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Peace group: Settlers attack international observers

July 29, 2011 10:23 A.M. (Updated: July 29, 2011 10:02 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Maon, south of Hebron, attacked two international observers on Wednesday, hitting one on the head with an iron bar, the Christian Peacemaker Teams said.

"At approximately 9:15 AM on July 27, 2011, masked settlers from the Havat Maon outpost armed with stones and an iron bar harassed three Palestinian shepherds and attacked two international observers. The settlers threw stones at the internationals, and hit one of them in the head with an iron bar," a CPT statement said.

"The Palestinian shepherds were out with their flocks on Palestinian land near Mesheha hill when the four masked settlers attacked them. The shepherds were able to leave the area, but the settlers attacked the internationals.

"One of the internationals was a member of Christian Peacemaker Teams, the other was visiting the area. The settlers destroyed the CPTer's camera and chased them both back to At-Tuwani. The CPTer went to the hospital and received 8 stitches."

Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove have documented 6 occasions since June 22, 2011 in which settlers from Havat Maon have attacked Palestinians or internationals near Mesheha Hill.

Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.

Havat Maon is also considered illegal under Israeli law, as are several outposts in the West Bank.

A report by the Palestinian Authority found that settler violence increased "dramatically" in June 2011, documenting 139 attacks in the West Bank and the destruction of over 3,600 olive trees and vineyards.

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