—Israeli Minister describes settler violence as ‘terrorism’
GAZA: Palestine called for the formation of an international commission to investigate massacres committed by Israel in the Palestinian village of Tantura in 1948.
The call came after Israeli daily Haaretz reported the discovery of a mass grave in Tantura village of Palestinians massacred by Zionist gangs in 1948.
Palestinians say multiple massacres of Palestinians by Zionist gangs took place in Palestinian villages during the 1948 war in a bid to forcefully expel Palestinians from their homes and land, a tragedy Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” or “Catastrophe.”
“The crimes of the occupation did not stop at the year 1948, but are still continuing in a racist and hateful manner, which calls for the opening of investigations into these crimes,” the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The statement continued, “What is required is a broad international campaign to bring justice to the Palestinian victims and to punish Israeli officials and the official Israeli institution that continues to conceal and cover up the ugliness of these crimes and massacres.”
In its report, Haaretz said Israeli officers “of the 1948 battle at Tantura village (have) finally come clean about the mass killing of Arabs that took place after the village’s surrender.”
It added that a documentary titled “Tantura” is due to be aired online next week, noting that testimonies of Israeli soldiers who participated in the massacre will also be featured.
Haaretz said the mass grave of at least 200 Palestinian bodies buried after their execution was located under the Dor Beach parking lot.
The massacre of Tantura took place on the night of May 22-23, 1948, according to Palestinian historians.
Meanwhile, sraeli Public Security Minister Omer Barlev on Sunday labeled the settler attacks against Palestinians as “actions of a terrorist organization.”
Barlev was referring to settler assaults on Friday against activists near the Burin village in the occupied West Bank, where 10 activists were injured, including four Israelis.
The violence was committed “by a terrorist group that acts together and harmed Israeli citizens who came to demonstrate in the area,” Barlev told the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation.
Israeli forces came late to the scene as “the terrorists were no longer there and have disappeared,” Barlev said, in reference to the Israeli settlers who escaped from the area before the arrival of Israeli forces.
Barlev was placed under heavy security protection on Dec. 27 after receiving death threats.
In recent months, settlers across the occupied territories stepped up their attacks against Palestinians and their properties. The attacks were carried out in plain view of the Israeli forces.
Israeli and Palestinian estimates indicate there are about 650,000 settlers living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts in the West Bank, including in occupied Jerusalem.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements in occupied territories are considered illegal.