A series of clashes in Samaria on Tuesday lead to the near lynching of 14 young Jewish vandals at the hands of an angry Palestinian mob. The Jewish youths' lives were saved by local Palestinian elders.
The day's violence began when Israeli security forces uprooted two Jewish olive groves that had been planted illegally near the Jewish community of Esh Kodesh.
A short time later, the 14 masked Jewish youth set out for a nearby Palestinian village, presumably to carry out another "price tag" reprisal. Groups such as this one insist that every time the Israeli authorities act against the Jewish settlement enterprise, they will respond by further inflaming the situation with acts of vandalism against Arabs.
Some reports suggested the youths also threw stones at Palestinian farmers, but that could not be verified.
What is known is that upon reaching the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Kosra, the youths were themselves attacked and pushed into an abandoned construction site, where Palestinian men proceeded to bind and beat them.
It is widely believed that the youths would have died horribly had elders from Kusra and other nearby village not intervened and protected the Jews from further violence. The elders called the Israeli army and then negotiated the release of the youths.
A local Palestinian resident told Israeli media that the next time Jewish youths dare to enter the area, "they won't leave alive."
Israeli police placed the youth under detention pending an investigation. Dani Dayan, a senior leader in the Jewish settlement movement, blasted the Jewish youth for their provocative actions.
"I am tired of the fools who think the Land of Israel can be gained through the use of clubs, matchboxes and provocations," he wrote. "I am tired of the masked Jewish bullies who hurt soldiers, policemen and innocent Arabs. I am tired of irresponsible cads who do bad and stupid things."
While very few in Israel would defend the actions of the "price tag" assailants, the incident did leave many wondering how the world would respond if the situation had been reversed, if Israeli Jewish civilians were to nearly lynch a group of young Arab vandals...