Khalil Nawaja, in his 70s, was attacked with sticks and pipes Monday evening by a group of seven Israeli settlers with their faces covered. An Israeli soldier was escorting the settlers and did nothing to stop the attack, said local eyewitnesses. Villagers called the Israeli police, but could not get a response.
They then called Ezra Nawi of Ta’ayush (Israeli peace group), who was able to get through to the police on their behalf and ask for an investigation. According to a press release from the Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) working in the area, the Israeli police only arrived on the scene two hours after the attack, despite the fact that the police station is only 300 meters away from where the attack took place.
The village of Susiya lies between the Israeli settlement of Susya (a Hebrew-ization of the Arabic village name, a common practice among Israeli settlements built atop Palestinian villages), an Israeli settlement outpost (on the site of an ancient synagogue) and an Israeli military base. The Palestinian village has some remaining fifty residents scattered over several hills living in tents, and have been attacked frequently by the Israeli settlers.
According to the Christian Peacemaker Team, the Israeli soldiers and police who eventually arrived to take testimony were angered by the fact that one of the Christian Peacemakers was videotaping, and tried to stop him. The soldiers and police also refused to open an Israeli-controlled gate to allow an ambulance through to the injured man.
When Nawaja was finally able to receive medical treatment, medics noted injuries all over his body – he had been hit on his leg, arm, hand, and upper body. The elderly farmer was taken by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to Yatta hospital for examination and treatment.