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Israeli settlers attack Palestinians picking olives near Hebron

Oct. 27, 2017 5:33 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 29, 2017 1:39 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers reportedly attacked a group of Palestinian olive pickers on Friday in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.

Wafa reported that settlers from the settlement of Maon, built illegally on land belonging to the nearby Yatta town, physically attacked farmers -- including a woman -- harvesting their olives in the Masafer Yatta area, “causing them cuts and bruises throughout their bodies.”

Since the beginning of olive harvest season -- a longheld Palestinian tradition and way of life for many farmers -- earlier this month, several incidents of settlers attacking Palestinians while picking their olives have been reported.

The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.

The majority of settler attacks committed against Palestinians are met with impunity, with Israelis rarely facing consequences for such attacks.

Only 1.9 percent of complaints submitted by Palestinians against Israeli settler attacks result in a conviction, while 95.6 percent of investigations of damage to olive trees are closed due to failures of Israeli police, according to the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din.

Yesh Din, along with Israeli rights group B’Tselem, have previously condemned Israeli authorities for failing to protect Palestinians from settlers violence or investigate attacks, particularly during olive harvest season, when incidents of attacks on harvesters and their olive groves have been a near daily occurrence in past years.

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