Masked Israelis Attack Activists Accompanying Palestinian Farmers in West Bank

Two female activists from abroad and three from the Israeli-Palestinian group Ta'ayush were beaten in the South Hebron Hills.

Masked youths attacking members of the NGO Ta'ayush and colleagues from abroad, the South Hebron Hills, January 7, 2017.

A group of masked Israelis, some of them minors, attacked three activists of the NGO Ta’ayush and two female volunteers from abroad who were accompanying Palestinians plowing in the South Hebron Hills, video of the event shows.

On Saturday, the plowing had just been completed and the five activists were walking back to the village of Al-Tawani on a road that passes near the Havat Ma’on outpost. When they were a few hundred meters from the settlement, more than 10 Israelis followed close by before throwing stones at them and punching them.

The assailants also grabbed a camera from one of the women. The stones struck two men and a woman, but they did not need medical attention.

“A tall boy ... reached us first. He looked at us closely and walked behind us. I was in the back; I didn’t see whether he said anything or not. A half minute later another three teens kids even arrived. One of them, maybe 9 years old, had a stick in his hand," said one of the Israeli activists from Ta'ayush, an Israeli-Palestinian group.

He then realized that the masked Israelis would be violent, he said.

"They started shouting, ‘get out of here.’ A few seconds later they attacked Danny. We didn't respond and continued walking. A minute later, when they saw we were filming, they started to shout at each other: ‘Let’s take their cameras,'" the activist said.

"They threatened Danny: ‘We’ll tear you apart, get out of here.’ One encouraged the others the whole time to grab the cameras, and they started throwing stones at us at first one or two, then pretty much all of them. There were between 15 and 20," he added.

"They got close to the international activist and threw down her camera. The camera fell, rolled and the settlers grabbed it and left. They threw stones for a few more seconds and said they were going to grab another camera. A minute later they left us and ran back."

The two foreign activists were Italian members of the the organization Operation Dove.

For more than 15 years, Ta’ayush and activists from abroad have accompanied Palestinian farmers and shepherds in the South Hebron Hills when they go out to farm or herd their flocks, especially on Saturdays because of harassment and violence by settlers.