Israeli settlers torch farmland near Nablus after new confrontation at Joseph's Tomb
Some 1,600 Jewish worshipers escorted by Israeli soldiers visited the the West Bank holy site of Joseph's Tomb for late night prayers May 30—and some 50 then refused to leave when the allotted time for the visit was over, and had to be forcibly removed by the troops.Three were arrested. After the confrontation, villagers south of nearby Nablus reported seeing dozens of settlers set fire to agricultural lands. A settlement monitoring official with Fatah, Ghassan Doughlus, told Ma'an News Agency that residents of Madama village, whose lands were torched, believed the settlers were from the illegal residential community of Yitzhar, known for its militancy. Village official Ihab Al-Qett said local Palestinian fire crews were able to put out fires before significant damage was done.
On May 29, an Israel Defense Forces inquiry concluded that last month's shooting by Palestinian police on settler worshippers at Joseph's Tomb was not premeditated, but was carried out with the intent to hurt Israelis since their lives were not at risk. The Israeli military found the police fire, which left one settler dead, was "unwarranted." (Ma'an News Agency, May 31; JTA, May 30)
See our last post on the West Bank.