Five of the activists, who were there to protect Palestinian shepherds from settler attacks, were themselves wounded by Israeli settlers.
A group of masked Israeli settlers attacked over a dozen activists with Jewish-Arab solidarity group Ta’ayush in the Jordan Valley on Friday morning. The activists were accompanying Palestinian shepherds working near al-Auja, which is near Habaladim, an Israeli outpost.
Last year, in addition to their regular activities in the South Hebron hills, Ta’ayush activists also started going to the Jordan Valley to work with Palestinian communities threatened by Israeli settlers. Until recently, they focused their work in the northern part of the valley, but for the last two weeks they have also accompanied Palestinians in the al-Auja area due to violence settlers have been inflicting on local shepherding communities.
“The settlers showed up with clubs last week also,” said one of the Ta’ayush activists who witnessed the violence. “But last week they didn’t go any further than the adjacent hilltop — maybe they didn’t understand who we were. This week they didn’t stop there.”
The Baladim outpost is one of the more hard-core settlements in the area. “The most radical and marginalized hilltop youth are there, the type even the rabbis can’t control and don’t even want them there,” the activist continued. “The police also keep an eye on them and show up from time to time, but they basically hide in caves. They’ve become a nightmare for the shepherds in this area.”
On Friday, the settlers advanced toward the activists armed with clubs and stones, and violently attacked them, as the video shows. Five of the activists were wounded, one in the head. The activists reported the attack to the police, whom they had informed in advance they would be accompanying the shepherds.
“When we saw them approaching us we stood in a line with the shepherds behind us,” the activist recalled. “We yelled at them to get away but they kept coming and attacked.”
“Because the attack took place in a location without any access roads, we were forced to walk down a steep path for around 40 minutes until we reached asphalt, where an ambulance was waiting,” he continued.
“The police who showed up told us to go to the Binyamin police station in order to file a complaint, but when we got there the station was empty — not a single soul was there and we had no choice but to leave. If any of the activists want to file a criminal complaint they will have to come back to the station on Sunday.”
According to the activist, one of the police officers who arrived at the scene told him that two people had been arrested following the attack.
A police spokesperson said only that they had “received a report about the incident, and the police opened an investigation.”
This article first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.