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Israeli settlers hurl stones at Palestinian homes in South Hebron Hills

Aug. 29, 2017 1:38 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 7:10 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers raided the Bedouin community of Umm al-Kheir in the South Hebron Hills region of the occupied West Bank on Tuesday and attacked Palestinian homes with rocks and glass bottles, Palestinian Authority-owned Wafa news agency reported.

Rateb al-Jabour, a local activist, told Wafa that Israeli settlers from the illegal Karmel settlement located just next to the isolated Palestinian village hurled stones at homes belonging to the Hathalin family, "terrifying children and causing damage to some of them," the report said.

No injuries were mentioned in the report.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into the incident.

Suleiman Hathalin said that his family is regularly attacked by Israeli settlers in an attempt to intimidate the Bedouin community to leave their lands so that the illegal settlements in the area can continue to expand.

According to Jabour, Israeli authorities delivered seven demolition orders to the Dababseh family in Khirbet Khillet al-Dabe last week, which is also located in the South Hebron Hills adjacent to two illegal Israeli settlement outposts, Maon and Havat Maon, Wafa's report said.

The South Hebron Hills, known locally as Masafer Yatta, lie almost entirely in Area C, the 62 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civil and security control since the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region, according to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ).

The Umm al-Kheir community has faced ongoing threats of displacement since the Karmel settlement was illegally established in 1981, and has since expanded onto villagers’ lands.

While the hundreds of thousands of Israelis living in Jewish-only settlements across the occupied 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.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

Yesh Din said last Thursday that over the past month, the organization documented 14 incidents of violence against Palestinians and damage to their property in the occupied West Bank, including at least one rock-throwing incident targeting Umm al-Kheir.
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