Settlers hurl stones at home of Hebron Palestinian activist; several detained by IDF

No injuries reported in attack against Issa Amro; video appears to show soldiers standing by during assault, army says footage partial

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

Settlers are seen hurling stones and bottles at the home of Issa Amro in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 8, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)
Settlers are seen hurling stones and bottles at the home of Issa Amro in the West Bank city of Hebron, March 8, 2023. (Screenshot: Twitter)

A group of Israeli settlers hurled stones at the home of a Palestinian activist in the West Bank city of Hebron on Wednesday, footage showed, before some were detained by soldiers.

The footage shared by the activist, Issa Amro, on Twitter showed Israeli soldiers apparently standing by as the settlers pelted the home with stones and bottles.

The Israel Defense Forces said the footage was partial and “does not represent the complete conduct of the forces in the field.”

“You can clearly see soldiers who are at the very heart of the attack but do not act to stop the attackers,” the dovish Breaking the Silence organization said in a statement.

Soldiers are legally permitted — even required in some cases — to intervene to prevent violent attacks, regardless of nationality. The military generally prefers that police deal with the attacks and settler arrests, but police forces are stretched thin in the West Bank.

The IDF said troops and Border Police officers worked to break up the “friction,”  stop the stone-throwing and detain suspects.

Another clip showed soldiers rushing to the scene. According to the IDF, the troops detained a number of suspects allegedly involved in the attack, and handed them over to police for further questioning.

Nobody was reported hurt in the Hebron attack.

There has been a noted rise in settler attacks against Palestinians, as well as Israeli security forces, following a string of recent terror attacks.

Amro is a prominent activist who lives alongside the Jewish settlement in Hebron.

He was assaulted by an IDF soldier in Hebron last month, who was later sentenced to 10 days in military prison.

In November, Amro filmed an Israeli soldier in Hebron taunting him and other activists. A second clip from the same incident showed another soldier assaulting a left-wing activist. Both soldiers were given short jail sentences.

Palestinian activist Issa Amro speaks to Israeli activists in the West Bank city of Hebron, Friday, Dec. 2, 2022 (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Amro is a longtime critic of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority who has faced charges in both Israeli and Palestinian courts. In 2017, Amro spent a week in a Palestinian prison for his criticism of PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

During a recent court hearing, a police representative testified against Amro, calling him a provocateur who “creates friction” in Hebron with his tours for Israelis and others in the city.

Amro’s home is often a regular stop for those touring Hebron with the left-wing Breaking the Silence NGO, which seeks to show what it says are the human rights costs of Israel’s military presence in the largely Palestinian city.

The Hebron activist sat down with US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken last year during the top diplomat’s meeting with Palestinian civil society leaders in the West Bank.

Settler attacks against Palestinians have been on the rise in recent weeks, including unprecedented rioting in the West Bank town of Huwara on February 26 that led to multiple injuries and one death, hours after a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on an Israeli vehicle driving through the town, killing two brothers inside.

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