Settlers Attack, Pepper-Spray University Student in Hebron

HEBRON, September 5, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers, protected by Israeli forces, Saturday attacked a Palestinian university student and  pepper-sprayed him in the face, causing him injuries and suffocation,  according to the student’s family.

The family told WAFA that Jadawi Hani Abu Haykal, 21, a student at Hebron’s Palestine Polytechnic University, was severally beaten up by settlers residing in illegal settlements in the Hebron area, while he was present at Hebron’s neighborhood of Tal Rmedeh, causing him bruises throughout his body.

Settlers further pepper-sprayed Abu Haykal’s in the face, causing him excessive suffocation. The student was transferred to hospital for medical treatment, where his condition was described as moderate.

A report published by the Israeli human rights organization of Yesh Din stated that Israeli settlers enjoy widespread impunity for their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

“The IDF and police are neither prepared nor willing to provide the necessary protection to Palestinians attacked by violent settlers.” Settlers, under the protection of Israeli soldiers, often tend to target Palestinians and their properties in the area for the benefit of expanding nearby illegal settlements.

Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.

Al-Haq human right organization stated that, “Attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank against members of the Palestinian population and their property are an extensive, long-term, and worsening phenomenon.”

Al-Haq has documented a significant increase in incidents of settler violence against the Palestinian population of the West Bank since 2011.

Al-Haq said that, “The illegal Israeli settlement policy of transferring Israeli civilians into occupied territory is directly responsible for creating a hostile environment that puts civilians, both Israeli and Palestinian, in harm’s way.”

The Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Court of Justice have all confirmed that the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and other settlement-related activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory are illegal under international law.

According to a United Nations report on UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) assistance for the Palestinian people issued in July 2015, “ the number of Israeli settlers has quadrupled since the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995; presently they outnumber Palestinians in Area C, which represents 61 per cent of West Bank area.”

On July 31 2015, suspected Israeli settlers attacked two Palestinian homes in Nablus’ village of Duma with Molotov cocktails; they reportedly threw the bombs inside the bedroom window at dawn, giving the family no chance to escape. The attack claimed the life of 18-month Ali Dawabsheh, and his father, who later succumbed to his critical wounds while receiving treatment in Israeli hospitals, while his mother, Riham, and 4-year-old brother, Ahmad, sustained critical third degree burns.