Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the West Bank village of 'Einabus with the assistance of Israeli soldiers, according to a new report by human rights NGO B'Tselem.
On the morning of 6 March, two Palestinians – 'Ahed Hamad and Yasser Hamad – went to the northern part of the village to pave a road intended to help residents access their farmland.
Shortly after they began work, some 30 Israeli settlers, "some of them masked", arrived from the direction of the notorious Yitzhar settlement, located some four kilometres away.
"The settlers surrounded the bulldozer and began throwing stones at it, breaking the windshield," stated B'Tselem. "The two men tried to escape, but some of the settlers pursued them, throwing stones and hitting them, until they managed to escape into the village."
"The settlers who remained near the bulldozer threw stones and sticks at it and slashed its tyres."
Some 50 village residents then went to protect their lands, after which "the settlers returned in larger numbers, accompanied by soldiers".
Settlers and Palestinian residents "threw stones at each other", while Israeli occupation forces "fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and teargas" at the Palestinians. Six Palestinians were injured, of whom four were taken to hospital.
According to B'Tselem: "This incident is not unusual: settlers have attacked Palestinians in the presence of soldiers hundreds of time, with the soldiers sometimes – as in the present case – joining in the assault."
Israel effectively condones this conduct and reaps the benefits: the Palestinian residents, who know they face a possible attack with no protection at any given time, hold back from going to their farmland – to tend the land or graze flocks – and this makes it easier for the state to take over the land.