On Saturday morning a handful of Israeli Ta’ayush activists accompanied the Awad and Jabarin families to their farmlands, located where the illegal outpost Mitzpeh Yair now stands. Upon their arrival, Israeli soldiers were already waiting for them with a closed military zone order. The 20-30 Palestinian residents, many of whom were children, were already spread out over the area when settlers who had arrived at the scene began attacking them.
According to a Ta’ayush activist named Maria who was there, around 10 settlers attacked the Palestinians and the Israelis. They stole her camera and smashed it to pieces. When she screamed out to the police officer, he retrieved the broken camera and handed it back to her, but did not take the assailant into custody. According to Maria and several other activists on the scene, this violent confrontation provoked by the settlers continued for about 20 minutes, without any of the army or police officers doing a thing to stop it. And in fact, as is quite evident from the footage below, the authorities present aligned themselves with the settlers, some even taking part in acts of brutality against the Palestinians.
At one point in in the video below (00:15) one can see a Border Police officer kicking a Palestinian woman – not so much with violence as with total disrespect and disdain, and in the most un-police like behavior imaginable. He then proceeds to manhandle a Palestinian child.
According to the activists, a total of 17 people were detained by the police, 10 Palestinians were immediately released, and two Israelis and five Palestinians were taken to the police station in Kiryat Arba. According to the Ta’ayush activists, during the arrest and while already in custody, the Border Policeman and soldiers were violent with them, causing several youths, including girls, injuries and bleeding. A total of three cameras were damaged. All this, because Palestinians were trying to access their own lands.
Here is a video showing how a camera was pried away by a settler:
The Palestinian lands in and around Mitzpeh Yair, which I have reported on many times in the past as a flashpoint of settler violence and army complacency/collusion, have been closed off in recent months by the IDF with closed military zone orders. Every time the Palestinian residents try access their lands, the IDF waves them away with the order. That is, if the settlers have not already done so through intimidation and violence.