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Witnesses: Settlers attack olive harvesters in Hebron

Oct. 12, 2012 5:33 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 14, 2012 11:26 A.M.)
HEBRON (Ma’an) -- A group of settlers attacked Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives in central Hebron on Friday, witnesses told Ma'an.

Wajdi Thabet Abu Aisheh, 25, fell as he was attacked by settlers in Tel Rumeida and was transferred to hospital with moderate injuries, Jawad Abu Aisheh said.

He was part of group harvesting olives in the area, which is under Israeli security control. Israeli forces protected the settlers and briefly detained two members of the Abu Aisheh family, he added.

On Thursday, a local group released a video showing settlers stealing olives from Palestinian farmland in the same area.

North of Hebron, a local activist said a group of settlers toured the town of Beit Ummar, and performed prayers at an Islamic cemetery.

Popular committee spokesman Mohammad Ayad Awad said a settler tried to attack him while he was taking photos, but an Israeli soldiers guarding the group prevented him.

Many farmers were harvesting olives in the area with their families, but avoided any confrontation with the settlers, he said.

Right group raises alarms

Israeli rights group B'Tselem said on Thursday it had documented five of the attacks since Sunday.

That day, the Abu Fahaida family found 25 ancient olive trees destroyed in al-Janiya, west of Ramallah.

B'Tselem said Israeli forces had been called to the same olive grove the day before after a group of settlers confronted the family, noting that the army's presence did not prevent the vandalism.

Also Sunday, farmers from nearby Beitillu village going to harvest were attacked with stones by ten masked settlers, who are also suspected of setting fire to the field.

B'Tselem said Israeli soldiers faced difficulties controlling the settler group and removed the Palestinian harvesters while firing in the air.
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