Police launched an investigation Saturday into a reported assault of left-wing activists by a group of some 15 Jewish settlers near Mitzpeh Yair, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.
According to a Facebook post by Ta’ayush, a Jewish-Arab organization to which the activists belong, five of its members were rushed to the Soroka Hospital in Beersheba for emergency medical treatment after being attacked with sticks and stones.
The five individuals suffered light wounds, the Hadashot news station reported.
Police said they received a call from IDF forces in the area reporting that members of the NGO had arrived in Mitzpeh Yair to film and were attacked by a group of masked youths from the settlement.
The activists were allegedly documenting illegal construction in a nearby outpost. Members of the organization have often accompanied Palestinian farmers in the area who claim that access to their lands is often blocked by settlers.
The chairman of the Har Hebron Regional Council, Yohai Damari, said in a statement that the Ta’ayush activists, which he called “extremist anarchists,” entered two private homes in the settlement to “generate a provocation.”
Damari said “any sane person whose house is broken into would have moved to protect his home and his family and drive away the criminals.”
He intimated that the reported injuries were fake and that they were “theatrics mean to generate headlines.”
A B’Tselem spokesperson denied that the activists entered homes in the settlement.
Damari called on the IDF to issue restraining orders against the activists, whose presence he said, “leads to law violations and harms our community.”
The police said its forces launched an initial investigation into the circumstances leading to the incident.
Ta’ayush said a number of cameras and other equipment had been damaged in the attack.
Last week, the Israeli military removed from active duty a reserve soldier who was recorded hitting a member of the Ta’ayush Jewish-Arab rights group several days earlier in the Hebron Hills area, near the Pnei Hever settlement.