'I thought I was going to die': Israeli settlers attack Palestinian journalist near Nablus

'I thought I was going to die': Israeli settlers attack Palestinian journalist near Nablus
"I was intensely afraid, for a moment I thought I was going to die," said journalist Moatasem Saqf Al-Hait, after being attacked by Israeli settlers.
4 min read
West Bank
01 March, 2023
Israeli settlers continued their attacks on Palestinians since Sunday. [Getty]

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian journalist late on Wednesday at an Israeli army's checkpoint near the village of Zaatara, south of Nablus.

Muatasem Saqf Al-Hait, a photojournalist for the local Quds News Network was attacked by Israeli settlers while on duty, on his way to the house of Sameh Aqtash, the 37-year-old Palestinian relief worker from Zaatara, who was killed by Israeli settlers during the pogrom on Hawara on Sunday.

"I was driving my car slowly through the checkpoint, when I noticed a group of settlers approaching me from behind, so I kept calm and continued to drive forward," Saqf Al-Hait told The New Arab.

"The next moment, I saw another settler coming towards me from the front, so I stopped fast and almost hit him, which is when an Israeli soldier who was guarding the checkpoint from behind a cement cube rushed towards the car pointing his rifle at me," Saqf Al-Hait described.

"As I stopped my car, the settlers from behind began to throw rocks at me, while the settler at the front threw a very big rock at the front windshield which caused big cracks on it," he added.

"Then I drove around the settler and left the checkpoint as fast as I could," he said. "At the moment I was intensely afraid, I thought I was going to die, but fortunately all the damage was sustained by the car and I didn't get hurt."

The attack came three days after hundreds Israeli settlers launched a wave of pogroms against Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank that killed one Palestinian, injured 100 more and destroyed more than 30 houses and other property, mostly concentrated in Hawara, south of Nablus.

Settler attacks also included two Palestinian villages in the northern Jordan Valley, where settlers broke into 13 houses and destroyed their contents, and destroyed solar panels and water tanks. Settlers also attacked an ambulance south of Jenin and injured a Palestinian mother who was accompanying her 12-year-old sick daughter to Ramallah.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose movement restrictions on the city of Jericho in the Jordan Valley, for the third day following a shooting attack that killed one Israeli settler.

"Movement into the city is relatively easy, but the occupation army is searching in detail every vehicle coming out and sending many people back to the city," Omar Abuawad, a Jericho resident, told TNA.

"Occupation forces also closed the way out of Jericho, through Aqbat Jabr refugee camp towards the Jordanian border, which is the only way out of the country for Palestinians in the West Bank, and many people who came to Jericho on their way out of the country got stuck in the city," he pointed out.

"The prices of fruits and vegetables, Jericho's main products, have dropped dramatically since Sunday, because traders who come to take the production out to other Palestinian cities haven't been able to come, and some farmers say that their production is beginning to rot," he added.

In early February, Israeli forces raided the refugee camp of Aqbat Jabr in Jericho, killing five Palestinians, two of whom it accused of being armed members of Hamas. The city has been at the center of Israeli escalation since.

Israeli escalation, by army forces and settlers against Palestinian cities and communities in the occupied West Bank has been on the rise in recent months, including military raids into cities and refugee camps, killing at least 63 Palestinians since the beginning of the year.