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Israeli settlers assault peaceful hiking group in Ramallah

July 20, 2018 3:26 P.M. (Updated: July 21, 2018 1:00 P.M.)
(File)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers of the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish, in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, attacked participants of "Hike and Explore Your Homeland" group under armed security by Israeli soldiers, on Friday.

The Hallamish illegal Israeli settlement is built over confiscated lands of Palestinian villages of Nabi Salih and Deir Nidham, in the central district of Ramallah.

The Israeli settlers of Hallamish attacked a peaceful group of known as "Hike and Explore Your Homeland," who were trying to reach the Ein al-Zarqa natural spring in the Palestinian town of Beitello in the Ramallah district.

The group regularly hikes around various sites to give young Palestinians a chance to get more informed about Palestine and its landscape.

Armed Israeli settlers along with Israeli forces attacked the group while on their weekly tour of Palestinian areas; they forcefully attempted to prevent the group from advancing in the tour and physically assaulted some of the participants, while shouting racist expressions and insults at the group.

The attack comes as an attempt by Israeli settlers to prevent people, Palestinian landowners, and tourists from reaching the area near the settlement, which they have been planning to confiscate for further expansion of the illegal Israeli settlement.

This is not the first time Israeli settlers have attempted to prevent Palestinian groups from moving freely; tour groups are often attacked in the area and landowners are prevented from reaching their lands in preparation for confiscation.

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 recent announcements of settlement expansion provoking condemnation from the international community.

The Palestinian government has no jurisdiction over Israelis in the West Bank, and acts carried out by Israeli settlers often occur in the presence of Israeli military forces who rarely act to protect Palestinian residents.

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

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