Palestinian Axe Attack on Israeli Settler May Not Have Been 'Nationalistic'

Settlers, Palestinians feuding over control of West Bank spring.

Police plan to question a settler who was attacked with an axe by a Palestinian yesterday on suspicion that the assault was not a “nationalistic” attack, but occurred during a fight that stemmed from a feud over control of a spring.

The incident occurred at Khan Luban, an archeological site between the West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Levona and the village of Luban a-Sharkiya. According to a security source, young settlers went to confront a Palestinian who had come to the nearby spring. The settlers allegedly tried to set his car on fire and force him to leave.

Associates of the wounded settler said that he had come to the area to help document illegal construction going on there, and a fight broke out, during which the Palestinian hit the settler with an axe, lightly wounding him. The Palestinian was arrested.

A preliminary investigation, however, indicated that before the Palestinian picked up the ax, there had been a confrontation between him and the group of settlers.

There have been confrontations over the Khan Luban site before.  Pro-Palestinian sources say that on at least two previous occasions during the month of August, groups of settlers have broken into a building on the site owned by the Daraghani family in which international peace activists were living. According to the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, it’s an ancient site that’s open to all to bathe in. Both sides claim that the other is trying to assert control over the spring and block access to the other side.