Palestinian olive farmers attacked by crowd of settlers
The attack, which comes amid an uptick in settler violence in recent months, began when Israeli settlers descended from a nearby settlement hurling stones and spraying pepper spray at Palestinian olive pickers near the town of Salfit, reported the official Palestinian news agency, Wafa.
The Palestinian town's authorities reported the attack in a posting on Facebook.
The settlers smashed cars and stole olives, as well as some of the belongings of one of the female pickers, the news agency said, quoting Youssef Hammouda, a local farmer.
Israeli police confirmed they arrested four settlers near the settlement of Rechelim in connection with a Palestinian woman’s stolen goods.
In recent days, hard-line settlers have clashed with Israeli troops and vandalized Palestinian property in what is known as “price-tag” attacks - retaliations against perceived efforts by Israel to limit settlement expansion.
Last month, dozens of Israeli settlers attacked a Bedouin village in the southern West Bank, smashing cars and homes and leaving several injured, including a Palestinian toddler who was hospitalized with head injuries.
Settler attacks on Palestinians and their olive tree groves are common during the autumn harvesting season.
On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on the military to combat rising settler attacks against Palestinians and Israeli forces by reacting “systematically, aggressively and uncompromisingly” to such behavior.
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, committing various violations against Palestinian civilians.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.