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In video: Settlers beat Israeli activist protecting Palestinians

Feb. 9, 2014 11:34 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2014 10:02 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Footage released by a rights group on Saturday appears to show Jewish settlers beating an Israeli activist as he tries to defend Palestinian farmers while Israeli soldiers look on.

The videos released by joint Israeli-Palestinian human rights group Ta'ayush show an Israeli activist who has accompanied Palestinians to their farm lands in the village of Khirbet Shuweika in the South Hebron Hills being assaulted by Jewish settlers.

The videos, which could not be independently verified, also show that after the settlers have beaten the activist, an Israeli soldier approaches the settlers but pats one of them on the back and does not attempt to detain or reprimand them in anyway.

According to Israeli alternative news website 972, the assault occurred around 11 a.m. on Saturday.

An Israeli activist affiliated with Ta'ayush had accompanied local Palestinians after they had been prevented from reaching their lands numerous times in recent weeks by local settlers, even though Israeli authorities recognize the area as private Palestinian land.

The Jewish settlers were from the nearby Eshtemoa outpost, and according to an activist affiliated with the group, none of them were detained by Israeli forces.

Following the attack, the activist went to the Kiryat Arba police station and Israeli authorities said an investigation would be launched into the incident.

Israeli news site Haaretz quoted an IDF spokesperson as saying that the video was "tendentiously edited," and that Israeli soldiers on the scene had acted to "distance" the settlers and call on police to investigate the incident, as per protocol, according to 972.

In 2013, there were 399 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

In the last week alone, hundreds of olive trees across the West Bank have been chopped in a number of incidents targeting Palestinian farmers' livelihoods.
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