On Monday 9 June six masked Jewish settlers from the nearby outpost of Havat Ya’ir, armed with automatic weapons and cudgels, attacked a small group of Palestinians, mainly women, in their tent village in the Susiya location of the South Hebron Hills.
Video from B’tselem
Susiya, which lies within sight of the West Bank’s southern border with Israel, is now a series of inhabited tents and caves. Approximately 300 people still live there, on land to which they have legal title. Since 1985, when the Israeli armed forces destroyed the old town, the local farmers have rebuilt their dwellings three times, only to have them bulldozed in an effort to force them to leave their lands. Their wells have been filled in and the people, living in isolated and vulnerable family groups are under constant threat of attack and harassment by armed gangs from the surrounded Israeli settlements.
In Monday’s unprovoked and cowardly attack, the six masked intruders severely beat Haj Halil, 70 years old, around the head. When another elderly man and a young woman attempted to intervene they were beaten with cudgels and rifle butts. A 27 year old woman was repeatedly kicked to the head and body as she lay senseless on the ground. Eyewitness accounts testify to the savagery of the attack.
Three of the injured were taken for treatment to Beersheba. One remains hospitalised with reported fractures to the head and face.
Monday was a public holiday throughout Israel. Such public holidays are feared by Palestinians living within proximity of Jewish settlements as settlers frequently celebrate their country’s achievements by harassing and attacking their defenceless neighbours.
Settlers have cut down dozens of mature olive trees and, in another incident, a settler drove his car, at speed, into a flock of sheep which were being shepherded along a road, killing some and maiming others.