Several Palestinians injured as masked settler mob attacks Hebron villages
Several Palestinians were injured and suffered from tear gas inhalation in an attack by Israeli settlers in the southern hills of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday afternoon.
Palestinian residents of Khirbat al-Mufkara, a small village in Hebron, were shocked to see a mob of almost 80 to 100 Israeli masked settlers attacking them and smashing their homes' glass windows with stones and slashing their vehicles' tyres.
A three-year-old Palestinian boy was injured in the head when an Israeli settler threw a stone at him while he was asleep inside his home, Haaretz reported. The child was hospitalised to Soroka Medical Center in the Negev, and his condition remains moderate.
Khirbat al-Mufkara is part of Masafer Yatta, a collection of villages to the south of Hebron. The 12 Palestinian communities living there face threats of being evicted by Israel as some of their lands are designated as closed military zones.
Parts of the communities suffer from poor water and electricity services, and a number of families were forced to live in caves after Israel demolished their homes.
Elderly residents arrested
Almost 12 Palestinians were injured during the settlers' attack on Tuesday and the Israeli army arrested two elderly Palestinians in Khirbat al-Mufkara, Naim Shehadeh al-Hamamda, aged 62, and Suleiman Eid Al-Hathaleen, aged 75.
The masked settlers have damaged 10 Palestinian vehicles, a water tank and broken windows on a number of homes.
Israeli forces fired tear gas and stun grenades at Palestinians and arrested one settler, while three settlers were injured lightly due to stones thrown back at them by Palestinians, according to Haaretz.
'Settler violence has become an epidemic. It’s high time for lenience and disregard of this phenomenon to stop'
- Mossi Raz, Meretz MP
Mahmoud Hussein, the grandfather of the three-year-old injured toddler, said that settlers "destroyed the cars, punctured the tyres of tractors and damaged my cistern. They also entered my house and broke dishes."
According to Hussein, another two-year-old Palestinian child was also injured from broken glass after settlers threw stones at a window. "Not one window was left in the house," he said.
Settlers also attacked Palestinians in al-Litwani, al-Asayfer, and Umm al-Touba, part of Masafar Yatta communities, damaged their solar panel, uprooted dozens of trees, and destroyed their plants, the East Jerusalem-based newspaper Al-Quds reported on Tuesday.
Settlers have recently built a sheep farm in the area and have been harassing Palestinian shepherds and their sheep grazing nearby.
"Since then, the situation has heated up. They started pasturing on private land right in front of people’s houses,” Hussien said
Mossi Raz, a member of the Israeli centre-left party Meretz, wrote to Defence Minister Benny Gantz objecting to settler mob violence.
"Settler violence has become an epidemic," Raz wrote. "It’s high time for lenience and disregard of this phenomenon to stop. I expect the offenders to be brought to justice immediately.”