UNOCHA calls on Israel to investigate Hebron settler attacks

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has called on Israel to investigate the attacks on Palestinians by Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Al-Watan Voice has reported.

On the 22th and 23rd of November, dozens of hardcore Jewish settlers under Israeli army protection carried out attacks on the old city of Hebron (Al-Khalil) and assaulted Palestinian civilians and storekeepers, injuring many of them.

According to UNOCHA, on one occasion a group of about 50 settlers attacked eight members of a Palestinian family with batons and pepper spray in the Wadi Al-Hussein neighbourhood. One Palestinian had an arm broken, another was injured in the head and the other six suffered from various wounds that needed hospital treatment. In another incident at the same place, a group of adult settlers attacked a nine-year-old Palestinian boy and used pepper spray against him in front of the Israeli soldiers, who did not intervene to protect him.

On the 23rd, the UNOCHA said that a number of settlers threw stones and bottles at a house in Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, injuring an infant after one of the stones smashed a window and hit the infant in his head. The family could not evacuate the child immediately as the attack on their house continued for 20 minutes. When a group of six Palestinians were eventually able to take the boy to an ambulance waiting at Israeli checkpoint 56, a group of settlers used pepper spray against them.

Settlers were also seen yesterday placing stones with Jewish inscriptions on walls and arches in the old town of Hebron in an effort to make believe that the city is historically Jewish.

UNOCHA stressed that Israel, as the occupying power, has a legal obligation to guarantee the safety of the Palestinians and protect them. When there are such attacks, it must ensure that the perpetrators are prosecuted.