Settlers said to slaughter Palestinian’s sheep in northern West Bank

Shepherd says he was assaulted by Yitzhar residents, who also stole a number of his flock, in apparent hate crime; police investigating

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Illustrative A Palestinian shepherd in the Jordan valley, November 20, 2009. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)
Illustrative A Palestinian shepherd in the Jordan valley, November 20, 2009. (photo credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

Israel Police said Wednesday they were investigating a complaint that a group of settlers from Yitzhar in the northern West Bank attacked a Palestinian shepherd and killed five of his sheep in an apparent hate crime.

Photos from the scene showed the shepherd from the neighboring village of Einabus with the mutilated sheep. The man told the Yesh Din rights group that he was assaulted by the settlers who also stole a number of his animals besides those that were killed.

No additional details were provided. Yitzhar residents have been involved in a series of attacks against Palestinians and their property, in many cases in so-called “price tag” hate crimes in retribution for Palestinian terror attacks.

For their part, Israeli shepherds have long accused Palestinians in the West Bank and Bedouin in the Negev of stealing their sheep.

One of five sheep belonging to a Palestinian shepherd allegedly slaughtered by Israeli settlers from Yitzhar. (Courtesy: Rabbis for Human Rights)

The IDF in a statement said it was aware of the complaint, and confirmed that police were investigating the incident. The statement underscored that Israeli authorities view such incidents in the West Bank “gravely.” and vowed to help arrest those involved.

Separately, police arrested two Israelis on Sunday suspected of assaulting a Palestinian bus driver outside the Kiryat Arba settlement in the southern West Bank.

The driver, Salah Abu Jamal, told Hebrew media that a number of passengers began badgering him immediately upon boarding, and shining a flashlight at his rearview mirror in an effort to blind him. Abu Jamal said he attempted to get off the bus after pulling over, but was blocked by one of the disruptive passengers who punched him in the face.

Police in a statement said the Israelis, aged 19 to 21, were drunk at the time of the incident. Authorities vowed that violence directed at service providers would be met with “zero tolerance” and said their investigation into the incident was ongoing.

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