HEBRON (Ma'an) -- An Israeli settler attempted to run over two Palestinian children in his vehicle on Thursday while they were on their way to school in the Beita Zaata area of Beit Ummar in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, according to local reports.
Local activist Muhammad Awad told Ma’an that the Israeli settler, identified as Eliahu, was on his way home from his work as a security guard in the illegal Karmei Tzur settlement in the southern part of Beit Ummar, when he saw Ahmad Saber Zamel Abu Maria, 11, and his sister Ritaj, 17.
He then proceeded to drift his car towards the two children, attempting to run them over while pointing a gun at them, according to Awad.
The children quickly fled to a nearby house.
Awad added that the children’s father was informed and immediately arrived to the area, while an Israeli army vehicle also arrived at the scene of the incident.
The settler then attempted to assault the father and threaten him. The Israeli soldiers did not attempt to protect him, Awad said.
Rights groups estimate the settler population in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to be between 500,000 to 600,000, all of whom reside in 196 illegal Israeli settlements in direct violation of international law.
There are a further 232 settler outposts scattered across the Palestinian territory considered illegal both by international law and Israeli domestic law -- despite Israeli authorities commonly retroactively legalizing the outposts, according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).
The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and violent acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces, who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.
Israeli human rights group Yesh Din, along with Israeli rights group B’Tselem, have previously condemned Israeli authorities for failing to protect Palestinians from settler violence or investigate attacks that occur on a frequent basis.
According to UN documentation, at least 101 settler-related attacks have been reported by Palestinians since the start of 2016. However, given the frequency of settler violence in the Palestinian territory, it is likely many incidents go unreported.