A group of Israeli settlers assaulted a Palestinian shepherd in the village of Madama on Saturday, marking the latest in a string of violent attacks committed by residents of the notorious illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus.
Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that a number of Israeli settlers from Yitzhar, which is located just a few hundred meters south of Madama, assaulted Mamoun Amin Nassar and pelted him with stones.
The sources added that Nassar was transferred to Rafidiya governmental hospital in Nablus where his injury was described as medium.
In response to a request for comment, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that “a violent dispute developed between a Palestinian shepherd and several Israel civilians. During the dispute, an Israeli civilian hurled rocks toward the Palestinian and injured him.”
Palestinian communities living near Yitzhar have been subjected to a wave of violent attacks in recent weeks. Israeli soldiers have been documented standing by while Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinians on at least two occasions. According to Haaretz, there were no arrests after those incidents either.
In some cases, Israeli soldiers shot and injured Palestinians who were attempting to defend themselves from the settler attacks.
Following a violent attack in the village of Burin, just east of Madama, field researcher for the Israeli NGO Yesh Din, Moneer Kadus, who was injured after being struck by a rock, wrote in a statement on Facebook of his experiences since the string of attacks started about a month ago, when two separate incidents on April 22 left multiple Palestinians injured, including a 72-year-old woman. “In the weeks after that, it was one incident after another,” Kadus said.
Since 2005, Yesh Din has handled more than 1,100 cases in which a complaint was filed with Israeli police of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank. Of these, indictments were filed in only 90 cases (8 percent) of all the investigation files that concluded by the end of 2016.
While the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Jewish-only settlements across occupied the West Bank in violation of international law are permitted to carry guns, and are rarely held accountable for stone throwing or similar attacks, Palestinians face up to 20-years in prison for throwing stones where intent to harm could be proven, and 10 years where it could not.