By Amira Hass, Haaretz Correspondent
Two residents of an illegal settlement outpost near Hebron attacked United Nations workers on Thursday.
The UN personnel were driving in the South Hebron Hills area when one of the settlers jumped on the car and smashed the windshield, sending shards of glass into the driver’s eye.
A Haaretz reporter and photographer were in the car at the time, along with three members of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The settlers, residents of Mitzpeh Yair, claim that the OCHA workers were trying to uproot the outpost’s olive trees.
The OCHA workers had been visiting the nearby Palestinian town of Bir al Eid. As they were leaving, they spotted a man approaching. The driver braked in order not to hit him and the man drew near, as if to speak to the occupants.
Instead, he jumped on the car and refused to get down. UN orders forbid employees to leave a car that is under attack, so instead, the driver drove forward, very slowly. The settler held on to the windshield wipers and pressed against the glass until it shattered.
Meanwhile, another settler appeared and demanded to see the identity cards of everyone in the car, which sported a UN flag. He also brandished an iron bar and blocked the road with stones and tires.
About 25 minutes later, after the Haaretz reporter called the Israel Defense Forces, an army jeep arrived, followed half an hour later by a police car. According to the police, the man who attacked the car has been involved in similar incidents before. The second man is a British citizen. Both were questioned at the Kiryat Arba police station.