Masked settlers beat, throw rocks at Palestinian family in West Bank

Rights group B’Tselem says parents and 8 children were attacked near Mitzpe Yair outpost; parents taken to hospital for treatment

A member of the Alyan family after an attack allegedly by masked settlers, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, March 13, 2021 (B'Tselem)
A member of the Alyan family after an attack allegedly by masked settlers, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, March 13, 2021 (B'Tselem)

A group of around 10 masked alleged Israeli settlers beat and threw rocks at a Palestinian family in the West Bank on Saturday in an attack the family captured on video.

According to the B’Tselem organization, the Alyan family — two parents and their eight children — were working on their agricultural land near the illegal settler outpost of Mitzpe Yair, south of the West Bank city of Hebron, when the attack took place.

The family filmed part of the incident, which was released by the rights group.

In the footage, the assailants can be seen throwing rocks and brandishing batons as the children scream and cry in the background.

Left-wing activist Guy Butavia, who arrived on the scene shortly after the attack, told the Haaretz daily that the two parents were taken on stretchers by Red Crescent emergency services to a medical facility in Hebron.

B’Tselem said the family comes to work on that part of the land every Saturday but that settlers regularly prevent them from reaching the area. The organization said that legal proceedings were underway on the matter.

The vehicle belonging to the Alyan family after an attack allegedly by masked settlers south of the West Bank city of Hebron, March 13, 2021 (B’Tselem)

Also Saturday, the Yesh Din rights group reported an attack the day before by settlers in the northern West Bank.

According to Yesh Din, some 20 settlers coming from the direction of the Yitzhar settlement threw rocks Friday at a neighborhood in the town of Hawara, damaging two parked cars. The group has recently reported other attacks in the area.

“Settler violence is a crime meant to terrify Palestinians, take over their land and in this way expelling them. The systematic non-enforcement and silence of politicians encourages this violence,” Yesh Din director Lior Amihai said in a statement.

The windshield of a car in the northern West Bank town of Hawara that was damaged by alleged settler rock-throwing on March 12, 2021. (Yesh Din)

Incidents of vandalism and attacks against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks, with perpetrators claiming that they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement.

Arrests of perpetrators have been exceedingly rare and rights groups lament that convictions are even more unusual, with the majority of charges in such cases being dropped.

B’Tselem noted that the Alyan family lives in Um Lasafa, the same village as the five Palestinian children detained by Israeli soldiers in the south Hebron hills on Wednesday after settlers in an illegal outpost reported that they had trespassed on the site.

Video captured by the rights group showed the IDF soldiers forcefully hauling the children away and putting them in a military vehicle.

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