The United States and the United Kingdom have condemned an attack carried out by colonial Israeli settlers on Tuesday evening in which 12 Palestinian civilians were injured, including a 3-year-old boy, in the South Hebron Hills in the occupied West Bank.
James Cleverly, the UK Minister of State for Middle East and North Africa, condemned the attack in a tweet. “The UK condemns this violent act against a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills by settlers on 28 Sept,” Cleverly tweeted. “Israel must tackle this problem and protect Palestinians,” he added.
The US government also condemned the attack. “The U.S. government strongly condemns the acts of settler violence that took place against Palestinians in villages near Hebron in the West Bank on September 28,” a US Embassy spokesperson was quoted as saying by CNN.
On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of masked Israelis, marking the last day of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, threw stones at Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills. The rocks smashed cars and injured at least 12 Palestinians including Mohammad Bakr Hussein, aged three.
In videos from the scene, Israeli settlers can be seen breaking Palestinian car windows and hurling stones at Palestinian homes.
The confrontations took place near the small Palestinian shepherding village of al-Mufaqara, a cluster of homes located close to two illegal Israeli outposts, Avigayil and Havat Maon.
The left-wing NGO Peace Now called the attack a “pogrom.” According to another Israeli human rights group, Breaking the Silence, while incidents like the one on Tuesday represent one of the worst acts of settler violence in the area for years, other types of intimidation against local Palestinians, like stealing goats and sheep, polluting water cisterns, and attacking children on their way to school, are an almost daily occurrence.
Human rights groups say settlers suspected of violence against Palestinians are rarely arrested or detained, and by Friday evening up to four of the five detained in connection with Tuesday’s attack had been released, according to Israeli media reports.