Masked Israeli settlers beat 80-year-old Rabbi assisting Palestinian farmers with olive harvest

Masked Israeli settlers beat 80-year-old Rabbi assisting Palestinian farmers with olive harvest
Eighty-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai suffered blows to his head and a broken arm after masked settlers attacked him with a crowbar for helping Palestinian farmers.
2 min read
17 October, 2019
Rabbi Moshe Yehudai was attacked by settlers [Twitter]
An Israeli octogenerian activist was severely beaten in the occupied West Bank after he tried to protect Palestinian olive farms from armed settlers near the occupied village of Burin.

Eighty-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai said "he feared for his life" on Wednesday after masked Israeli setters charged at him with crowbars whilst he and a group of foreign volunteers were helping Palestinians harvest much needed olives.

Yehudai is a part of Rabbis for Human Rights, an organisation which recruits Israeli and foreign volunteers to accompany Palestinians at risk of settler violence when tending their crops.

More than 30 masked settlers charged at Yehudai and the other activists and farmers. According to Times of Israel, he was the fifth person in the group to be attacked and was left with injuries to his head and a broken arm.

Speaking from the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance whilst he was being treated for the injuries Yehudai recalled assisting the Palestinian farmers when the attack happened.

"Suddenly, the settlers came with their faces [covered]. They started running at us, they surrounded me, threw rocks at me, hit me with crowbars, giving me a head injury," he said.

"I told them I'm 80-years-old. Leave me alone," he added, lamenting that the assailants refused to do so. 

Palestinian farmers rely on the annual olive harvesting season for income.

Israeli settlers commonly vandalise Palestinian olive farms in a deliberate attempt to stifle their revenue, commonly by setting fire to olive farms and poisoning the plants.

For many Palestinians in rural areas they have little alternative to olive farming.

Last week, Israeli settlers set dozens of olive trees ablaze in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday morning, as farmers were preparing to bring in their harvests.

At least 70 olive trees were torched near the occupied city of Nablus as harvesting season began.

Illegal occupation

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various crimes against Palestinian civilians.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA); Area B's administration is controlled by the PA, with Israel controlling security; Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.

Along with stealing land, occupying Israeli forces and settlers are known to harass civilians, demolish Palestinian homes, poison livestock, vandalise property and other forms of violence.