Another horrible pogrom against Palestinians

In a horribly violent rampage, dozens of masked Israeli settlers celebrated a holy day by attacking a Palestinian village in the West Bank. They slaughtered sheep, smashing cars, severely attack Palestinian residents and injuring at least twelve, including a three-year-old boy, wrecking homes with clubs and hammers smashing furniture and house contents, amongst other violent acts. Soldiers were standing behind the attackers the whole time and did nothing to stop them. Instead they fired huge amounts of gas as well as stun grenades at the Palestinians.

By Yuval Abraham • (Translated by Riva Hocherman)

There’s an insane rampage happening now at Mufaqara, a Palestinian village in the south Hebron Hills. About sixty masked men with clubs, sticks, guns, rocks. There’s never been anything like this here. It’s like a small army. Dozens of settlers. I’m writing this quickly, because they’re still here, in the trees. This is one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen.

First a group of twenty masked men showed up and attacked a shepherd. Three of his sheep, they slit their throats right in front of him. He ran away with his two children, six and seven years old. The rest of his flock was slaughtered. Basil Adraa saw it and I’m here with him now. He took some pictures. There are also videos, which we’ll upload when we can.

Then a few dozen more masked men joined in, all with clubs, the villagers said. They overran the village and began to hurl rocks at the houses. They hacked at the water pipes with machetes and knives, one house after another. The terrified families fled their homes, went to the wadi. A horrific sight, hard to describe: there’s no car left that they haven’t smashed to pieces.

Then the settlers went inside the houses, into the living rooms, the kitchens. They started wrecking them with clubs and hammers. Quite a few of the villagers were injured. One was hit in the head, another in the stomach. A three-year-old boy, Muhammad, was hit in the head with a rock and was rushed to hospital, where he is now. He has a cracked skull, internal bleeding, and will probably have surgery tomorrow. There’s a smear of blood on the floor in his house. He was at home when the men attacked. His grandfather is here with us now, consumed by fear and also injured.

Soldiers were standing behind the attackers the whole time and did nothing to stop them. They fired huge amounts of gas as well as stun grenades at the Palestinians. In situations like this, the soldiers almost always back up the settlers. It’s simple: if Palestinians defend themselves and stand up to their attackers, throw stones at the men invading their village, the soldiers shoot at them. This is how one guy from Kosra, Muhammad Hassan, was murdered a few months ago, in a similar attack by settlers in the Nablus area, who broke into his home with hammers.

I can hardly hear now because of the booming. The gas destroys your throat and the soldiers shooting are terrifying. Meanwhile the settlers’ rocks are flying over your head. And this is all really happening, right in the village, right by Palestinian homes. I didn’t know what to do except shout, don’t shoot! don’t shoot!

Quite a few people are injured, some are still getting treated. There were so many masked men that they could to lift up cars and roll them down the wadi — really. One settler fired at a Palestinian who was in his home and threw stones. Didn’t hit him. The bullets are still on the floor. Sorry, this is disjointed.

The media is blind to what is going’s on here in the West Bank. In the south Hebron Hills alone, seven new outposts have gone up in the past year, so-called “sheep farms”. There’s a network of insanely violent outposts all over the West Bank — about forty of them built in the last five years.

The state gives the farms thousands of dunams of land expropriated from Palestinians, and the Israeli settlers use deliberate, blatant violence to terrorize them. There’s a network of several hundred settlers who operate the farms, many of them moving from farm to farm. They break hands and stab animals, all so that the Palestinians will leave. I’ve seen dozens of incidents like this just this year. They’re very organized, with WhatsApp groups. Every day they graze their sheep somewhere else to take over the maximum amount of land. Before the holiday, they called their people to come to the farms to volunteer. I think it’s related, but don’t know for sure. On a holiday, with people all together, the timing is no accident.

This isn’t a bunch of extremists. No. It’s the state, it’s official policy, for which Benny Gantz is responsible. Just like the masked men, the government is pushing for expulsion from whole areas. The village of Mufaqara is unrecognized, one of dozens, and the army comes back here again and again to demolish the houses. Even though it’s been here for generations, the residents are not allowed to build so that they’ll leave.

And so today, on Simchat Torah, eighty men got together, came out from their farms and outposts, and simply destroyed a village so that the people would leave, or just from pure racism, or I don’t know what. It will happen again and again if they don’t stop it. And our country is cynical, yawning in the face of violence, they don’t see the connections, they’re blind to the fact that our army really does rule over another people, that the Palestinians have no rights, that we have created a system of masters and slaves. Wake up — come see for yourselves. Learn what’s happening in this country, especially my generation — see what military occupation looks like, what supremacy look like. I’m tired of the complacency, the racism, the fact that no one cares.