The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, July 29, 2002  

Who is in control? Who will be held accountable?

Prairie-style justice -- crowds running amok, seeking vigilante-style vengeance and apparently with no fear of accountability -- continues unabated on the West Bank this week.

In the latest incident a 14-year-old Palestinian girl was killed and an eight-year-old boy stabbed as an estimated 4,000 Hebron settlers attending the funeral of 21-year-old Elazar Leibovitz (killed during yet another ambush targeting Israelis last week) went on a rampage through the town, throwing rocks, shooting at and burning Palestinian buildings, and breaking into homes, according to a report by Amos Harel in today’s Ha’aretz Daily (“Hebron Settlers Riot, Kill Palestinian Girl, 14”).

“According to settlers, they were only protecting themselves against rock-throwing by Palestinians, who were placed under curfew by the authorities before the funeral to prevent friction,” according to Ha’aretz.

Others on the scene offered a far different account.

“Eyewitnesses, including foreign press photographers on the scene, reported that the incitement during the funeral march had quickly turned into rock-throwing and a rampage through the open market, where settlers overturned stalls and burned a house,” the report continues. “In the chaos, extensive shooting took place, with Israel Defense Forces troops, deployed in large numbers, firing into the air and settlers shooting at buildings. The IDF said no Palestinians had been shooting.”

Fatally shot in the head was Nizin Jamjoum, 14, who was on the balcony of her home. Her brother, Marwan Jamjoun, 26, was injured along with at least six other Palestinians, including eight-year-old Ahmed Natcha, “who was stabbed when a group of settlers broke into his home and smashed furniture.”

Israeli Settlers Throwing Stones and Shooting
at Palestinian Homes in Hebron Yesterday

“The Jewish Community Council in Hebron expressed regret over any injury to police,” Harel reports, the council apparently unfazed by the death and injuries to the local Palestinian population.

Michael Kleiner, a member of the Knesset from the Herut Party told the paper: “[I]f the government doesn’t achieve a quick military victory, more and more frustrated Jews will take matters into their own hands.”

Although the police have ordered an inquiry into why the rioting was not prevented and the IDF “is also investigating,” according to Harel, no mention was made of whether authorities are seeking the settlers responsible for killing Jamjoum or stabbing Natcha. And so far at least, no outrage over whether the Israeli government can control its people and prevent such attacks in the future.

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