May 2, 2009
Youth Against Settlements, along with international and Israeli solidarity activists, organized a protest in Bwaireh, on the outskirts of Hebron, on Friday, May 2, 2009. In response to the recent construction of an Israeli settler outpost built on the land of Issa Abu Karsh Jaber, the protesters carried building materials onto the land and built a small shack adjacent to the settler outpost. A month before, Israeli settlers created the outpost to de facto annex Issa's land to the main settlement. Settlers trespassed onto the privatly owned Palestinian land and built the illegal structure, while Israeli army and police, who were present, did nothing to interfere despite the fact that the act is illegal even under Israeli occupation law.
Israeli forces arrived to the scene of the protest to protect the settlers, who then began attacking the protesters violently, under the leadership of the fundamentalist settler leader Baroukh Marzel. The settlers assaulted the activists using stones, tools, and objects that had been lit on fire, causing many injuries. No arrests of settlers were made by the Israeli forces, and on the contrary, the Israeli forces proceeded to arrest 8 international activists and Palestinian Wael Azaatari, who were protesting non-violently. The Israeli forces then issued a Closed Military Zone order, and the demonstrators, who were invited by the owner, were forcibly removed from the area, while the settlers, who were trespassing on land they don't own against the wishes of the owner, were allowed to remain. The structure built by the protesters, at the invitation of the owner, was then demolished by the army, which declaired the structure illegal for being built without a permit. The adjacent Israeli settlement outpost, also built without a permit on land that even the Israeli state admits the settlers don't own, was allowed to remain.
The events that took place at Bwaireh are just one of many examples of how the Israeli state is not just an innocent bystander when it comes to illegal settlement outposts, but is actively enabling the theft of Palestinian land, and how in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the Israeli state applies one standard of justice to Israeli settlers, and quite another to Palestinians. State discrimination between civilians on the basis of their ethnicity, in an area over which the state insists on maintaining full security and civilian control, can be called nothing but apartheid.