Israeli settlers continued today their unruly rampage in the occupied territories, attacking Palestinian civilians and commuters.
Sebastia mayor Mohammad Azzam told journalists that a horde of settlers attacked the home of a resident of this northern West Bank town, spraying pepper on the face of the family members causing them injuries and burns.
He said the settlers have been attacking Palestinian vehicles driving on the roads nearby, mainly near a checkpoint manned by Israeli soldiers who do not intervene to stop the settlers from throwing stones at the Palestinian vehicles.
The checkpoint, near the illegal Shavi Shomron settlement, has been closed by the army since mid-December following the killing of a settler nearby disrupting movement on a vital road that links the West Bank cities of Jenin and Nablus.
Yesterday Armed Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian cattle herders in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, injuring several, according to a local activist.
Rateb Jabour, an anti-settlement activist, said that scores of armed settlers assaulted livestock herders using clubs and hurled stones at them, inflicting bruises across the bodies of several of the herders and forcing them to flee.
The assailants came from the colonial settlements of Mitzpe Yair, Maon, and Ya’acov Dalia, that encroach upon villagers’ lands.
The settlers, Jabour added, attempted to break into Shi’b al Butum and Khirbet al-Fakhit, two of the hamlets making up Masafer Yatta, but their attempt was fended off by the residents.
Masafer Yatta is a collection of almost 19 hamlets that rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood.
Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living – livestock.
It has been designated as a closed Israeli military zone for training since the 1980s and is accordingly referred to as Firing Zone 918.
Israeli violations against the area include the demolition of animal barns, homes, and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.
There are over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in colonial settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.