Israeli settlers beat a Palestinian farmer with clubs and metal pipes on Monday, leaving the 62-year-old with nine fractures in his jaw and neck. Doctors said they could not stop the victim’s bleeding for nine hours.
The attackers came from the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, which is in the occupied West Bank and has earned a reputation for its violence against nearby Palestinians. In addition to the beating of Tayseer Hasan Saliman, settlers from the Yitzhar area have attacked Palestinians approximately 25 times in just the past six months, using guns and stones, destroying olive trees, and killing sheep when doing so.
Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din said it sent a letter to the Israeli Defense Forces demanding troops protect Palestinians living near the settlement, but the army has not responded in any substantive way.
Approximately 500,000 settlers live in settlements in occupied territories, which have been deemed illegal by international law.
Settler attacks on Palestinians frequently occur, and the continuing violence without punishment shows that the settlers act with the tacit approval of the Israeli state. Only 8 percent of attacks involving “ideologically motivated offenses against Palestinians” between 2013 to 2016 resulted in indictments, according to Yesh Din.
The prosecutorial double standard is visible when contrasting the frequency of unpunished attacks against Palestinians or even Israeli soldiers with the harsh punishment of Palestinians who instigate any sort of violence against state representatives. The case of Ahed Tamimi, who was sentenced to eight months in prison after slapping an IDF soldier, helped publicize the disparity in the way Israel treats Jewish Israelis and Palestinians.
A settler teen who tried to stab Rabbi Arik Ascherman with a knife earlier this year was sentenced to community service. Meanwhile, a Palestinian teen is filmed slapping an IDF soldier in her village and the Education Minister calls to imprison her for the rest of her life.— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) December 19, 2017
While the attack of Saliman is horrific, it is not unexpected. By failing to prosecute criminal attacks, Israel is enabling them to continue.