Israeli police officers impersonating Palestinian technicians were attacked by two teenagers in the illegal Jewish settlement of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion located in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.
According to a right-wing NGO, the Honenu organisation, the two policemen were approached by the teens who enquired as to why they were there, after receiving no clear answer, one of the settlers struck an officer, while the other was sprayed with pepper spray. Both of the suspects have been arrested and questioned.
Haaretz has reported that the police have not issued a statement on the operation, only confirming that one policeman was lightly wounded.
Although in some parts of the West Bank it is common to employ Arabs as labourers, the settlers of Bat Ayin adhere to the discriminatory and racist principle of “Hebrew labour” whereby the community does not employ Arabs at all.
A lawyer acting on behalf of one of the accused has described the Israeli police as causing a provocation in disguising themselves as Palestinians, “as everybody knows, this is a stressful time”.
Russia Today reported that last month an unnamed security official highlighted a sharp uptick in settler violence against Palestinians near Bat Ayin over the preceding weeks and that the perpetrators were coming to the settlement from Yitzhar, another recent hotspot for ethnically-motivated violence, because of a military crackdown on the anti-Palestinian attacks in that area.
B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, has described settler violence as being backed by the state, with the authorities shirking responsibility in protecting Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank amid violence towards themselves and their property.