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YNet: “Hebron settlers filmed throwing rocks at Palestinians”

VIDEO Just two months after shocking footage of settler cursing Palestinian in Hebron revealed, yet another video shows settler children throwing rocks at Palestinian homes. Muhammad Abu Aisha: ‘I yelled to the soldiers and policemen standing 70 feet away but they pretended they couldn’t see’

by Ali Waked, March 8th

VIDEO – “The settlers continue to curse us and throw rocks at us, including the cursing settler Ifat Elkobi. Only this time she’s being smarter about it. She brings friends who live outside this area so we can’t recognize them and then can’t complain about them,” 70-year-old Muhammad Abu-Aisha said on Wednesday night of the harassment and humiliation he suffers at the hands of his settler neighbors.

According to Abu-Aisha after the video of Elkobi was released the harassment lessened for several days, but since then it has returned to its original level.

Abu Aisha says that on Wednesday a neighbor beat his grandson: “He started hitting Muhammad, my grandson, and I stood and shouted to the soldiers and policemen, who were standing 70 feet away to intervene.

“But they pretended they couldn’t see. I called the police, I told them we’d been beaten and that the incident was filmed. They said: bring in the video and come to file a complaint, but we chose to give the movie to B’Tselem.”

Partial footage of settler violence in Hebron
(Video: Faidaa Abu-Aisha, courtesy: B’Tselem)

The B’Tselem human rights organization said it transferred the video, which documents settler violence in full sight of security forces, to the Hebron police. The video reportedly shows girls from Hebron pelting eggs at Palestinians in the presence of an IDF soldier and Border Police officer who make no move to stop them.

Following the distribution of the first video there was much discussion over the authorities soldiers have over settlers in such cases however the Association for Civil Rights in Israel proved that soldiers are compelled by law to act against the perpetrators.

Disengagement deteriorated situation

Abu-Aisha said that he may well be the only Palestinian who is displeased with the Israeli disengagement from Gaza.

“This disengagement only brought us more trouble. There are settlers from Gaza who moved here and quickly joined the violence against us, so how can I be pleased with the disengagement? It brought us more stones, more curses, more eggs and like always, the soldiers and policemen don’t do anything. Just watch and don’t do anything. One thing’s for sure is that they see everything.”

Even the apologies of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz after the incident in January didn’t help and nothing seems to have changed for Palestinians in the city.

“How can the situation change if the settlers assaulted the deputy defense minister who came here after the last incident and no one bothered to bring them to justice?” asked Abu-Aisha.

Over the course of the Purim holiday the Palestinians say they noted an increase in the harassment, curses, spitting and pelting of eggs and stones.

“In the past I lived with Jews in Hebron. Even today I have friends in Tel Aviv who used to live here in those years. When the settlers came here and stated harassing us, my friends intervened and arranged for me to meet with Dr. Yosef Burg, who was minister of the interior. He spoke with the settlers and they calmed down a bit. But after that they went back to the same violence which has been used against us since then and up until today, only today we don’t have Dr. Burg to turn to.”

Abu-Aisha stressed that the problem is not with all the Jews: “We can and have lived well with Jews. The problem is with this group that didn’t come here to live but came here to drive us out. And it just goes to show that none of the people here work. Just abuse us – that’s what they do, that’s their job.”

Because of his age Abu-Aisha said he is spared any physical violence, but not curses. “They curse me regularly but I know how to treat them. Every time they curse I smile and they grow more annoyed. At least this way I manage to upset them and get them back for what they do to us.”

Military sources said in response that in the video provided by Abu-Aisha the soldiers are clearly seen moving the children away. Representatives for the Jewish settlement in Hebron declined comment.