Israeli settlers rampaged through the West Bank today, attacking Palestinian laborers, chopping down olive trees and burning fields. Six Palestinians were injured when the settlers attacked their truck. The settlers were reportedly infuriated by President Obama’s calls to halt settlement growth.
Six of the settlers were arrested by army forces, including a member of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). That MP, Michael Ben-Ari, is a member of the pro-settler National Union party and claims he was assaulted by the security forces.
Ben-Ari was a former member of the banned Kach Party, founded by Orthodox rabbi Meir Kahane. The party was banned when an Israeli court ruled it was “manifestly racist,” as one of its tenets was that Israel should not allow Arabs to have citizenship.
Ben-Ari has condemned his arrest, saying it violated the legal immunities enjoyed by members of the Knesset. The military said the MP was attempting to provoke the soldiers and that it had to arrest him to “clear the riots in the area.”