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Israeli settlers try to kidnap Palestinian child from Hebron’s Masafer Yatta

Hebron (The Inside Palestine)- Israeli settlers on Thursday tried to kidnap a Palestinian child near the occupied West Bank city of Hebron during an attack on local residents.

Rampaging settlers stormed the town of Yatta where they assaulted Palestinians, Ratib al-Jabour, the area coordinator of the National Committee for the Resistance of the Apartheid Wall and Settlements, told the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The mob tried to kidnap a child but was unsuccessful after local residents fought back, forcing the settlers to retreat.

The settlers came from the illegal settlements of Ma’on and Karmiel, which are built in the occupied Masafer Yatta area. They also hired bulldozers and began building a settlers-only road east of the town.

Other settlers destroyed a memorial to a 75-year-old Palestinian who was killed by Israeli forces earlier this year in Masafer Yatta.

Sheikh Suleiman Al-Hathlin was pronounced dead on 17 January after suffering serious wounds when he was hit by an Israeli police vehicle on 5 January.

With the help of activists visiting the occupied West Bank, the local community built a memorial in his honour.

The unique situation in Hebron means that Palestinians suffer frequent attacks due to the large number of Israeli settlers inside the city.

Around 800 ultra-nationalist Israeli settlers live in the heart of Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank. The settler enclave is protected by twice as many Israeli soldiers.

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

The Israeli army wants to convert Masafer Yatta, a residential area near the city of Hebron comprised of 12 Palestinian villages, into a firing zone.

The Israeli Supreme Court deems that Palestinians were not permanent residents of the area in the 1980s, the time when the army claimed the area as a firing zone.

Locals and Israeli human rights organisations strongly dispute this.

They maintain that there were Palestinians permanently living in Masafer Yatta prior even to 1967, when Israel began its illegal occupation of the West Bank, and view any expulsions as violating international law.

Source: The New Arab

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