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Israeli settlers attack Palestinian mother and child in Hebron

May 14, 2016 10:10 A.M. (Updated: May 15, 2016 6:05 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian woman and her child late Friday night during an incursion into a home in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron's Old City in the southern occupied West Bank.

Emad Abu Shamsiya, a coordinator for Human Rights Defenders, told Ma’an that settlers attacked the house of Riyad Abu Hazza and beat his wife as settlers sprayed his daughter with pepper spray and caused her to faint.

Upon hearing the commotion, a group of volunteers rushed to the house to help fend off the settlers and provide first aid to Abu Hazza’s wife and child, Abu Shamsiya said.

Jawad Abu Aisheh, a coordinator for the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements, said the assault occurred after a weekly settler march took place in the city -- usually held on Fridays or Saturdays -- where Israeli settlers chant anti-Palestinian slogans, such as “Death to Arabs,” or “Gas the Arabs,” as they harass Palestinians and damage their properties.

Abu Aisheh told Ma’an that the near-daily settler attacks are only part of a much larger scheme of Israeli settlers attempting to push Palestinians out of the neighborhoods by creating an environment where they must constantly live in fear.

Israeli forces declared the area of Tel Rumeida a “closed military zone” in late October, and has since renewed the military order every month, only allowing Palestinian residents of the area with Israeli-issued identification numbers to enter.

However, according to Abu Aisheh, Sunday is expected to be the last day of the closed military zone as families in the area have not yet received another military decree.

Mistreatment of Palestinians in the Hebron area has been common since the city was divided in the 1990s after a US-born Israeli settler, Baruch Goldstein, massacred 29 Palestinians inside the Ibrahimi Mosque.

Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of the Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements which continually expand into the neighborhoods of the more than 6,000 Palestinians who reside within the Israeli-controlled area.

The several hundred Israeli settlers who illegally reside in Hebron have made attacks on Palestinians and their properties an almost daily occurrence for several decades.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, there has been a total of 30 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the start of 2016, and a total of 221 attacks in 2015.
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