VIDEO: Settlers tie Palestinian man to phone pole and beat him
Leftist group says settlers accused 31-year-old of setting field ablaze near their homes in southern Hebron.
A group of West Bank settlers on Saturday beat a 31-year-old Palestinian man in the southern Hebron Hills, after having tied him to a telephone pole.
Left-wing activists later videoed a settler kicking Madahat Abu-Kirash, the victim, as he remained tied up and was surrounded by Israeli security forces. The soldiers subsequently removed the settler from the scene.
Hebron police opened an investigation into the incident after Abu-Kirash submitted a complaint, claiming that he had been beaten all over his body.
According to the left-wing organization Ta'ayush, whose members were close to the scene of the assault and witnessed part of it, the incident began when residents of the settlement of Asael accused Abu-Kirash of setting a field alight a few hundred meters away from their homes.
Abu-Kirash, a teacher, told the settlers in response that he had come to perform agricultural work on land he owns. He denied any connection to the fire.
Ta'ayush members said that the Palestinian's explanation was of no avail, and the settlers proceeded to forcibly take him to the bounds of the settlement, where they tied him up and beat him.
IDF troops who were called to the area gave him medical treatment on the spot, after which a Red Crescent ambulance took him to a hospital. Abu-Kirash later returned to his home from the hospital.
"When we arrived at the scene there were already lots of the army's troops. I saw a settler approach him and kick him, as he was tied to the pole... [Abu-Kirash's] whole body was bound up, I saw they bandaged a head wound and he was half unconscious," said a Ta'ayush activist who was present during the incident.
The chairperson of the South Hebron hills regional council, Zviki Bar-Hai told Haaretz that those responsible for starting the fire and setting the nearby fields ablaze were not from the area, rather they were either Palestinians or extreme left-wing activists.
Bar-Hai claims he demanded that the police and army investigate what happened. "But what is clear," he said "is that occasionally on Shabbat these provocateurs instigate commotion, just last week they called IDF soldiers Nazis."
According to sources within the settler community, Palestinians came close to Asael and began burning fields. They also said that they would investigate the complaints Abu-Kirash submitted.
"Asael men summoned the police and army, and meanwhile they managed to catch the man responsible for lighting the fire, tied him and then called for the army," the sources said.
A month ago, the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem released a video which it said showed the start of an assault on Palestinian farmers by masked, stick-wielding Israeli settlers.