Settlers Filmed Attacking Palestinian Family in the West Bank

The settlers hurled stones at the parents and their eight children and assaulted them with clubs, according to B'Tselem ■ The father of the family was injured and taken to a Hebron hospital

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The father of the family was attacked near the Mitzpe Yair outpost in the West Bank earlier today
The father of the family was attacked near the Mitzpe Yair outpost in the West Bank earlier todayCredit: B'Tselem

Israeli settlers were filmed attacking on Saturday a Palestinian family near the West Bank outpost of Mitzpeh Yair in the South Hebron Hills.

According to a report by Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, about 10 masked settlers hurled stones at the parents and their eight children and assaulted them with clubs. The father of the family was hurt in the face and taken to a hospital in Hebron by the Palestinian Red Crescent. The family said he suffered fractures in his jaw, and will undergo surgery on Sunday.

The police said they have opened an investigation into the incident.

A video taken by B'Tselem shows the settlers throwing stones and attacking the family. One settler is seen approaching the woman with a club in his hand. The woman is later heard shouting "go away, they smashed the car," and "the police are not here, where are they?"

A B'Tselem activist who arrived at the scene shortly after said that both parents were evacuated on stretchers. 

The mother, Rima Alwan, said that the family comes to the land every Saturday. This time, they came with their eight children, the youngest of whom is a year old.

"As soon as we arrived, we saw settlers approaching us and as we saw them, we called the police but they did not come," Alwan told Haaretz. "There were about 15 of them. They threw stones at us and were armed with batons, one hit me in the leg and wounded me."

According to a statement from the Israel Police, officers arrived at the scene within minutes. 

According to Alwan, this is the first time the family has been attacked in this way by settlers. "The children were very scared because they also broke our car, thank God they were not injured." She said police arrived at the scene only long after the incident ended. 

In response to the video, the Mount Hebron Regional Council of settlements said it's impossible to get the full picture of what happened, and that authorities are investigating the situation.

"An initial investigation revealed that [the alleged attackers] don't live in the settlement, and we don't believe in using violence or force," their statement read.  

"That being said, it is important to note that residents of Mount Hebron have experienced incidents of vandalism, violence, theft and break-ins in recent months; just last week a Palestinian broke into a house of a resident of Havat Ma'on and was seized by IDF forces." 

In the past, the family's access to the land was blocked by the military due its vicinity to the Mitzpeh Yair outpost, but a 2011 court decision allowed them to reach it. Since then, they work the land several times a year after receiving clearance from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

In the beginning of March, a settler was filmed trying to eject an Arab family from a public area, for the second time in less than a month. The video of Zvi Bar Yosef, a resident of the nearby unauthorized outpost of Havat Zvi near the village of Jibiya, joined other reports over the past year by Palestinians about being removed from the area.

The unauthorized outpost, partially built on state land and partially on privately owned land, is one of many that have proliferated in the West Bank, which control large tracts and deny access to Arabs.

Last month, soldiers told a family of Israeli Arab citizens having a picnic to leave after settlers from the unauthorized outpost called them to the site. In videos of that incident, settlers, including an armed Bar Yosef, are seen demanding that the family leave the area, which is a public site that is not even in the municipal area of any settlement. 

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