Settlers attack German parliamentarians visiting Hebron, soldiers stood by
A group of fundamental Jewish settlers attacked on Friday German parliamentarians visiting the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The German Foreign Ministry said that it contacted the office of Israel’s Prime Minister demanding an explanation to why the army did not attempt to protect the visiting delegates.
A spokesperson of the German Foreign Ministry described this incident as “unfortunate” and did not comment on what sorts of threats were voiced by the settlers against the delegates.
He added that he personally spoke to two members of the delegate and that they told him the Israeli soldiers did not even attempt to protect them or to stop the settlers.
The incident occurred when a group of Jewish settlers in Hebron insulted and threatened a visiting German parliamentary delegation touring the West Bank city on Thursday.
The German embassy in Tel Aviv protested to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and stated that soldiers and policemen did not do anything to stop the settlers.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the army decided not to comment on the incident, but the Israeli embassy on Berlin “issued an apology”.
Haaretz added that seven members of the Law Committee of the German Parliament visited Hebron, and toured in the center of the city were the army is intensively deployed as hundreds of settlers live there.
According to Haaretz, the settlers first cursed the legislators, and then insulted and threatened them.
The delegates stated that the army did not show any interest to intervene and could not guarantee their safety.
The visiting legislators were headed by Green Party deputy, Jerzy Montag, head of the German-Israeli parliamentary group. Montag said that the settlers swore at them and threatened them in addition to calling them “Nazis”.
He added that the settlers poured paint on the delegates’ cars. The delegates then decided to end their visit and left the city.
Haaretz said that the Israeli ambassador in Germany, Yoram Ben-Zeev, phoned the legislators and expressed his regret over the incident.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that it is investigating the incident adding that this incident is not the first occurrence.
A spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry said that the delegation did not coordinate the visit with the Israeli police. But the visiting diplomats said that the Israeli embassy in Berlin was given complete details of the visit before the delegates arrived in the country.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson added that Israel is “examining the circumstances of the incident”, especially since this is not a single occurrence of such attacks, and also said that “we can only regret it, especially since these delegates are great friends of Israel”, Haaretz reported.
Haaretz also said that spokesperson of Hebron settlers, Noam Arnon, said that he does not support such attacks, but added that “one must take into consideration that the delegates were not innocent tourists”.
Arnon added that the delegates were accompanied by an Israeli left wing group “which incites against the settlers and calls for expelling them from Hebron”.
He also claimed that this group insults Israel and its army, adding this visit “is like tours of the National Jewish Front he used to lead in Arab villages", Haaretz reported.
Israeli settlers in Hebron repeatedly attacked international delegates and volunteers, including repeated attacks against international observers and members of the Christian Peacemaker Teams.
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