Israeli settlers carry out violent attacks

IMEMC  26/04/2020

Since the start of the corona crisis, Israeli settlers have ramped up attacks against Palestinians throughout the West Bank, with full state backing.. . . . . some of them carrying firearms,  clubs, axes, electroshock weapons, stones and assault dogs, in some cases causing severe injury. . . . also attacked homes, torched cars, vandalized and uprooted olive trees and other crops, and stole livestock. . . .

‘Issa Qatash described the terrifying moments he endured in a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 18 April:

I could barely protect my head and face from the blows. Someone hit me hard on the mouth and I could feel my front teeth break. Blood started trickling into my mouth and down my face. I shouted and cried out: “For God’s sake, what did I do to you? Do you have no mercy? You’re killing me. Have mercy.” But none of them listened. At some point, I collapsed. I had no strength left. Then they tied my hands behind my back with some rope. The armed settler pointed his gun at my head and cocked it, as if he was going to shoot me in the head. I started reciting the “shahada” over and over: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” I thought my time had come to die.       

They kept on beating me and swearing at me, and threatened to kill me. Then they pulled me up on my feet. I could barely walk and it felt like my left leg was broken, but they forced me to walk. They led me, limping, through the wild oats, rocks, bushes and thorns. Every now and then I fell down, but they pulled me back up and forced me to keep walking. I was in a terrible state, bleeding from the mouth and hardly able to open my eyes, which were swelling up with every step I took. My throat was dry and I felt like I was dying of thirst. Psychologically, I was broken. It was a terrible situation, only God can imagine it. They kept slapping and kicking me and swearing at me the whole way. They spat on me, too.

These actions are part of a joint strategy by the settlers and Israeli authorities to systematically block Palestinian access to land – one acre, field, fertile plot, grove or pasture at a time – for decades on end, and take effective control of it. This way the state transfers the means of livelihood of Palestinians into the hands of Israelis. Settler violence is the state’s unofficial, privatized arm that serves to gradually achieve this goal.

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