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4 Palestinian kids injured after jumping from car in contested incident with Israeli settler

Aug. 11, 2017 11:08 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 12, 2017 3:48 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- New details emerged on Friday afternoon about the case of four Palestinian Jerusalemite children who were injured in contested circumstances on Thursday in an incident involving an Israeli settler.

Initial reports from locals, received and published by Ma’an, said that the four boys were “deliberately run over” by an Israeli settler vehicle in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan early Thursday evening.

On Friday, however, the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center released a statement saying that the settler, who lives in an illegal Israeli settlement built on the lands of Silwan, “started driving his pickup truck while the children were sitting in the trunk of the vehicle.”

“The Israeli settler began driving the vehicle very fast, passing the grocery store that the children wanted to go to,” the statement said, “the children started hitting on the back glass of the vehicle to tell the settler to stop, but he didn’t, and continued driving away at a high speed, frightening the children and leading them to jump from the speeding vehicle.”

The children reportedly told the center that they were scared the settler would kidnap them or “take them away from their homes.”

It was the jump that caused the four boys’ injuries, not being hit head-on by the car, as was previously reported.

It remained unclear why the boys were in the back of the settler’s vehicle.

The center identified the four children as 6-year-old Hamza Taysir Abu Sbeih, 9-year-old Youssif Mazen Raman, 9-year-old Amir Taysir Abu Sbeih, and 11-year-old Anas Himuni.

Raman broke a tooth in the fall, Amir Abu Sbeih sustained a “deep injury in his knee” that required stitches, while the two others sustained bruises.

According to the center, a group of Israeli forces were stationed at the scene where the boys jumped and sustained injuries. The soldiers “just stood without intervening, while locals called an ambulance to the area that transferred the children to Hadassah hospital,” the center said.

The statement added that after Israeli police did not show up at the hospital to investigate the incident, the boys’ families called the police, who told the families that the settler had traveled to a police station and reported the incident.

The center highlighted that the families were demanding an investigation be opened.

An Israeli police spokesperson previously told Ma’an that he was unaware of the incident when it was being reported as a deliberate car-ramming attack. Following the new reports, Ma’an reached out to the police for comment, but a spokesperson was not immediately available.

While it remains unclear what the motives of the settler were in the incident, 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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