Civil and Human Rights

Human Rights Worker Protects 'Price Tag' Settlers

16 January 2014 By New Israel Fund

Settlers who entered the village of Qusra
and were caught are transferred
to the army by Palestinians
Photo: Zakariya Sedde

Zakariya Sedde, a field worker for NIF grantee Rabbis for Human Rights, played a key role in preventing a tragic outcome when a group of settlers tried to carry out a Price Tag attack in the Palestinian village of Qusra. The settler youth, some of whom were masked, vandalized 15 olive trees and attacked a farmer. Sedde, along with a Palestinian field worker from Yesh Din and a Palestinian Authority representative, rushed to the scene and helped to stop the fighting between the two groups.

When asked about what he did, Sedde is nonchalant: "I do my work. It's holy work. A human being is a human being. I do my work because of my principles."

Sedde also reveals that the Palestinians who broke up the fighting initially wanted to turn the settlers over to the police and not to IDF officials. "They were afraid that the army wouldn't detain them," he explains. "Out of 14 settlers we hear that only four were detained…As long as the punishment is light, they will continue to attack."

Sedde's views are backed up by a new report on Price Tag violence by NIF grantee the Council for Peace and Security. The report concludes: "Price Tag actions are liable to start a large-scale fire in the entire region, but no one is lifting a finger [to avert this outcome]. We are not dealing with errant weeds…but rather with a body with an organized structure, communication networks, planning and training.Its purpose: to threaten the regime against doing any damage to the settlement enterprise.

The more time that passes, the greater the number of price tag activists grows – which jeopardizes the stability in the entire area…The people responsible for enforcement are leery that a direct clash with the settlers could undermine their own professional advancement. The result: a Wild West atmosphere that stems from the desire of all the authorities to avoid friction with the settlers."

Given this context, Sedde's actions, and particularly the humble way in which he explains what he did, are worthy of the highest praise.