Thursday, June 19, 2008

Two Arrested For Attacks On Settlers On The Susiya Settlement

You may remember seeing these images recently of Palestinians being apparently attacked by Israeli settlers:

The pictures were captured as a result of B'Tselem's 'Shooting Back' scheme that provided video cameras for Palestinians to record the abuses they suffer at the hands of settlers. Amazingly, these pictures were posted on the BBC, amazing because it is very rare for a major media organisation to reproduce such footage. Usually such incidents are portrayed as mythical events in the imagination of so-called anti-Semites and are therefore disregarded.

In this instance, however, it would appear that the Israeli police have actually arrested two settlers that they suspected were responsible for the attack. B'Tselem reports [this link also provides further links to individual testimonies and further videos]:

Today [17 June 2008], the Israeli police arrested two settlers suspected of attacking Palestinians in the Southern Hebron Hills. On 8 June 2008, four masked settlers with clubs attacked three members of the Nawaj’ah family who were grazing their flock on private Palestinian land south of the Susiya settlement. The victims suffered severe injuries and required hospitalization. A fourth member of the family documented the beginning of the assault with a video camera she had received from B'Tselem.

The Nawaj’ah family lives in Khirbet Susiya, a small encampment in the Southern Hebron Hills just south of the Susiya settlement. They live in tents and support themselves by grazing their flock and working their land. As they are the object of frequent attack by settlers, B'Tselem has given the family a video camera as part of its "Shooting Back” project.

On 8 June 2008, ‘Imran a-Nawaj’ah, 32, went with two of his children to graze his flock south of the settlement, on a plot of land belonging to a resident of the nearby Samu’ Village. Although an Israeli court has declared the land a military zone closed to Israelis, two settlers drove up to the shepherds on a tractor and tried to drive them off the land. When a-Nawaj’ah refused and told the settlers he had court permission to be on the land, they threatened him and then drove off toward the settlement. Fearing an attack, A-Nawaj’ah sent his son to the encampment to call for reinforcement. Khalil, 61, Tamam, 60, and Rabiha A-Nawaj’ah, 29, came quickly to the spot along with Muna, 25, who managed to film the settlers leaving the site....

If you want to find out more about the 'Shooting Back' scheme, click here and see what other materials have been captured here. Sadly, most of these incidents will not be replayed on the BBC. Such exposure is clearly an isolated incident to provide 'balance' rather than to broaden understanding of the tensions in the region.