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About Qusra

Qusra (Arabic: قُصرة‎) is an Arab village in the Nablus Governorate in the northern West Bank, located 28 kilometers Southeast ofNablus. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the town had 674 households with a population of 4,377 inhabitants in 2007.[2]

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords of 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization, Qusra is located in Area “C”under full Israeli civil and security control.[3]

The Israeli outpost settlement of Esh Kodesh (founded 1999) is located near the village of Qusra.

February 2013 incidents

On the night of February 21, Arab residents of Qusra reduced to directed attacks by settlers on their village. The action was intended to undermine the Jewish residents nearby, that living in the Israeli villages beside them. During the night, six cars torched by Arabs (of the village itself). The Arabs residents complained about the “massive assault” of Jewish settlers while shooting on their homes and setting cars on fire.

Senior Palestinian Authority, Ghassan Douglas, told the news agencys that the settlers attacked the village while shooting and setting on fire six cars. He said that large forcess of the IDF arrived at the scene, separated the sides.

IDF expressed at the same day of occurrence, doubts about the case, and in a Channel 7 reporter conducted with military officials that told “we can not confirm the existence of such an incident.”

A week after the report, the SJ District Police publishes the findings of the investigation, which showed that “nationalist crime event” fabricated “and was not at all.” Read Channel 7 report.

September 2011 incidents

See also: Al-Nurayn Mosque
On the night of September 4-5, 2011, a group of presumably Israeli settlers entered the village at 3 a.m., vandalised the village’s Al-Nurayn mosque and tried to set it on fire.[4] They smashed windows, rolled burning tyres inside, and wrote “Muhammad is a pig” in Hebrew on its wall.[3] The attack on the mosque came shortly after Israeli police officers had destroyed three illegal structures in the settlement outpost of Migron north of Jerusalem.[4] According to Agence France Press, the graffiti also included a Star of David, and the name “Migron”.[5] The attack, not the first of its kind,[6] is viewed as part of the policy called “price tag” followed by a radical segment among the settlers, in which they respond to attempts by the Israeli security forces to demolish unauthorized Jewish settlements with attacks on Palestinians.[3]

The Palestinian Authority condemned the attack and called on the Middle East Quartet to get involved.[4] The Israeli government also condemned the attack, and has instructed its authorities to “bring those responsible to justice,” and urged all sides to avoid the potential for escalation.[7]

The European Union representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton issued a statement which strongly condemned the attack on the mosque, stating: “These provocations seriously undermine efforts to build the necessary trust for a comprehensive peace in the region; […] attacks against places of worship undermine the freedom of religion or belief which is a fundamental human right,” calling on Israeli authorities “to investigate the attack, bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent such attacks happening again.”[4] The United States Department of State also strongly condemned the “dangerous and provocative attacks” on the mosque and called on those responsible to be arrested and “subject to the full force of the law”.[7]

Qusra lies outside the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority and depends on the Israeli military for protection, and the villagers have no weapons.[8] They organised a neighborhood watch with 15 to 20 volunteers, who patrol nightly. In case of trouble, the volunteers have instructions to phone the governor of Nablus who would contact the Israeli army. According to Qusra mayor Hani Abu Murad, the patrol scared off settlers who had approached the village a few days after the mosque was defaced.[9]

On September 23, 2011, a group of about a dozen settlers from a nearby outpost approached Qusra,[8] and a warning was announced from the mosque speakers. A large group from Qusra confronted the settlers, and threw stones, after which Israel Defense Forces (IDF) arrived, protecting the settlers.[10] The IDF first fired tear gas, then live rounds, killing one man, identified as Essam Kamal Badran, 35, by Qusra mayor Abu Murad, according to Haaretz.[1] A statement from the IDF confirmed its troops had used live fire against the Palestinians after rocks were thrown at security personnel, and said it was working with Palestinian security officials to investigate.[10]

The incident received widespread publicity as it occurred just hours before Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas took the podium at the U.N. General Assembly, making his quest for recognition of a Palestinian state.[11]


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