Palestinian villagers briefly detained and beat up a group of Jewish settlers on Tuesday, accusing them of having attacked local farmers attending their fields in the West Bank.
The incident – disputed by the settlers – reflects the increased tensions between the two communities since peace negotiations were revived.
Mahmood Tobasi, a Palestinian farmer from the nearby village of Jalud described what happened:
“I was working on my land along with my tractor driver and we sat down to eat and have lunch. Suddenly around 30 (Jewish) settlers came towards us. If we hadn’t identified ourselves they would have killed us. We ran away and we started shouting and asking for help.”
Eventually the injured settlers were handed over to Israeli troops.
Last month Israel announced plans to build up to 2000 new settler homes. Palestinians have warned repeatedly that such moves destroy the fragile US-brokered peace talks that resumed in July after a three-year hiatus.