UN Human Rights Office calls for protection of Palestinians in Hebron

RAMALLAH, The United Nations Human Rights Office in the Occupied Palestinian Territory urged Israel to take all necessary measures to prevent settler attacks against the Palestinian civilian population in the southern West Bank city of Hebron from such attacks, and to promptly conduct effective, independent and impartial investigations into cases of settler violence.

On 22 and 23 November, persons identified as settlers carried out at least six attacks resulting in injuries against the Palestinian civilians in H2 area of Hebron, which is under Israeli control, coinciding with a Jewish holiday, it said.

On many of the occasions, Israeli Security Forces present in H2 appeared to not take action to prevent the attacks or to protect the population. In one incident, eight members of an extended Palestinian family were beaten, including with batons, and pepper sprayed in the street in Wadi Al Hussein neighborhood by a group of around 50 settlers. The violent attack resulted in a broken arm of one family member, head injury of another, and six more family members briefly hospitalized for pepper spray inhalation and injuries to their bodies. Nearby, a 9-year old boy was reportedly kicked and sprayed with pepper spray by adult settlers, following which he was hospitalized, said the UN Human Right Office.

Several Israeli soldiers present near both incidents did not intervene or arrest anyone.

In another incident on 23 November, a large number of settlers threw stones and bottles at a house in Tel Rumeida, with one stone landing inside the house and injuring a toddler in the head. The family could not evacuate the boy for over 20 minutes due to the ongoing attacks against the house. As a group of six Palestinians carried the boy to checkpoint 56 where an ambulance was waiting, a group of settlers reportedly sprayed them with pepper spray.

Since the end of the mandate of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron on 31 January 2019, the frequency and intensity of settler attacks in H2 of Hebron has significantly increased, it said.

As the occupying power, Israel has the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of the Palestinian population, and to protect them from settlers’ attacks. Where attacks do occur, Israel holds the obligation to ensure that those responsible are prosecuted and punished.

Source: Palestinian News and Info Agency