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PA ministry of foreign affairs condemns settler attack on Palestinian teenage girl

April 21, 2017 1:28 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2017 7:05 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement Thursday evening condemning an attack that took place earlier in the day, when an Israeli settler injured a 17-year-old Palestinian girl after attempting to run her over with his car in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem.

“This is not the first crime nor the last to be committed by Israeli settlers against unarmed Palestinian civilians amid Israeli government protection for Israeli terrorist and settler groups,” the ministry said.

“We are facing a scene full of racism and colonial mentality where Israeli soldiers didn’t open fire at the settler that hit the Palestinian girl with his car and escaped,” the ministry added, highlighting Israel’s widely-condemned “shoot-to-kill” policy used against Palestinians suspected of attempting to carry out attacks against Israelis.

The ministry demanded that the international community, the United Nations Human Right Council and Security Council to condemn the attack “and expose Israeli racism and violations,” and to “conduct procedures to protect the Palestinian people from settler terrorism and Israel’s organized terrorism.

The ministry also called upon local legal organizations to follow up with the case and prosecute the assailant in Israeli courts.

The victim, Kawthar Muhammad Shawriya, was hit while walking on a road near her village of Tuqu, which is located adjacent to the illegal Israeli Tekoa settlement.

Palestinian drivers who witnessed the attack chased down the Israeli settler, forcing him to stop and pull over his car until Israeli police arrived at the scene. According to locals, Israeli police opened an investigation into the incident.

Shawriya was reported to be in moderate condition, and was transferred to the nearby Beit Jala Governmental Hospital for treatment.

Following the attack, the teenager’s family, headed to the Etzion detention center to file a complaint with Israeli authorities against the settler.

Incidents involving Israeli settlers hitting Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory are a relatively regular occurrence, and are usually treated by Israeli security forces as accidents, even in cases when witnesses claim the car rammings were deliberate.

Many Palestinian activists and rights groups have accused Israel of fostering a “culture of impunity” for Israeli settlers and soldiers committing violent acts against Palestinians.

Between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law, with announcements of settlement expansion earlier this year sparking condemnation from the international community.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 107 reported settler attacks against Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem in 2016.

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