A group of around 30 masked Israeli settlers attacked Israeli and international human rights activists on Wednesday, beating them with crowbars while they were protecting Palestinian farmers trying to harvest olives in the village of Burin, in the West Bank.
Eighty year old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai told reporters that he “feared for his life” as he was beaten mercilessly on the head, arm and shoulders. He was one of five Israeli human rights activists who was beaten in the attack.
Yehudai was rushed to hospital with severe head injuries and a broken arm.
Yehudai is a member of Rabbis for Human Rights, a group made up of Israeli and international Rabbis and supporters that engage in human rights accompaniment in the West Bank, especially in areas known for Israeli settler violence.
According to local sources, more than 30 masked Israeli settlers came running into the olive grove where the harvest was going on, and began beating the Palestinian farmers, Israeli rabbis and international human rights activists.
While being treated for his injuries, Yehudai told reporters from the Times of Israel, “Suddenly, the settlers came with their faces [covered]. They started running at us, they surrounded me, threw rocks at me, hit me with crowbars, giving me a head injury. I told them I’m 80 years old. Leave me alone.”
But the settlers kept coming and beating him and the other activists and observers.
Israeli settlers frequently attack Palestinian farmers and civilians, including children. They are rarely arrested or held accountable for their crimes, since the area where they illegally live is under Israeli military occupation, and the Israeli military has no mandate to arrest settlers for criminal or violent acts. The soldiers are only authorized to attack and abduct Palestinians, not the Israelis who are squatting illegally on Palestinian land.
Last week, a gang of Israeli settlers set fire to an olive grove, just as the Palestinian owners of the trees were preparing for the annual harvest — which provides the Palestinians with their main source of income.
That arson resulted in the destruction of 70 olive trees.
According to Al-Araby News, more than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in housing developments that are considered illegal under international law.
The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.
Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA); Area B’s administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security; Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.
Along with stealing land, occupying Israeli forces and settlers are known to harass civilians, demolish Palestinian homes, poison livestock, vandalise property and other forms of violence.