A number of Israeli settlers attacked the villagers of Tuwani, near Hebron Friday afternoon. The settlers, who were armed with automatic assault rifles, demanded the Palestinian villagers to evacuate the village claiming that the land where the village is located belongs to them.International peace activists who were in the village called the Israeli police and army, who arrived nearly one hour after the settlers.

Two Italian activists were wounded as they were assaulted by the settlers. One of the wounded Italians told IMEMC over the phone that when the Israeli police arrived, they did not stop the armed settlers. As he was giving his eyewitness account, he saw the Israeli army taking one of the Palestinians prisoners, however, he failed to identify him.

The village of Tuwani is subject to ongoing settler attacks for the past few years. The settlers attempt to drive the villagers out of their land, in order to expand their nearby settlement of Havat Maon which was founded in 1997.

In 1999 Israeli government, headed then, by Ehud Barak, removed this settlement and claimed it is going to remove 42 other settlements, terming them illegal. Israel removed 12 out of the 42, and most of the settlers returned shortly after the removal.

The former MK and Elkana local council head Nissan Slomiansky put it ‘When this round is over, the situation of the outposts will be better than it was under the Likud. Under [Benjamin] Netanyahu they were illegitimate children. Barak has made them legitimate.’ Apparently Slomainsky was right.