Police Allow Israeli Settlers To Attack And Beat Israeli And Palestinian Activists

Israeli settler and policeman attacks an activist (photo: Activestills)

Last Friday, Sept. 30, a small group of Israeli and Palestinian human rights activists accompanied a Palestinian who traveled to work on his land, which is located within the confines of Anatot, an Israeli West Bank settlement just outside Jerusalem. According to +972 Magazine, the activists “were met by a large group of settlers [from Anatot], who attacked them and reportedly cracked open the head of the landowner and attacked his wife.” (Haaretz reports that the activists provoked the settlers by “hanging Palestinian flags”). Police reportedly arrived to separate the two sides, however, activists say they repeatedly made calls to police after feeling threatened by the settlers but “they did not interfere” in the attacks.

Later that evening, the activists returned to Anatot and again, the Israeli settlers met them with more violence and again, the police did nothing to prevent the attacks, +972 reported:

Later in the day, more activists arrived to protest against the violence that took place earlier. They too were attacked and beaten and had stones thrown at them. In spite of police presence at the scene, the police did nothing.

Nineteen people were injured in the second attack, requiring medical attention, and three have been hospitalized. A total of 23 injuries were reported from this incident, and according to the twitter feed of a female activist who was there, settlers tried to rip her clothes off. There was also damage done to cars belonging to the activists, which were parked outside the settlement – smashed windshields, head and tail lights, and punctured tires.

Activists caught the attacks on video:

+972’s Yossi Gurvitz reported that one of the settlers that attacked the activists was actually a police officer. Eyal Raz, an activist in the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, wrote of the scene in Haaretz:

[The Anatot settlers] came to destroy, to break, perhaps even to kill. They used their hands, their fists and their teeth, along with stones, pipes and knives. They aimed for the photographers, the women, for the young and the old alike. They brought individuals down to the ground and assaulted them as they lay there, surrounded. They pounced on the hindmost of those trying to flee as they pursued their battered victims.

And Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity leader Sara Benninga said that while she has shrugged off previous experiences of harassment from authorities, her “perception changed” because of this incident:

Up until now, when I had experienced expressions of hate and violence from my surroundings, from policemen at demonstrations or from passersby on the street, I didn’t honestly believe that the whole system was against me. … [but] when policemen in uniform stand and quietly watch a violent and brutal crowd of about 200 people beat up a group of 50 people, the illusion of a rescuing justice is shattered.

But what’s also striking about the events in Anadot last Friday is that they are receiving scant media attention, particularly in Israel. Assaf Sharon, also affiliated with the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, suffered a broken nose from the violence. “I took quite a beating,” Sharon told ThinkProgress in an email, “I must confess that the pain of the blows and wounds dulls in comparison with the frustration from the silence and indifference with which this unprecedented event is being received.”