Moral Low Ground


Palestinian Shepherd Najeh Abu Ali Viciously Attacked Near Former Israeli Settlement

A Palestinian shepherd in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

A Palestinian shepherd in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons)

A Palestinian shepherd was viciously attacked by masked men allegedly armed with iron rods near an evacuated illegal Israeli settler outpost in the occupied West Bank on Sunday.

Ynet reports 47-year-old Najeh Abu Ali was attacked near the Migron settler outpost as he and a group of Palestinian shepherds from the village of Mukhamas crossed an underground tunnel. The men were confronted by a group of six masked men who set upon Abu Ali with sticks, sharp objects and, reportedly, iron rods.

Abu Ali said the assailants beat him on his head and stabbed him and some of his sheep.

“The six attackers were waiting for him at the other side of the tunnel,” a friend of the victim told Ynet. “They were wearing masks, and as soon as he stepped out of the tunnel, they started to attack him with iron rods. Then they killed and injured some of the sheep and ran away.”

The other shepherds accompanying Abu Ali said they only saw the attackers as they fled the scene.

Abu Ali was hospitalized in Ramallah, where he was treated for head injuries.

The brutal attack comes a month after masked men attacked Palestinian shepherd Omar Hushiyeh near the illegal Jewish settler outpost of Mitzpe Yair in the Israeli-occupied South Hebron Hills. Hushiyeh, from the village of Khirbet al-Markez, says Israeli soldiers who responded after the brutal attack refused to administer first aid.

In April, 80-year-old Hassan Barhoush, a Palestinian shepherd from Kafr al-Labad, was severely beaten by a group of masked men near the illegal Jewish settler colony of Avnei Hefetz in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Barhoush suffered numerous fractures.

Such attacks, carried out by Israeli right-wing extremists and settler colonists, are quite common throughout the illegally occupied Palestinian territories. Often called ‘price tag’ attacks, the brutal assaults are reprisals against random Palestinians for Israeli crackdowns on illegal Jewish settlements. There have been scores of such attacks in the past five years; there has been no comparable campaign of Palestinian violence against Jewish settlers during the same period, although Jews are occasionally attacked and, in extremely rare cases, killed.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, and the Migron outpost near where the attack on Abu Ali occurred was declared illegal by Israel’s High Court of Justice. The court, which confirmed that the outpost was built on privately-owned Palestinian land, ordered the evacuation of Migron’s 300 residents. The outpost was abandoned by September 2012.

Many critics of continued illegal Jewish settler colonization of Palestinian territories conquered during a 1967 war consider Israeli actions to be a form of ethnic cleansing.

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