WATCH: Masked settlers attack Palestinians at Hebron checkpoint

Masked Israeli settlers attack, pepper spray Palestinians detained at the Beit Hadassah checkpoint in Hebron. Palestinian activist: ‘Had a Palestinian attacked the settlers, the entire neighborhood would have already been punished.’

By Yael Marom

A video released Saturday shows four settlers violently attacking two Palestinians who were detained by Israeli soldiers near the Beit Hadassah settlement in the city of Hebron.

According to the organization “Youth Against Settlements,” whose activists filmed the incident, two Palestinians were detained by Israeli soldiers near Beit Hadassah on Saturday, an area known for settler violence. The Palestinians began arguing with the soldiers when four settlers who were in the area intervened. According to the Palestinian activists, tempers began to flare and the four settlers went into Beit Hadassah, only to come out a few minutes later with their faces covered.

The video, shot by one of the YAS activists shows the masked settlers assaulting the Palestinians (one of the soldiers seems to be caught in the confrontation) and pepper spraying one of the Palestinians in his faces as he attempts to flee.

According to Israeli news site Walla!, the IDF claims that one of the detained Palestinians had been summoned for interrogation — most likely for throwing stones — and that the police force of the Judea and Samaria district has opened an investigation on the matter. Youth Against Settlements activist Issa Amro claims that the Palestinian arrested on Saturday is a tour guide who passes through the checkpoint on a regular basis. Amro told +972’s sister site, Local Call, that although the video of the attack was passed on to the police, not a single settler has been arrested. “The police said that arrests are made only after Shabbat,” Amro said, adding that he doesn’t understand why it is okay “to attack people on Shabbat, but not to arrest them on Shabbat.”

“Had a Palestinian attacked the settlers, the entire neighborhood would have already been punished,” added Amro. “All the Palestinians in the area would have been detained and the soldiers would have gone from home to home. If the police and the army won’t stop settler violence against Palestinians, their violence will only get worse. In the end it will only cause those who are routinely attacked to use violence against the settlers.”

Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.

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