Fears of attacks by far-right Jewish extremists have prompted Palestinians living in the West Bank to organise volunteer night patrols in a number of villages.
Tensions have been heightened since the deaths of an 18-month -old toddler and his father in an arson attack on their home in the West Bank at the end of July.
Extremist Jewish militants are suspected of having been behind the attack.
A Reuters news crew accompanied one of the patrols in the village of Qusra. A member of the team explained the idea to the reporters.
“When we see the Jewish settlers trying to enter the village we call the head of the village council or the members, or whoever is available. Or we call the Imam of the mosque to ask him to call on all our people to come to the scene.”
“The number of members in a team might be 7, 17 or 40”, explained the head of Qusra village council, Abed al-Atheim Adi. “It depends on who is available to defend the village and provide security to the people. These teams don’t receive support or funding from anyone.”
The village vigilantes pose a dilemma for the Palestinian Authority, which coordinates West Bank security with Israel. However the teams hope the Authority will decide to support them.
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