IDF called to scene of clash after settlers attack Palestinians near Homesh

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Settlers from Homesh hurl stones at Palestinians on March 26, 2020. (Yesh Din)
Illustrative: Settlers from Homesh hurl stones at Palestinians on March 26, 2020. (Yesh Din)

The Israel Defense Forces says its troops were called to the scene after a group of Israeli settlers attacked a number of Palestinians in the northern West Bank with rocks and firearms, injuring at least three of them.

According to the left-wing rights group Yesh Din, the Palestinian farmers had gone up to the area near the nominally abandoned Homesh settlement, which Israelis were meant to have left following the 2005 disengagement but is in practice the site of a still-occupied illegal outpost.

“As they were on the way to their lands, a vehicle blocked the path behind them, while at the same time, about 15 settlers charged towards them while throwing stones and armed with clubs. The settlers managed to trap one of the Palestinians,” the director of Yesh Din says.

According to the group, the Palestinian man was beaten with clubs and rocks and was pepper-sprayed. Two other Palestinian men were also injured by stones.

The IDF says there was “mutual rock throwing,” but acknowledges that the Israeli settlers were armed with guns and fired them into the air during the clash.

“The conflict has broken up. IDF troops are in the area,” the military says.

According to Yesh Din, which published a number of graphic photographs of the Palestinians’ injuries and of the attack itself, the Israel Police and military were immediately called when the assault began, but “it took the police and army a long time to arrive at the scene.”

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