by Tamar and her friends, and the IDF should not have to invest so many resources in this,” he said.
The committee unanimously approved a resolution calling on the security forces to “prevent violence against people and the property of any person, and enforce the law against people who violate the law, whomever they may be.”