Israeli settlers in brutal attack on Palestinian shepherds

Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian shepherds with rocks, sticks, and stun guns over the weekend, in the late assault on local Palestinians in the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank.

The gang of youths from the nearby settlement of Shadmot Mehola also smashed up a car belonging to an Israeli activist assisting the injured Palestinian with windows smashed and the chassis damaged.

Shadmot Mehola is a self described “religious community” settlement of around 150 families, close to the Jordan border, with grocery stores, hotels, and other amenities and access to main highways, while the local Palestinian population live under stifling military population.

“They came in order to make threats and act violently, they destroyed the vehicle, the tires were punctured. These were not small stones,” an Israeli activist told Haaretz.

Despite repeated warnings, Israeli police only arrived at the scene when the mob had left, leaving the unarmed Palestinian shepherds and peace activists to face the gang without protection.

“We saw a vehicle approaching us, the shepherd recognised them and wanted us to get into his car and drive away,” said Nurit Ofer of the Jordan Valley Activists group.

“They came nearer, one of [the settlers] approached the car, one of them tried to get in and I stopped him. They knocked my phone out of my hand twice, one of them also punched me. The shepherd got a kick in the back, and one rock they threw at the end hit my leg.”

A video of the assault showed a gang of young men intimidating the group by surrounding them with settlers, some appearing to be teenagers, lashing out at the woman activist holding the camera.

One of the activists was injured with a cut to his arm while a Palestinian shepherd was taken away by ambulance suffering from trauma.

Israeli settlers, often armed, routinely assault local Palestinians, sometimes fatally, with a huge increase in settler attacks since 7 October with whole Palestinian villages emptied due to the attacks.

The violence has reached such a level that the US, UK, and EU states have barred entry to some settler leaders, while Israel has gone ahead with the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are illegal under international law.

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