US, UK condemn settler attacks on Palestinians in West Bank
The United States and United Kingdom condemned an attack on Palestinians perpetrated by Israeli settlers in the West Bank on Tuesday.
Dozens of masked settlers threw stones at Palestinians in the village of Khirbat al-Mufkara on the south Hebron Hills as well as damaging around 10 vehicles and water tanks.
Some 12 people were injured in the clashes, including a three-year-old boy who was taken to hospital for a head wound.
"The UK condemns this violent act against a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills by settlers on 28 September," wrote UK minister for the middle east and north Africa James Cleverly on Twitter.
"Israel must tackle this problem and protect Palestinians."
The UK condemns this violent act against a Palestinian village in the South Hebron Hills by settlers on 28 Sept.— James Cleverly🇬🇧 (@JamesCleverly) October 1, 2021
We welcome @yairlapid’s condemnation. Israel must tackle this problem and protect Palestinians. https://t.co/vPelaFMRs0
The US government also slammed Tuesday's attack.
"The US government strongly condemns the acts of settler violence that took place against Palestinians in villages near Hebron in the West Bank on September 28," a US Embassy spokesperson was quoted saying on CNN.
The violence began when settlers "attacked one of the [local] shepherds, stabbing and killing five sheep", said Qassem Mahamdah, a local resident, to The New Arab earlier this week.
"While our attention was focused on the shepherd being attacked, two groups of around 40 settlers each attacked the houses in the community from all sides, breaking windows and throwing rocks into the houses, turning over cars, and smashing solar energy panels, our only source of power."
Grandfather to the injured toddler told Haaretz that the three-year-old was hurt when a settler, standing in the entry of the house, threw a rock at the boy as he slept.
Soldiers at the scene fired tear gas canisters at the village houses, according to Palestinians also quoted in Haaretz.
Three people were arrested after the attack, one of whom is a minor.
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the offensive a "shocking case of violence and terrorism".
"This is not the way of Israel and this is not the way of Jewish people," he said.
Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills, like in other areas of the West Bank and Gaza, have been subjected to continual attacks by Israeli settlers that have resulted in hundreds of casualties as well as damaging key resources such as access to water and electricity.