When West Bank settlers shoot at unarmed Palestinians while Israeli soldiers look on without intervening, that's a story--especially when one of the Palestinians suffers a head wound. So it's natural that this weekend's conflict near the Palestinian village of Asira al-Qibliya has been covered widely--in 972, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Haaretz, the Daily Dish, and elsewhere. Still, it's important to appreciate how unsurprising this story really is, and how unexceptional its fundamentals are.
The essential mission of Israeli soldiers stationed in the West Bank is to protect settlers against Palestinians. The job of protecting Palestinians against settlers falls to a separate Israeli police force that, as it happens, is massively understaffed. This imbalance--ample troops who are de facto allies of the settlers, dinky police force that could in theory help Palestinians but never seems to be around--is a recipe for the harassment of Palestinians and worse.
This helps explain why settlers have repeatedly, with their impunity all but guaranteed, burned or cut down the olive trees of Palestinian farmers. And it helps explain why some settlers apparently feel comfortable shooting at Palestinians while Israeli soldiers are a few feet away. All of this notwithstanding the fact that the settlers live in the West Bank in violation of international law, whereas the Palestinians are there lawfully.