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Israeli settlers chase Palestinian child, throw rocks at family's home in Hebron

Aug. 12, 2017 10:43 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2017 5:41 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A group of Israeli settlers chased a Palestinian child and threw rocks at their house on Friday night in the Wadi al-Hassin area of Hebron city, located directly beside Israel’s illegal Kiryat Arba settlement.

Kayid Daana, the uncle of the child -- whose exact age was not provided -- told Ma’an that Israeli settler assaults against the community have increased over the past month. “Tonight, settlers attacked and chased my nephew,” he said.

Residents of Kiryat Arba are well known for their extremist ideologies and for their violent attacks against Palestinians.

Daana told Ma’an that the settlers had also thrown rocks at the family’s home.

Aref Jaber, a resident of the nearby al-Salaymeh neighborhood said that Israeli forces were deployed heavily in the area and examined the IDs of the local residents.

Meanwhile, in what was likely the same incident, Israeli media reported that an Israeli and two Palestinians were injured when Israeli settlers and Palestinians began throwing rocks at one another in the Hebron area on Friday night, adding that the injured were "evacuated to receive medical treatment after IDF forces separated both sides."

Often when Israeli settlers enter Palestinian neighborhoods and villages, Palestinian residents throw stones at the settlers to force them out of the area. Israeli settlers, meanwhile, are commonly seen carrying machine guns during encounters with Palestinians. There are many reported cases of Israeli settlers opening live fire on Palestinians during such incidents.

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment. An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that the incident would be under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police, despite photos from the scene showing the Israeli army present either during or following the attack. The spokesperson added that she would try to find some reports on the incident.

Earlier this month, four Palestinians were injured in Wadi al-Hassin after Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian homes in the area.

Over recent weeks, there have been routine reports of Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and their homes in the Hebron district, particularly in the Old City, where Israeli settlers have occupied the Abu Rajab family home for almost three weeks.

Some have claimed that the recent increase in settler attacks on Palestinians in Hebron have been sparked by a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decision last month to inscribe Hebron’s Old City on the World Heritage in Danger list.

Locals have told Ma’an in the past that they believe the decision has further galvanized extremist Israelis to assert claims on Palestinian properties in the city.

An upwards of some 600,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. The international community has repeatedly called their presence and rising population the main impediment to potential peace in the region.

The UN reported this month that after a three-year decline of settler attacks on Palestinians, the first half of 2017 showed a major increase in such attacks, with 89 incidents being documented so far this year.

“On a monthly average, this represents an increase of 88 percent compared with 2016,” the UN said. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians.

Israeli media has reported that the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, has also warned the Israeli government over the alarming trend and has “called on the government to adopt urgent measures to prevent further deterioration,” according to the UN.

Palestinian activists and rights groups have long accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

Meanwhile, Palestinians allegedly or actually committing any attacks on Israelis are often shot dead at the scene, in what rights groups have deemed "extrajudicial executions," or face lengthy prison sentences. In one case, Israeli authorities have gone so far as to rescind the Israeli citizenship of a Palestinian accused of attacking Israelis.
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