Interviews 11:14 04/07/2014

Israeli settler violence against Palestinians rising – activist

Press TV has conducted an interview with Joe Catron, a human rights activist, from Gaza, about the three missing Israeli teens whose bodies were found 19 days after their disappearance, while Israeli forces collectively punished the West Bank.

Press TV: From the onset Israel blamed Hamas and its operatives – as it called it – for the abduction of these three Israeli settlers, which they called an abduction, which translated into the unfortunate death of these three settlers.

But the media campaign behind this was set into motion in terms of the pieces being put together. And here we have the latest consequence being the murder of a Palestinian boy.

Israel has yet to come out with a shred of evidence pointing towards Hamas being behind this.

What is your reaction when you look at Israel how it has portrayed Hamas without showing any evidence to be the reason behind what is occurring in the occupied territories?

Catron: Well, I think Israel has made its agenda here clear from the very beginning.

As you say it’s presented no evidence implicating Hamas; additionally Hamas has not at any point claimed responsibility; however, Israel has nevertheless embarked on what it has openly admitted is a campaign to weaken Hamas in the West Bank and damage the new Palestinian unity agreement - in addition supposedly to recovering the three missing settlers.

I have my doubts about how much of a priority that last goal was. It seems to have taken the Israeli defense forces 19 days to locate the three bodies, which we’re told were half-buried. I suspect I could have located the three bodies, ten-minutes from where they disappeared, half buried, in less than 19 days.

And while I don’t think the IDF is impermeable I think they’re a little better than that if they had actually been making it a point to find them I don’t think it would have taken them this long.

Press TV: May be the IDF – we don’t call them that – but maybe they’re weaker than what people think. I don’t know if you saw the video of an Israeli soldier trying to climb over a wall, which went viral – and many ridiculed the invincibility of the Israeli army.

The other matter at hand over here is the fact - that many don’t realize – that many Israeli settlers, they’re extremist settlers. This type of crime and actually violence against Palestinians is something they advocate - from the very beginning even when their children are born and the way they’re taught at school.

Tell us a little about that if you can and why that is advocated amongst Israeli extremist settlers and how that’s common?

Catron: Well, this is a part of the settlement culture in the West Bank.

It’s been repeatedly denounced especially in recent years by bodies as diverse as the United Nations and the United States for that matter – increasing numbers of world governments have taken notice of settlers escalating crimes against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

Many of these, called ‘price-tag’ attacks, are in retaliation for actions actually by the Israeli government. When the Israeli government takes action to dismantle one of the smaller settlements that it has not permitted, settlers will in turn retaliate against Palestinian civilians by attacks on them or their property.

And the culture of settler violence is something that’s been escalating, I’m told, in particular this year and we’ve seen it of course most recently last night with the apparent kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdair in East Jerusalem. 

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