Jewish settlers held, beaten by villagers

Several Jewish residents of a West Bank outpost were turned over to the Israeli military after being held and beaten by Palestinians who said they were trespassing.

The Israel Defense Forces negotiated the return of eight to 13 settlers from Esh Kodesh after their capture Jan. 6, according to reports. The Palestinians from the village of Qusr said the settlers were on their land to uproot olive trees.

The Jewish settlers reportedly were surrounded by Palestinians who held them in a home under construction for several hours, during which time the Palestinians allegedly beat them.

The outpost residents allegedly ap-proached Qusr, which is located near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, to carry out a “price tag” attack in response to the uprooting that morning of an olive grove planted by Jews near the outpost. The Israeli Civil Administration uprooted the grove because it was planted on Palestinian land.

“Price tag” refers to the strategy that extremist settlers have adopted to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or for Palestinian attacks on Jews.

The settlers say they were simply on a hike. — jta