Two Israeli settlers who wandered into the village of Halhul, near Hebron, were escorted home by Palestinian security guards on Thursday. Due to the fact that the only time that Israeli settlers enter Halhul and other nearby villages is to attack Palestinians, there was some concern among villagers that the two men were there to commit acts of violence.But they were apparently just lost, and the Palestinian Authority security guards moved in to ensure their safe return to their settlement, which was constructed in violation of both Israeli and international law on Palestinian land.
Local Palestinians pointed out that if a Palestinian accidentally enters a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, they are not treated with such courtesy. Instead, they are arrested, interrogated and often beaten.
Due to Israeli segregation laws, Israelis are not allowed to enter any Palestinian areas (except as soldiers working with the Israeli military occupation), and Palestinians are not allowed to enter any Israeli areas.
Israeli settlers often violate these laws, particularly in the Hebron area, in order to harass and attack Palestinian civilians. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which documents Israeli military and settler attacks, recently issued a report warning of an escalation of these attacks under the new Israeli government, which coincide with statements by the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in which he refused to stop settlement activities in the West Bank.