Israeli Settler Suspected of Shooting Palestinian Family's Cow

Head of security for West Bank settlement's gun confiscated after Jordan Valley incident.

Cow belonging to Palestinians from Ain al-Hilweh and allegedly shot by head of security for the Rotem settlement, Jordan Valley. July 30, 2016.
Amir Bitan

The police have confiscated the firearm of an Israeli settler suspected of shooting a Palestinian's cow on Saturday, Haaretz has learned. The Jordan Valley police questioned the man, who is head of security for the Rotem settlement, after Palestinians from Ain al-Hilweh lodged a formal complaint, and he was temporarily removed from his post pending the investigation's completion.

According to Palestinians from the northern Jordan Valley community, the incident took place as a Palestinian boy was grazing his herd near the settlement. According to members of the family, who own the herd, as the boy approached Rotem, the head of security came out to him, warning him a number of times not to move any closer to the settlement. He then allegedly fired at one of the cows, hitting it in its leg and causing it to fall over. It later managed to get up again and rejoin the herd as it returned to the family's tent.

"The kid came back with the herd and [the head of settlement] just shot, the cow fell over and the kid just started screaming and crying: 'Why did you kill her?,'" said Guy Hirschfeld of the anti-occupation group Ta'ayush who helped the family lodge a complaint.

Cow belonging to Palestinians from Ain al-Hilweh and allegedly shot by head of security for the Rotem settlement, Jordan Valley. July 30, 2016.
Amir Bitan

"[The head of security] told the kid: 'I told you a number of times not to come here.' That's the whole story right there," Hirschfeld said, adding that after the complaint was filed the police took testimonies from the boy, his brother, who was in the area at the time, and even his father.

The Israel Police confirmed that the man was questioned and temporarily removed from his post. On Sunday the animal will undergo surgery to ascertain that the leg wound was indeed caused by the gun shot. Until the result of the surgery the man's gun will remain confiscated.

The head of security did not respond to Haaretz's request for a comment.