Settlers Attack Palestinian Farmers in Hebron Hills; No Arrests Made

Witnesses say that IDF soldiers at the scene did not stop the attack, but fired tear gas and stun grenades at the Palestinian farmers

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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Settlers throwing stones at Palestinian farmers near the Hebron Hills, West Bank, earlier this month
Settlers throwing stones at Palestinian farmers near the Hebron Hills, West Bank, earlier this monthCredit: Michal Chai
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

A group of settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in the southern Hebron Hills in the West Bank on Saturday, while they were working  their fields near the Havat Maon settler outpost.

David Shulman of the Arab-Jewish partnership Ta'ayush group and an Israel Prize laureate, told Haaretz that he saw from a distance about 30 settlers throwing stones and chasing after one of the Palestinians with sticks in their hands. The Palestinians, who were from the village of Humra, responded to the attack by throwing rocks back at the settlers.

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Shulman, who photographed the altercation along with another left-wing activist, informed the Israeli army about the incident. Shulman said that when he approached the scene, the settlers began yelling at him, and tried to take away his camera and phone. When he refused to hand over the camera and phone, they hit him, knocking him to the ground. The settlers kicked the left-wing activist in the ribs and punched him, according to Shulman.

Shulman and the left-wing activist said that two Israeli soldiers arrived on the scene in a Jeep, and watched what was happening without arresting the settlers. The soldiers then proceeded to fire stun grenades and spray tear gas at the Palestinians.

The IDF Spokesman’s Office said: “IDF forces arrived at the scene and called in additional forces because of the extent of the conflict. The force used means to disperse the clashes in order to separate between the sides.”

An armed settler attacking Palestinian farmers in the Hebron Hills, West Bank, earlier this monthCredit: Michal Chai

Two weeks ago, a masked settler was filmed hitting left-wing activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman near the unauthorized Ma'aleh Ahuvia settlement outpost in the West Bank north of Ramallah following a dispute over grazing land. Ascherman sustained injuries on his arms and back. He filed a complaint with Binyamin police station, which opened an investigation.

Ascherman said he had arrived at the site after Palestinian shepherds reported that settlers were grazing their sheep in private Palestinian fields. 

He added that he had notified the police and the Israeli army, but they failed to act on the report. The activist said that since the outpost was built three months ago in memory of Ahuvia Sandak, a settler who died during a car chase with police, there have been recurring clashes between settlers and Palestinians in the area over grazing lands.

The assault was videotaped by Gil Hamerschlag, another activist who was there at the time of the incident.

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