Footage of the settlers surrounded by an angry crowd led the TV news in Israel that day, with commentators saying serious bloodshed was averted by Palestinians who shielded the settlers.
Seven Israelis were questioned and placed under house arrest, police said. Israeli defence minister Moshe Yaalon warned he would show zero tolerance, but Palestinians are sceptical.
So far there have been at least two cases of vandalism in apparent response to the Qusra incident. Today residents of a village in the area reported that the door of a mosque was set on fire and graffiti read “Blood for blood, Qusra.”
Settlers have damaged hundreds of trees in Qusra, killed 18 sheep, torched six cars and set fire to a mosque in dozens of attacks, said mayor Abdel Azim Wadi. The village has lost half its lands to settlements.
The mayor said Israeli soldiers either stand by during settler attacks or fire tear gas, rubber bullets and occasionally live rounds at Palestinians if the attacks escalate into stone-throwing clashes. A Qusra man was killed by army fire and dozens were wounded by settlers and soldiers, he said.
Palestinians say “price tag” is part of Israel’s policy of cementing control over the West Bank, the largest of three war-won areas the Palestinians want for a state. They note that Israel has been providing practical support for outposts even though they were set up without formal government permission.