HEBRON, Friday, December 18, 2020 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Friday morning broke into several Palestinian houses and assaulted their owners in Masafer Yatta village cluster, south of Hebron city, according to a local activist.
Coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committees Fuad al-Amour said that a group of armed settlers, under the military protection, forced their way into several houses in al-Markez community, ransacking them.
When the homeowners attempted to prevent the settlers from tampering with their houses, they were assaulted.
Another group of armed settlers sealed the entrances to Umm al-Kheir, At-Tuwani and Khirbet Shi‘b al-Butum hamlets, where they stopped and searched vehicles.
The settlers came from the nearby colonial settlement outpost of Mitzpe Yair, located about a kilometer to the west of al-Markez community.
Umm al-Kheir and Shi‘b al-Butum are two of the Palestinian communities in Masafer Yatta, a collection of almost 19 hamlets which 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 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.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Settlers‘ violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
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.