Israeli settlers attack Palestinian herders south of Hebron


Armed Israeli settlers today attacked Palestinian cattle herders in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron, injuring several, according to a local activist. Rateb Jabour, an anti-settlement activist, said that scores of armed settlers assaulted livestock herders using clubs and hurled stones at them, inflicting bruises across the bodies of several of the herders and forcing them to flee. The assailants came from the colonial settlements of Mitzpe Yair, Maon and Ya'acov Dalia, that encroach upon villagers’ lands. The settlers, Jabour added, attempted to break into Shi'b al Butum and Khirbet al-Fakhit, two of the hamlets making up Masafer Yatta, but their attempt was fended off by the residents. Masafer Yatta is a collection of almost 19 hamlets that rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood. Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living - livestock. It has been designated as a closed Israeli military zone for training since 1980s and is accordingly referred to as Firing Zone 918. Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent. There are over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in colonial settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention.