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On Shabbat, Settlers Escalate Attacks on Palestinians and Internationals

large rock thrown at human rights workers

By Joe Skillet

Israeli settlers in the Tel Rumeida section of Al-Khalil (Hebron) celebrated the shabbat yesterday by attacking several Palestinian children and international supporters.

During the attacks, one 15 year old Palestinian was kicked, one 13 year old was punched in the face, and a 7 year old was kicked. This assault occured when the three Palestinian boys were sitting peacefully, chatting with two international human rights workers (HRW), then two passing settler boys, aged about 13 and 11, stopped in front of the group and glowered. After the attack the settler boys ran away.

HRWs provided first aid to Moussa and summoned observers from the international monitoring group TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron), who photographed the boys and wrote up the incident. The HRWs also called the police, who came and took a statement at the scene from the boys.

After the HRWs had left an older settler kicked a seven-year-old Palestinian boy, Hamdan, several times in the back and buttocks. His mother called the police, who again took a report on the incident.

Several hours later two human rights workers were attacked by settlers on Shuhadda Street. The HRWs had been practicing on the street for their weekly circus performance when they were kicked and stoned by a group of settler men.

At 4:30 PM, one of the five settler men, between the ages of 20 and 25, conjured up a mouthful of phlegm and spit it at one of the HRWs as they passed on the street. The HRW’s escorted a Palestinian boy, approximately 10 years old, to his home passed the settlers. The soldier at the post, too, entered the street. The settlers followed behind and, after the boy entered his home safely, one of the settlers kicked a HRW behind his left knee, almost knocking him to the ground.

The other HRW shouted, “Don’t you hit him!” and began to run towards the door. At this point, the same settler kicked the HRW again in the same spot on his back leg as the other settlers hovered around.

The same settler who initiated the violence then picked up a large rock, and threw it at the other HRW. She was hit on her right thigh, causing much pain.

The soldier from the post yelled at the settlers to stop. The two additional HRWs showed up and the police were called. The settlers continued to throw stones, hitting one of the additional HRWs in the leg.

A police car happened to be driving by at this point. The settlers retreated into Beit Hadassah settlement, not to be seen again. The soldier admitted to the policeman that he saw a rock hit the HRW, but denied seeing the settler kick the other twice.

After arriving at the police station to file a report, the HRW with the rock/leg injury began to feel more pain radiating from the injury and began to limp. The policemen were insistent that the HRWs wait there until the Israeli solider-paramedic arrived to assess the situation.

After 25 minutes or so, the medic arrived. He took the blood pressure of the rock-injured HRW and the other HRW took her pulse. He then said he was finished. The HRW still required medical attention from a doctor. Merely taking her vital signs was, as projected, not enough.

After another 15-20 minutes, a police car arrived and drove the HRWs back to their home in H2. Because her pain was increasing, the injured HRW went directly to the hospital and the other HRW went home to tend to his injury. The police report has been put on hold.