A number of right-wing Israeli settlers were caught on tape, Saturday, attacking an Israeli peace activist accompanying Palestinian shepherds and farmers through Palestinian lands at Shweika village, south of the Hebron Mountains area, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank. The attack took place on Saturday morning [February 8, 2014], when Israeli peace activists of the Ta’ayush peace group were accompanying Palestinian shepherds from Shweika village, in the Southern Hebron Hills.
The Israeli web-based independent magazine ‘+972’ stated that the attack took place near the Eshtamoa illegal settlement outpost.
The report also stated that a veteran Israeli activist and documentarian, identified as Guy, said that Israeli settlers and soldiers have been preventing the Palestinians access to the grazing land for several weeks, despite the fact that the government of Israel has recognized the valley as private Palestinian land.
“Just before 11 in the morning, around 10 – 15 settlers came from the outpost to the valley. Most of them covered their faces, to avoid identification, and started throwing stones at the Palestinians; some settlers used slingshots,” the +972 Magazine report said.
“Three of the settlers then assaulted an activist, one of them using a club. A soldier then slowly approached the scene and the settlers escaped.”
It further reported that the soldiers did not try to stop the settlers, and did not run after them, and that one of the soldiers is documented in the video, later on, patting a settler on the shoulder in a friendly manner.
“This kind of dynamic not only makes the double standard in treatment of Palestinians clear, but shows that it is, in fact, the settlers who run the show in these parts”, the +972 report said.
The Israeli activist suffered bruises and cuts in his legs, arms and back, while the soldiers did not even try to unmask the settlers to identify them. After the settlers left the scene, the activist went to file a complaint with the police station at Keryat Arba’ Israeli settlement, in Hebron.
The +972 report said that two of the soldiers who witnessed the attack happened to be at the police station, and told Guy that an armed settler yelled at them, telling them to shoot the Ta’ayush peace activist, and threatened to shoot the activist themselves if the soldiers did not do so.
“Unfortunately, based on over a decade of Ta’ayush experience with similar incidents, the chances that these settlers will be brought to justice is next to nil, despite clear evidence”, the report added.
The +972 report also said that several online Israeli news agencies reported on the incident, and that a report by Haaretz quoted an Israeli military spokesperson claiming that the video was “tendentiously edited”.
The army spokesperson also claimed that the soldiers acted as per protocol, distanced the persons involved, and called the police.
The Israeli peace activist, Guy, said that, as far as he knows, the army did not apprehend any suspects, although they had occasion to do so at the time of the attack.