Violent settlers clash with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank over theft of goats from Palestinian shepherds

Violent settlers clash with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank over theft of goats from Palestinian shepherds
The incident, confirmed by Israeli officials, comes following the announcement of 3,300 new settlements by Israeli minister Bezalel Smotrich.
2 min read
25 February, 2024
Illegal settlers regularly terrorise Palestinians in their lands [Getty]

Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank attacked Israeli soldiers on Saturday night who were helping Palestinian shepherds search for their stolen goats.

The incident occurred as Israeli soldiers were searching the Hava outpost after Palestinian shepherds filed a complaint that 250 goats had been stolen and taken to the Hava outpost on Friday.

As soldiers took the shepherds to the outpost to identify the goats, settlers began arriving by car from surrounding outposts.

According to an Israeli activist speaking with Haaretz who accompanied the military and shepherds, the settlers began shaking his car and banging on the windows, ignoring army requests to leave, and questioning why Palestinians were in the outpost.

The activist added that settlers shoved an Israeli soldier who then fired warning shots into the air. A settler then yelled at the soldier "Did you shoot? Traitorous son of a b*tch".

Following the confrontation, and the arrival of more settlers, the Israeli soldiers and Palestinian shepherds left.

According to an Israeli security official speaking with Haaretz several goats were identified at the outpost as having been stolen, as well as confirming the incident took place.

The incident comes following the announcement by Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich that 3,300 new Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are to be constructed.

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The announcement drew international condemnation, with the EU's Josep Borrel calling the move "inflammatory and dangerous".

Anthony Blinken also condemned the announcement, saying: "Our administration maintains firm opposition to settlement expansion. In our judgement it only weakens, not strengthens Israel's security".

The comments are an apparent rollback of the 'Pompeo Doctrine' which saw official US support for Israeli settlements and their construction in the occupied West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem, which are illegal under international law.

The incident in the West Bank and the announcement of settlement expansion comes as the International Court of Justice hears testimony about the legal consequences of Israel's occupation of the West Bank and violations of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.

Since 7 October, 395 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in raids and attacks in the occupied West Bank.