On Monday 17, September, six Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar attacked three members of the Benijaber family, who were walking home to the Palestinian village of Aqraba from their olive groves.
Maher Hashem Mostafa Benijaber reported that he, his brother Omar and cousin Hafed were set upon by six men, three of whom were armed with semi-automatic rifles. The attack occurred just before 7 p.m., around 600 metres from their home. The settlers punched and kicked the three men, as well as beat them with rocks and sticks. They also tried to block the path back to the village so Maher and his family could not escape.
Omar managed to escape, calling neighbours for help. Meanwhile, the attack on Maher and Hafed continued. After the arrival of other residents, the Israeli attackers fled the scene. Maher then attempted to walk back to the village, but collapsed, lost consciousness, and had to be carried.
Maher Hashem Mostafa Benijaber in the hospital being treated for injuries after settlers attacked him on his way home.
Maher, Omar and Hafed all required medical treatment at the local clinic in Aqraba for the injuries they sustained during the beating, and Maher was hospitalized overnight in Nablus. All three men suffered injuries to their arms, head, back and legs, consistent with a sustained beating with sticks. When asked what he thought about the latest attack, Maher said, ‘if no-one had come to help, they would have killed me.’
The family contacted the Israeli army via the Palestinian Police and District Coordination Office to report the attack, however the army instead visited Yanoun village, which is also near Itamar settlement. Despite being informed that they had gone to the wrong village, they never attended the scene of the attack in Aqraba or spoke to Maher.
The attack on the Benijaber family is just the latest of many on the village of Aqraba. Four days previously, an elderly shepherd was attacked and forced to flee from his fields back to the village. The attacking settlers then stole some of his sheep. Such attacks on Palestinian villages are commonplace throughout the West Bank, and there is effectively impunity for settlers who carry them out. According to the Human Rights Watch 2012 report, “The Israeli government generally took no action against Israeli settlers who destroyed or damaged mosques, homes, olive trees, cars, and other Palestinian property, or physically assaulted Palestinians.” Illegal settlements such as Itamar continue to be encouraged to expand with the support of Israeli government and occupation forces.
Maher’s room at Rafidia Hospital happens to be across the corridor from Akram Taysir Daoud, who suffered a similar attack in the village of Qusra on 15th September and remains in hospital. Report at: www.palsolidarity.org/2012/09/qusra-man-left-for-dead-after-settler-attack/
- Three injured from tear gas after settlers raid in Qusra (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Thursday and Friday in the West Bank, groups of armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and their property. In the northern West Bank on Thursday, armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian farmers, injuring three; and in the southern West Bank Friday, a group of settlers destroyed a Palestinian olive grove by chopping down all of the trees.
The incident on Thursday took place in the village of Yanun, near Nablus, where Palestinian farmers were working on their land when several Israeli settlers came onto the land and attacked them. One of the settlers involved in the attack was identified as Matan Fogel, the brother of an Israeli man who was murdered along with his family in the settlement of Itamar last year in an attack that was blamed on local Palestinians.
Fogel and the other settlers called the Israeli military to assist them in dispersing the Palestinian farmers. When the military arrived, soldiers fired tear gas at the Palestinians and abducted five Palestinian farmers, according to local sources.
The Israeli settlers claimed that the Palestinian farmers initiated the attack, and injured two settlers with farming tools. The settlers were all armed with military-grade weapons. None of the Palestinians involved in the incident were armed.
In the attack on Friday, Israeli settlers from the settlement of Maol, near Hebron, entered an olive grove near the village of Kharoubeh and chopped down trees belonging to local Palestinian landowner Jebril Mousa Khalil, according to the Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.
Palestinian shepherds and international non-violent activists who were in the area came to the olive grove to try to stop the destruction, and were chased by the settlers to Tuwani village. According to eyewitnesses, the settlers ran after the activists and shepherds and threw stones at them and at Palestinian homes.
Israeli troops then arrived in the area to ‘protect the Israeli settlers’, as they are mandated to do – even when the settlers are the ones engaging in acts of violence.
Israeli settler attacks increased by 50% in 2011, and have continued to increase in the first months of 2012, although official numbers are not yet available.
- Fadi Abu Zeitoun, killed as settlers attacked farmers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Hebron teen ‘shot by Israeli settler’ (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli settlers storm into Palestinian home, occupy residence (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Jewish settlers stealing Palestinian water springs: UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers ‘block entrance’ to Nablus village (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Demanding justice for Yousef, a quiet boy killed by Israeli settlers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- PRESS RELEASE | Double attack from Havat Ma’on illegal outpost in South Hebron Hills (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Settlers Attack Two Towns Near Hebron (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Palestinian Authority official Ghassan Doughlas told Ma’an that residents of Itamar and Elon Moreh settlements arrived at Beit Dajan in around 15 cars and closed the main gate to the village.
The settlers were protesting the reopening of the main road from Beit Dajan to Nablus a day earlier, Doughlas said.
The road had been closed by the Israeli military for 12 years, forcing villagers to take long detours to reach Nablus, the nearest city.
Doughlas said Israeli forces arrived and dispersed the settlers.
An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported Friday that an Israeli soldier and two young female settlers were arrested by the Israeli Police for writing anti-Arab, Anti-Islam graffiti in the Al-Lubban Ash-Sharqiyya Palestinian village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
The three were arrested on Thursday at night; the soldier is a resident of the Itamar illegal settlement, near Nablus.
The soldier and two young female setters were caught on tape by a surveillance camera infiltrating into the Palestinian village last Tuesday at 1:30 A.M.
He drove a car into the village and one of the female settlers stepped-up and used a knife to cut open some cement sacks.
Later on, the three sprayed graffiti including “Death to Arabs”, “Mohammad is a pig”, and “Price Tag” in the village.
Dozens of residents in the village, woke up on the sound of the settlers’ vehicle driving in their village, and tried to intercept the car; an argument took place and the soldier used his automatic rifle to scare the residents away; the three settlers then drove out of the village.
The District Court in Jerusalem decided to remand the soldier under interrogation until Monday; he admitted to the vandalism act, while the two young women, Orien Nizri, from Jerusalem, and Sarah Goldberg from Tapuach illegal settlement, will remain in detention, until Tuesday, pending further legal action.
Price Tag attacks carried out by extremist settlers, including Israeli soldiers who are also settlers, are continuously being carried out against the Palestinians, their property, their orchards and farmlands, and against holy sites; such attacks included burning several mosques and a church.
These attacks also targeted offices and property that belong to leftist Israeli groups, including offices and property of members of the Israeli Peace Now Movement.
The settlers blame Israeli peace groups, and the Palestinians for any evacuation of illegal settlement outposts in the occupied territories.
- Jewish Settlers Torch Mosque In Ramallah (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers torch cars in Beit Ummar (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers ‘raid Nablus village’ (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Settlers kidnap shepherd near Nablus (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Jewish settlers break into Muslim shrines to perform Talmudic rituals (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers torch West Bank mosque (alethonews.wordpress.com)