Settler shoots Palestinian north of Hebron
Bethlehem – Ma’an – An Israeli settler on Tuesday shot and injured a Palestinian shepherd near the settlement of Bat Ayin, north of the city of Hebron, a witness and the Israeli military said.
The settlement is built on lands that were confiscated from Palestinian villages of Al-Jab’a, Safa, and Surif.
Ahmad Shakarna, a taxi driver who witnessed the shooting, told Ma’an that Nabil Ibrahim Abdul Majid, in his thirties from Al-Jab’a, and a Bedouin man who lives in the same village, were herding their sheep in the fields near the village.
A settler from Bat Ayn approached them and ordered them to leave claiming the land belonged to the settlement, Shakarna said. When the shepherds tried to explain that the land belongs to their village, and that the settler in fact was the intruder, a heated argument began, he said. According to Shakarna, the settler then took out a handgun and shot Abdul Majid in the shoulder.
Shakarna added that large numbers of Israeli troops and border police immediately arrived and took the injured Palestinian for interrogation.
An Israeli military spokesman said that based on an initial inquiry, an argument broke out between a civilian security officer and two Palestinians.
“During the argument a bullet discharged from his [the security guard’s] weapon, hitting and lightly wounding one of them.”
He added that the wounded man received first aid in the field and was taken to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem.
Israeli media reported a different account, saying that the security coordinator of the settlement claimed the Palestinians attempted to steal his weapon before he fired gunshots into the air while they fled.
The website of Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported a Palestinian shepherd was found injured not far from the area mentioned by the security coordinator.
Shakarna, the eyewitness said this report was completely false. The military spokesman said it was “possible,” but stressed that the incident was under police investigation.
Beit Ayn, which houses 3,500 settlers, has been known in the past as a base for extremists. Three men from the settlement were jailed in 2002 for attempting to bomb a Palestinian girls’ school in Jerusalem and plotting attacks on other targets.
Bat Ayin’s settlers also prohibit Palestinians from entering the settlement, even those with Israeli IDs.
Tensions with settlers were already high in the West Bank after several incidents of settler violence in the Nablus area. On Monday night medics reported that settlers caused a bus to overturn by pelting it with stones, injuring five people.