30 May 2009
Clashes erupted on Saturday between settlers and left-wing activists who were trying to help Palestinians with agricultural work near the village of Safa in the West Bank.
Activists from the Jewish-Arab rights group Ta’ayush arrived at the village, which is located near the settlement of Bat Ayin, and were attacked by 15 to 20 masked settlers, according to one of the activists.
Activist Mairav Zonszein told Haaretz that the settlers assaulted the activists and pelted them with stones, breaking one of their cameras, and flipping over one of their cars, breaking the windshield.
Israel Defense Forces soldiers and Border Police armed with batons arrived and forcefully removed the demonstrators from the scene, according to Zonszein. Border Police then declared the area a closed military zone. No injuries were reported.
Zonszein added that five activists were arrested under the closed military zone order, which she stressed had been enforced only on Israeli and Palestinian activists and not on settlers. Two Palestinians were also arrested, according to Army Radio.
The area around Bat Ayin and Safa has been the site of previous clashes between settlers, left-wing activists and Palestinians. In April, at least 17 people were wounded during altercations between dozens of settlers Palestinians after a 13-year-old boy from Bat Ayin was murdered by an axe-wielding Palestinian.