Israeli settlers attack Palestinian shepherds and Christian peacemakers

By agency reporter
November 20, 2008

Fifteen masked Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Ma'on attacked three Palestinian shepherds who were grazing their flocks in a valley south of the outpost, and Christian peacemakers who were with them.

The settlers came running down from a ridge above the shepherds, hurling rocks. The shepherds were able to get their flocks away before the rocks injured them.

During the incident, the settlers were able to steal two of the shepherds' donkeys. The settlers killed one donkey with a knife wound in the chest area. They slashed another across the throat, but the donkey survived.

Settlers also hit two internationals from Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), who were accompanying the shepherd, with large rocks. One CPTer sustained minor injuries.

The Israeli police were called four times before responding to the incident. They did not initially respond to reports of settlers attacking Palestinian shepherds and internationals, but only responded when they learned of the attack on the donkeys.

The assault occurred on land the shepherds graze daily and which the settlers hope to take for the expansion of Havat Ma’on. Replacing the donkey will cost around 1000 NIS, or $265.

The Israeli occupation has impoverished the shepherds of the area, and they are currently dependent on outside food aid.

The incident took place at the weekend.

Much of CPT's work involves "Getting in the Way", and seeking to protect people from violence, without using violence themselves.

The group seeks to enlist churches in organized, nonviolent alternatives to war and places teams of trained peacemakers in regions of lethal conflict.

For additional photos, see Footage of settlers stealing the donkeys and the Israeli police examining the slain donkey is available on the CPT homepage

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