Palestinians Locked Down as Settlers Jog On Major Palestinian Highway
Today at approximately 12 noon, settlers from the Karmei Tsur settlement between the Palestinian villages of Beit Ommar and Halhul, blocked Route 60, the main highway between Jerusalem and Hebron, used by settlers as well as Palestinians. They began attacking Palestinian cars on the road, jumping in front of them and forcing them to stop before damaging the vehicles and in at least 5 cases, opening the car doors and beating the Palestinians inside. Shortly afterward, scores of Israeli military and civilian police arrived to escort over 100 Jewish settlers down the highway in a march/jog. The entrance of Beit Ommar was completely closed to vehicle and pedestrian traffic, trapping the residents of Beit Ommar, Saffa, and Sourif inside (a total of nearly 30,000 people). Route 60 was blocked for more than an hour between Halhul and Beit Ommar. One group of settlers marched down the street carrying an Israeli flag, followed by a truck with a sound system blasting music interspersed with insults against arabs. After the truck, another group of more than 50 individuals between the ages of 15-50, many in sports shorts, were jogging down the street as the Israeli military and police cheered them on (while ignoring complaints against the settlers for attacking the Palestinian civilians earlier). In reportedly the most bizarre site, several settlers were seen jogging with running shorts and their M-16 rifles slung across their backs.
This was clearly an overt assertion both of the settlers’ claim to remain in the West Bank (Karmei Tsur is a settlement that most believe would have to be dismantled in any “two-state solution”), as well as the Israeli military’s complete support for their unlawful behavior and presence.