A Palestinian teenager is recovering in the hospital after being brutally beaten last week by a gang of Israeli settlers. According to a report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), this is sadly another attack in a recent uptick in violence by settlers against Palestinians with little in the way of consequences for the perpetrators.
From his hospital bed in Nablus, a city on the West Bank, 16-year-old Osama Jamil Daghlas recounted his assault to Palestinian news agency Wafa. According to the boy, he had been with his cousin in a field just outside his village of Burqa when a group of approximately 20 Israeli settlers approached them. Though he and his cousin tried to escape, Dhaglas was caught after one settler threw a rock and knocked him unconscious.
Daghlas told Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP) that he regained consciousness intermittently throughout the traumatic ordeal. At different points, he remembered settlers dragging him around 547 yards, sitting on him, and eventually tossing him from a stone wall he estimated to be 2.2 yards high. He said the settlers finally left after throwing a grenade next to his body, effectively leaving him for dead.
"After that they started to kick me and beat me up all over my body," he told Wafa. "Then they dragged me across the field for about one kilometer heading to their settlement at the top of the hill. My clothes were all torn and when we got on top of the hill, they pushed me and let me toll down the hill toward the valley.”
Due to the boy's condition, some of the exact details of the attack remain nebulous and differ slightly, but a shepherd reportedly found Daghlas unconscious and nearly naked in the road. They rushed him to a government hospital in Nablus where the doctors documented multiple head injuries and wounds across his legs, arms, belly, and back.
After years of decline in Israeli settler-instigated violence, in 2017 the OHCA noticed an alarming increase in attacks on Palestinians living in the West Bank. The 89 reported attacks, seven of which involved children and three which led to the death of a Palestinian, do not include instances of intimidation or discrimination, a fact of daily life for many in the occupied territory.
"DCIP demands an investigation into the identities of the perpetrators of this attack,” stated Accountability Program director at DCIP. “Repeated failure by the Israeli authorities to hold settlers accountable for attacks will continue to result in unchecked violence against Palestinian children.”
Children's vulnerability often makes them an easy target for those motivated to act on their hate. How youth are treated is an effective way to assess the social health of a community or region, and with Daghlas as only one example of the violence against young Palestinians, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is breeding terrifying consequences for the youth experiencing it daily.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters photographer Mohammed Salem