Aron Katzov, spokesman of the Samarian community Esh Kodesh, spoke to Arutz Sheva Friday about the attempted lynching of 25 Jewish residents of the region by Arab residents of Kusra this Tuesday. His testimony reveals how IDF action was partially responsible for bringing about the attack.
Katzov reports that despite claims to the contrary in the media, which relied on Arab sources saying the Jews had entered Kusra to carry out "price tag" vandalism, the Jews were in fact touring the hills far from the Arab village when they were attacked.
As they were near the ruins of a village built by Shimon Bar-Giora over 2,000 years ago, Katzov relates that Arabs surrounded them on trucks, and during a harrowing 2 hours attacked and chased them around the hills towards the village, trying to kill them.
The version of events confirms the testimony of Pinhasi Brown, one of the men who was attacked, who said "we left at midday from Esh Kodesh to the direction of the Hayovel neighborhood in Eli, and on the way we stopped in ancient Khirba."
Due to the media spin of the event, the attacked Jews have been villified as "price tag" vandals, as extreme left group Peace Now called for the demolition of Esh Kodesh following the attack. Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir previously slammed the media "slander" of the Jews.
Criticism has come from the right as well. Dani Dayan, the chief foreign envoy for the Yesha Council, attacked the men for being what he called "fools" in entering Kusra, which Katzov points out they never did.
The Esh Kodesh spokesmen said he had spoken to one of the right-wing leaders who criticized the group, and after explaining the event was told "if i had known what really happened I would not have said what I said."
Origins of the attack - IDF destruction of Jewish land
Katzov confirmed reports that the origins of the Arab attack appear to lie in the destruction of Jewish vineyards earlier in the day.
"The army came and uprooted about 20 dunam, a couple hundred olive trees that were about 6 years old and gave fruit," reported Katzov, himself an officer in the IDF reserves. The destruction came despite the fact that "the army and the courts already ruled that it's not Palestinian land."
The reason for the destruction is the "disruptive use order," which Katzov calls a "weird law."
Only in Judea and Samaria "one person, the legal adviser of a part in the army, can decide on any part of land that belongs to Jews, and only Jews, to uproot, even if there's no one else that says it's their land," explains Katzov, adding that they weren't even informed of the decision before the destruction.
Katzov reports that after every destruction emboldened Arabs come to attack Jewish property, bragging on Facebook that the army is giving them the land. Katzov recalls having to defend the fence of his vineyard from one such attack.
Residents of Esh Kodesh have reported previous attacks originating in Kusra, including a mob attack in 2012 in which hundreds of Arab men surrounded the village screaming "slaughter the Jews."