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Archive for June 12th, 2008

Other Side of Story?

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Far too often when considering the Middle East do we see the big headlines and forget those smaller, but no less significant, unnecessary wanton streaks of violence, as Haaretz reports:

“A Palestinian woman, 57, was badly injured and her husband and another relative were battered, in an assault by masked Israelis in the southern Hebron Hills yesterday. The police are investigating whether the Israeli attackers hailed from the West Bank settlement of Susia, as the injured Palestinians claim.

The three, Thamem al-Nawaja, 57, her husband Khalil al-Nawaja, 70, and another relative, identified only as Imran, live in an encampment about three kilometers from Susia. They were herding sheep in midday when three settlers residing in the area, as they told an investigaro from the B’Tselem human-rights group, two of them with their faces masked, approached and demanded they leave the area. They refused and the settlers left, they said.

But not for long, claimed the Palestinians: This time four masked men armed with sticks arrived and began beating them. “I was in the field with my sheep, and masked settlers came and attacked us,” Thamem al-Nawaja related yesterday. “They hit me in the face and arm. My husband wanted to protect me and they hit him too. They don’t want our sheep grazing there. It’s our land they’re trying to take.” The victims claim to have identified an attacker, by his clothing, as one of the persons who had come earlier.

Thamem was badly injured, Khalil and Imran bruised all over. A nearby relative ran to the road to summon help. A passing Israeli army vehicle provided first aid, after which an ambulance evacuated Thamem to Soroka Hospital in Be’er Sheva and the other two to a hospital in Hebron. The three have pressed charges with the Be’er Sheva police. No suspects have been arrested.

B’Tselem commented that attacks by settlers on Palestinians in the area are not rare. “Incidents like this happen almost every weekend,” the organization said, adding that sometimes the attackers are masked. “Usually the law enforcement authorities are ineffective in deterring the criminals,” the organization said.

The Judea and Samaria Civil Administration said it would coordinate entry of Thamem’s family members into Israel to visit her in hospital.

The Yesh Din human rights organization commented that Palestinians have filed six complaints about assault in the last three months, including attacks by settlers and soldiers, an assault on a shepherd boy, stones thrown at another shepherd and children, and gunfire at a herd of sheep. Two of the cases have been closed on the grounds that the perpetrator was unknown.

Yesh Din added that the al-Nawaja family was attacked twice before, in 2007, and that the police closed both cases without charges. “The police are not investing their best effort in locating suspects in cases of attacks on Palestinians,” Yesh Din stated. The police stated that the Palestinians claim they were attacked by settlers, but given that the attackers had veiled their faces, their identities cannot be elucidated with surety. “

The Beeb covers this despicable violence:

“An elderly shepherd, his wife and a nephew said they were attacked by four masked men for allowing their animals to graze near the settlement of Susia.

The rights group, B’Tselem, said the cameras were provided to enable Palestinians to get proof of attacks.

A spokesman for the Israeli police said that an investigation was under way.

So far, no-one has been arrested.

The attack near Susia was filmed with one of 100 video cameras that B’Tselem has handed out to Palestinians in the region.

The thinking behind the project is that when trouble flares, rather than just giving a statement to the Israeli police or army, video carries much more weight.

“The difference is amazing,” says Oren Yakobovich, who leads the Shooting Back project.

We asked a spokesman from the Susia settlement for a comment on Sunday’s incident. He declined.

Inside one of the tents belonging to the Palestinians living near Susia, we watched the footage of the aftermath of the attack – the victims slumped by the roadside, bloodied, waiting for an ambulance.

The bright, wide eyes of the children shone with the light of the small television screen.

Violence against Jews as well as Palestinians has long scarred this place. Video may now may be giving us a new and raw view. “

Written by modernityblog

12/06/2008 at 21:47

Posted in Uncategorized