Video footage of a group of masked Israeli settler youths attacking a group of activists and Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley has received global media coverage. The attack left five activists injured.
The video was shared by the Jewish-Arab solidarity group Ta’ayush, who were escorting Palestinian shepherds near Al-Auja, a Palestinian town near the settlement outpost of Baladim in the eastern West Bank in the Jordan Valley on Friday.
Ta’ayush offers protection to Palestinian shepherds and farmers at risk of attacks by Jewish settlers. Independent media outlet 972mag reports the group recently began extending their work to the al-Auja area in response to settler violence.
The Baladim outpost is one of the most radical Jewish settler outposts, Haaretz reports. The right-wing residents, dubbed the ‘hilltop youths,’ have been known to rebel against the settler establishment while also clashing with Israeli authorities. Several of the Israeli youths were recently throwing stones at security forces near the outpost.
The original video was
by Sarit Michaeli, an advocacy officer for Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. It shows a group of at least 15 settlers, many with their faces covered, running towards the group of activists shouting and carrying sticks. They throw stones and large rocks at the group.
https://t.co/Ci8G0frPAI my video of settlers attacking Israeli & int activists accompanying pal herders. Five injured. Ein al-uja— Sarit Michaeli (@saritm0) April 21, 2017
Eyes On Events verified that the video was taken on Friday by contacting Ta’ayush and confirming that Michaeli was the original owner of the footage. Other activists present at the incident have confirmed the event in various media outlets and the police also released a statement on the attack.
The footage shows a settler hitting rights activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman on the head. According to Michaeli, Ascherman was treated in hospital along with two other activists; one who suffered a broken arm and the other a head wound.
Eyes On Events spoke to Eyal Raz, one of the activists who witnessed the event.
“There were 13 Israeli and international activists and other six Palestinian shepherds focused on working with flocks,” Raz said. “About fifteen young settlers wearing masks and with clubs and large stones arrived,” he added.
“They walked a great distance from the outpost where they live illegally in order to prevent the Palestinians from herding. When they got close to us [they] began to scream and run. They threw large stones, while shouting threats and curses.”
“We stood, walked slowly back slightly and mainly tried to keep separate them from the herd and keep shooting,” he said.
“Because they were masked difficult to estimate the age of the attackers,” Raz said, adding that he guessed there were some boys and some older youths.
According to Raz, they have previously experienced settler violence in the southern Hebron Hills, but Friday “was the first time things reached such extremes,” in the Jordan Valley area.
“The attack yesterday just underscored the need for continued standing in front of the attackers who think they can do whatever they want,” Raz said.
The scene of the attack is in a remote area, and the activists had to walk for 40 minutes to reach emergency services.
A police spokesperson said it had “received a report about the incident, and the police opened an investigation.”
The Jewish-American Anti-Defamation League denounced the settler attack on Friday, calling on Israel to “investigate and hold perps [perpetrators] accountable.”