Israeli Settler Indicted for Shooting Palestinian Man in the West Bank

Charges say shooting took place during confrontation with Palestinian farmers in village of Bidiya. Eyewitness says group of settlers had been assaulting Palestinians and telling them to stay away from ‘Jewish land’

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Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, July 2020.
Palestinian farmers in the West Bank, July 2020. Credit: Moti Milrod
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Israeli prosecutors have indicted an Israeli resident of the settlement of Dolev for shooting and wounding a Palestinian man two months ago.

Eitan Zeev was charged on Sunday with causing serious injury under aggravated circumstances in a shooting which occurred over a dispute over farmland with residents of the West Bank village of Bidiya.

The charges say Zeev came with six other people to work on a plot of land. Dozens of Palestinian men tried to block a path to the field and when Zeev asked them to move “a tumult ensued.”

Zeev tried to get the Palestinian men to leave by firing his pistol, according to the charge sheet. One of the men stood in front of him and Zeev shot him near his ear, hitting a man who stood behind him in the pelvic area. The wounded man had emergency surgery and was hospitalized for 12 days.

Dr. Majdi Issa, a witness from Bidiya, said the Palestinians went there to talk to the settlers and didn’t assault them. The settlers, in turn, said the Palestinian men threw rocks at them and assaulted them physically.

Issa said he was involved in a similar incident in the area a few days beforehand. He said he had been walking with a friend and saw men wearing yarmulkas leaving an olive grove, and then they shot into the air and told them to stop in their tracks. Issa said he and his friend got out of the car and started to run away but the assailants hit them and said they should tell people in their village not to come to these fields because it was “Jewish land.”

“They said the entire area is theirs but nobody in the village sold them any land,” Issa said.

The court on Sunday rejected prosecutors’ requests to impose restrictions against Zeev pending the results of the trial. Prosecutors said other people involved in the case were questioned and no decision has yet been made regarding whether they should be charged.

The settler group “Protecting the Farmers” said in response that the indictment “exposes farmers to terrorism. The indictment explains the great danger the farmers were in and yet charges Eitan but not any of the Arabs.”

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