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Video: Israeli guard and settler join forces in West Bank clash

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TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli rights group released a video on Friday that appears to show an Israeli security guard and a Jewish settler joining forces in a clash with Palestinian farmers in the occupied West Bank, with the settler throwing a grenade deafening after the guard seems to have shown him where to aim.

The video, provided by rights group Yesh Din, was filmed during a confrontation between masked Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the northern West Bank, an area that has seen unrest in recent months over protests. Israeli military raids and Palestinian fire.

Critics have long accused the Israeli military and defense establishment of having uncomfortably close ties to settlers. The Ministry of Defense pays the salaries of the colony guards, and many senior commanders live in the colonies. Soldiers are often seen standing as settlers attack Palestinians or their property. This week, settlers rampaging through the northern West Bank sprayed several soldiers as they tried to disperse them.

“We are used to seeing soldiers doing nothing to stop the settlers, but in recent years we have seen active cooperation between them,” said Ziv Stahl, executive director of Yesh Din.

In the video, a settler is seen walking down a hill and handing what appears to be two stun grenades to the security guard. The guard then points in the direction of what appears to be the Palestinians, who are offscreen, and the settler throws the stun grenade in that direction. The guard points again and the settler throws the second stun grenade.

Security guards monitor settlements throughout the West Bank and are expected to stand by until soldiers or police arrive.

Other videos of the clash provided by Yesh Din also show soldiers standing there as masked settlers throw stones. The videos do not show the Palestinians.

The Israeli military said the incident and the guard’s behavior were being investigated.

The army said Palestinians and settlers were throwing stones. He said the uniformed person seen in the video is not a soldier but rather a security guard whose salary is paid by the Israeli Defense Ministry and who is appointed by a regional military officer.

The army said the settlement guards are not usually in uniform, but the guard in the video was wearing what appears to be Israeli military attire. He has a helmet and is armed, and also wears a black face covering that obscures half of his face.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war, along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. More than 500,000 people now live in some 130 settlements across the West Bank.

Associated Press writer Fares Akram contributed to this report from Hamilton, Ontario.

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