(VIdeo) - Clashes between settlers and Palestinians in the northern West Bank have become a matter of routine, but last weekend IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene decided not to intervene – at least until the Palestinians began rioting.
The incident occurred on Saturday, after a group of settlers arrived at an area located between the settlement of Itzhar and the Palestinian villages of Asira al-Qibliya and Urif.
The settlers claimed they were trying to prevent the Palestinians from penetrating into the settlement on the eve of Shabbat.
In a video filmed by a Palestinian and handed over to human rights Organization B'Tselem, the settlers, some masked, are seen pelting stones toward the village vicinity. Minutes later, an IDF force arrives at the scene, but as the video shows – the soldiers opt to stand aside and not intervene.
One of the soldiers is shown standing alongside the settlers while they hurl stones, without trying to stop them or push them back.
Shortly afterwards, the Palestinians respond by throwing stones back at the settlers, prompting the soldiers to intervene.
'Blood libel against Jews'The soldiers are shown approaching the Palestinian crowd, while gunshots are heard in the background, and one soldier can be seen shooting in the air.
The IDF force was also filmed hurling gas grenades at the Palestinians in an attempt to disperse the crowds.
Watch settlers, Palestinians clash (Video courtesy of B'Tselem)
Only after over an hour of confrontation, the settlers dispersed and walked back to Itzhar.
B'Tselem stated in response that they have filed a complaint with the police, and asked the IDF to investigate why the soldiers did not enforce the law on the settlers.
The organization stressed that they have approached different elements within the security establishment in the past and demanded to clarify to the soldiers that their duty was to protect the Palestinians from settlers' violence and detain the assailants until the police arrives at the scene.
A spokesperson for Itzhar commented on the video, calling it a "blood libel against the Jews, ahead of Passover." According to the spokesperson, "On Shabbat night, the IDF spotted two terrorists from the village of Asira trying to infiltrate into Itzhar.
"Two years ago a terrorist from the same village tried to stab a boy in Itzhar and burned down one of the family houses," he said.
"In addition, two security officers from Itzhar were murdered next to the village a few years ago. The attempted attack on Itzhar has a similar potential to the massacre in Itamar a month ago.
"We are not waiting for horror images to justify an assault on terrorists' nests in the Samaria villages," he added.
"How typical for B'Tselem and their patrons in the European Union to provide a current significance to the blood libels against the Jews just ahead of the Passover holiday," the spokesperson noted.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated in response that "unfortunately, B'Tselem organization once again decided to prevent the IDF from investigating the incident and responding accordingly.
"The organization spreads these videos to the media on purpose, so that they are published before the IDF has a chance to examine the claims and the videos," it was stated.
Ronen Medzini contributed to this report.
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