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Scene of attack
Photo: EPA
Settlers vow to return to Qusra after violent incident
Four days after attack on bar mitzvah hike near Qusra, West Bank, right-wing activists plan follow-up hike, regardless of military authorization; 'We don’t need permission to tour the land of Israel.'

Four days after the incident in which a group of boys on a Bar Mitzvah hike were attacked by a stone-throwing mob near the Palestinian village of Qusra, activists of the far-right Otzma Yehudit Party are planning an expedition to the area.

 

 

Among those set to participate are former Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari and far-right activist Baruch Marzel. Members of Otzma Yehudit stated that the motive for the expedition is to display a Jewish presence at the location and they have no intention of requesting authorization from the military, only to notify them of the trip.

 

Emergency services outside Qusra (Photo: EPA)
Emergency services outside Qusra (Photo: EPA)

 

This will be the second time that settlers are returning to the site of the incident. On Friday, some youth from the settlement of Yitzhar visited the area and even danced near the cave where the children were attacked.

 

"We aren’t afraid and we don’t need permission to tour the land of Israel," said a message publicized by Otzma Yehudit. "In response to the children's lynching near Qusra, and the IDF Spokesperson's announcement that all hikes in Judea and Samaria require authorization, we will are arranging a hike tomorrow (Monday) to the cave in which the children hid. We will update the military but we will not ask for permission. We are mindful of the army's failings during the incident. We will demonstrate a Jewish presence at the site and we will let everyone know that the area will become a preferred destination for trips."

 

Injured being treated by medics near Qusra (Photo: EPA)
Injured being treated by medics near Qusra (Photo: EPA)

 

"The abandonment of the Bar Mitzvah children is an ongoing failure of the defense establishment, since the abandonment of Madhat Yusuf (A Druze soldier killed in 2000 at Joseph's tomb near Nablus) by those who have chosen to surrender to terrorism. We want to change the direction and move from defeat to victory," said Doctor Ben-Ari. 

 

"We do not need to justify walking around our country. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has to deal with the rioters, not the Jews."

 

"The fact that instead of discussing the army's failures and the massacre that was almost done to the children on the trip they are demanding of us to fight to obtain permission to travel in the center of the country. Qusra should become a symbol of what happens to an enemy that harms children, so that deterrence will return to Israel," added Baruch Marzel.

 

Settlers and Palestinians clash (Photo: EPA)
Settlers and Palestinians clash (Photo: EPA)

 

Last Thursday, during a bar mitzvah excursion taken by several settlers, they encountered dozens of Palestinians throwing stones at them. One of the parents serving as escorts fired on and killed a Palestinian in the skirmish.

 

After the incident, the father who shot was interrogated on suspicion of causing death by negligence and released on bail. Anger has soared among the settlers, largely directed against the police for interrogating the shooter.

 

The crowd that witnessed the attack have maintained that he acted as expected and his actions were carried out to protect the children.

 

The mothers of the children have also emphasized the severity of the attack, inisisting that without the decisive response, the incident would have ended with injury or worse to the chidlren.

 

Qusra incident (Photo: EPA)
Qusra incident (Photo: EPA)

 

"My son came home traumatized, he said: 'mom, we were about to die.' It's a disgrace that the army and the police treat these heroes who saved the children as criminals. Distorting the facts and turning the victim into the attacker," said Naomi Ofen, whose son was among those attacked.

 

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman posted on Facebook after the incident: "The use of weapons for self-defense is a moral value which the law in every democratic regime protects"

 

Yossi Dagan, Head of the Samaria Regional Council, announced that he will present certificates of honor to the parents who protected the children. "These are heroes who must be thanked, for protecting the children with their bodies and doing all that was necessary to bring them home safely."

 

Dagan accompanied the parents to the police station and waited with them in the hospital. He called for "establishing an investigative unit to catch the terrorists from Qusra who attempted to lynch the children."

 

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