Ten Palestinians Wounded as Tens of Thousands of Jews Descend on Hebron

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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Members of the Israeli security forces guard a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews in an Arab neighborhood of the divided West Bank city of Hebron, November 23, 2019.
Members of the Israeli security forces guard a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews in an Arab neighborhood of the divided West Bank city of Hebron, November 23, 2019.Credit: Hazem Bader/AFP
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

Ten Palestinians were wounded Friday and Saturday in attacks by Jews in Hebron, residents say, as tens of thousands of Jews visited the city.

So far, no suspects have been arrested in any of the various incidents where Palestinian residents were attacked in the area controlled by Israel and secured by the Israeli army.

Israeli security sources confirm that Jews were involved in some of the attacks.

Over the weekend, Israeli Jews traveled to Hebron to mark "Chayei Sarah," the fifth weekly Torah portion of the annual cycle of Torah reading, which discusses the life of the patriarch Abraham's wife, Sarah, who is buried in Hebron, according to Jewish tradition.

Israeli sources said the last weekend was marked by an unusually high level of violence.

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Hebron resident Eid al-Jabari, 19, told Haaretz that on Friday afternoon he heard shouts from outside the barbershop he owns and came out to see what was going on. He says he saw a group of more than ten Jews pushing his father – who owns the shop next door – and another man. Jabari said that he and other friends took blows while trying to aid the two Palestinian men. Jabari's uncle Nasser said that his face was injured and he was sprayed with tear gas.

Palestinian sources said that four Palestinians suffered minor injuries in that incident, some from tear gas inhalation and others from blows. They were taken to Ahli hospital in Hebron.

A group of Israeli Jews in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, November 23, 2019.Credit: HAZEM BADER / AFP

A security source adds that in a separate incident on Friday, near the Cave of the Patriarchs, Jews allegedly attacked a Palestinian and sprayed him in the face with pepper spray. He was mildly injured and received first aid and was evacuated by the Red Crescent.

In yet another incident, Kayed Daana claims that four Jews sprayed tear gas into the eyes and mouth of his nine-year-old son Mahmoud. “We live in an Israeli-controlled area, in which it is on Israel to protect our homes, my son,” Daana said. “Why weren’t there more soldiers there to guard us?”

On Saturday, a one and a half year old toddler was hit in the head by a rock. His grandfather, the photographer and Palestinian activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya, says the child was hit by a rock thrown through the window of his home in Hebron. “I heard the boy scream and saw that he was injured on his head,” Abu Shamsiyya says. He claims his home was attacked because he had filmed the clip showing Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead an injured terrorist as he lay wounded on the ground in March of 2016 in Hebron.

According to an Israeli security source, Palestinian cars were vandalized near the grave of Othniel ben Kenaz in Hebron. The vandals broke the cars' mirrors and scratched the paintwork on five of them. During the Chayei Sarah observation, only Jews are allowed into the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Jews are also allowed into Othniel ben Kenaz’s cave if accompanied by soldiers. After the cars were vandalized, access to Jews was barred.

The source added that another incident took place at a Palestinian store in Tel Rumeida, in which four Palestinians were sprayed with pepper spray and stones were thrown at a house. Palestinian reports say three people were mildly injured and were treated by the Red Crescent.

The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, January 2016.Credit: Gil Cohen-Magen

The police stated that “during the Chayei Sarah Shabbat event, reports arrived about some incidents of friction and mutual attacks. The many security forces securing the safety and wellbeing of the visitors reacted swiftly to the events and separated the parties.” The police are checking the reports, the police stated, adding that so far, no complaints have been filed.

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