A Palestinian Defended Himself Against a Settler Attack, His Family Says. He Was Arrested and Remains Detained

Contrary to initial reporting, according to his family, his father was defending himself when he was attacked Sunday on his own property by two Israeli settlers in the South Hebron Hills

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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The scene of the incident in the South Hills of Hebron, West Bank, on Tuesday.
The scene of the incident in the South Hills of Hebron, West Bank, on Tuesday.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

A Palestinian man who was arrested Monday on suspicion of attacking an Israeli settler in the South Hebron Hills was actually defending himself against a settler attack, his family told Haaretz on Wednesday. Contrary to accounts by settlers, the family says that the injured Israeli and another Israeli man had attacked the father and his son first.

According to the arrested man's son, the incident took place as they were herding sheep on the family's property in al-Tuwani, near the Havat Maon settler outpost. An Israeli security official claimed that a group of Palestinians had approached the outpost, prompting two Israelis to walk toward them from the outpost, after which one of the Palestinians attacked one of the Israelis.

The Palestinian suspect, Hafez Huraini of the village of al-Tuwani, broke his arm in the attack. He was taken to Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva for medical treatment and was then placed in custody at the police station in Kiryat Arba outside of Hebron. The injured Israeli was reported to be in moderate to serious condition with wounds to his head.

Huraini’s lawyer said that her client was interrogated on Tuesday by the police on suspicion of attempted murder, disturbance of the peace and infliction of personal injury.

Huraini’s son, however, said that the incident was sparked when two masked Israelis from the Havat Maon outpost began throwing stones at a boy in the area. “Then they saw us and began attacking my dad. One of them used a wooden club and the second one had an iron club,” he said. Havat Maon, an illegal settler outpost which even the Israeli government does not officially recognize, has been the site of several attacks by settlers against Palestinian residents in the villages of al-Tuwani and Tuba.

Huraini had been holding a hoe, which he used to defend himself and push his assailant away, before three other settlers arrived in a car, his son recounted. When he attempted to approach his father, one of the Israelis fired in the air. “I was sure he was going to kill me,” he said.

Israeli soldiers and police then arrived at the scene, as did other Palestinians. A Red Crescent ambulance crew attempted to triage Huraini for medical treatment, but the soldiers placed him under arrest in the ambulance. The soldiers used gas grenades and stun grenades to disperse the Palestinians and two others were arrested.

Overnight between Monday and Tuesday, soldiers raided al-Tuwani. They fired tear gas and rubber bullets into homes and detained several residents from their homes and took them to the entrance to the village before releasing them.

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