12 Palestinians injured in Israeli settler attack on Masafer Yatta

12 Palestinians injured in Israeli settler attack on Masafer Yatta
Palestinian residents of a south West Bank town who tried protecting their animal herds were attacked by Israeli settlers on Saturday.
2 min read
15 July, 2023
More than a thousand Palestinians fear eviction from Masafer Yatta following an Israeli court decision [Getty/archive]

At least 12 Palestinians were injured in an attack by Israeli settlers in Masafer Yatta on Saturday, said the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

The attack took place in the Sarura area of Masafer Yatta, located in the south of the occupied West Bank, as Israeli forces reportedly looked on and did not intervene.

The Palestinian residents had tried to defend themselves after settlers stormed their lands, damaging their crops and trying to run over their sheep.

Nidal Abu Aram, the head of the Masafer Yatta Council, told The New Arab’s sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the attackers came from Havat Ma'on settlement and tried to run over the herds with their vehicles.

Confrontations broke out as a result and Israeli forces fired teargas to disperse the Palestinians, as others were reportedly beaten.

Videos shared online purportedly show the moment somebody tried driving into a herd of sheep. Others show armed settlers.

The New Arab could not independently verify these videos.

"People tried to confront the settlers, but the [Israeli] occupation forces suddenly stormed the villages of Al-Tuwani, Saddat Al-Thaala, and Al-Mefqara and surrounded the area, indicating that the attack was planned," Abu Aram told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

"They started beating civilians and arrested a number of them, in addition to detaining international activists and anti-settlement activists from Masafer [Yatta]," he added.

The council head said Masafer Yatta’s residents are subject to multiple attacks by Israeli forces and settlers every day, including physical assault, the burning and destroying of crops, or through letting loose herds of animals in Palestinian lands.

The Israeli army declared a large part of Masafer Yatta a 'military firing zone' in 1980. Since then, Palestinians in the 12 villages in the area have been banned from any construction or freely cultivating their land and the Israeli authorities have issued expulsion orders against the majority of residents.

In May last year, the Israeli Supreme Court ended a 22-year-long battle over Masafer Yatta, ruling that there were no legal obstacles to expelling Palestinians from the area.

At the start of this year, the Israeli army informed the Palestinian Authority that they would soon evacuate eight of the 12 villages and most of the 1,200 inhabitants of the area for military drills.