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Youths attacked in Har Gilo region – Suspects detained

One of the injured youths; Photo credit: Courtesy of the photographer

One of the injured youths; Photo credit: Courtesy of the photographer

Thursday, August 27, 2020, 17:09 Policemen from the Yehuda and Shomron District Police have detained three Arabs, residents of Kfar Batir in their 20s, on suspicion of attacking three youths in Gush Etzion approximately one month ago. This is the first report of detentions, despite the fact that the youths immediately reported the attack and can easily identify the assailants. Official announcement from the Yehuda and Shomron District Police (translation by Honenu): In the framework of the investigation which the police opened following a complaint about an attack on youths near Kfar Batir in the Gush Etzion region, three Palestinian suspects were detained last [Wednesday] night. They are suspected of assaulting and beating the youths who were at the site with rods and rocks and causing them light injuries approximately one month ago. The three [suspects], who are Kfar Batir residents in their 20s, are being investigated on suspicion of aggravated assault. The investigation is on-going and additional detentions are expected. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the injured youths, stated after the announcement of the detention: “We are pleased that the police investigation has resulted in the detention of suspects. I expect that this time, following decisive treatment by the police, the suspects will be brought to trial and a sense of security will return to the region.” The incident occurred on a Friday approximately one month ago. Three youths, aged 15, 16, and 18 were attacked by Arabs in the Har Gilo region, near Jerusalem, on the pasture land of Neve Ori, a farm which was founded in memory of Ori Ansbacher, Hy”d, who was murdered by an Arab in the same region in February 2019. The farm workers tend their flock on land classified as State Land and land under the control of the JNF. The assaulted youths, who are regular volunteers on Neve Ori, had gone out to ritually immerse in a water pit within the area of the pasture land. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher sent a letter to the Gush Etzion Police describing the attack. “[One of the youths] noticed three assailants running towards him while hurling a barrage of rocks in his direction.” The youth, who was injured in his arm by one of the rocks, warned his friends, who were in the water pit. When the assailants caught up to the youths “one of them approached Y. and started to push him towards a ten-meter cliff. Another assailant approached S., who had already gotten out of the water pit, lifted him and pushed him towards a five-meter cliff in order to throw him off of it. The third assailant approached A., who had not gotten out of the water pit, and attempted to knock him off of the ladder into the water and close the concrete lid on his head.” S. succeeded in holding back the assailant who was attempting to push him off of the cliff, and ran to help A., who was still in the water pit. Then S. assisted Y., as two of the assailants beat him with a crow bar and irrigation tubing. Following that, the assailants attempted to beat Y. with the crow bar and chased him until he reached the Ranger in which they had driven to the site. The youths reported the attack and summoned the security forces. Lior Tal, the owner of Neve Ori: “They reached the Ranger and called me. I summoned the security forces, the police and the local security headquarters. The youths managed to reach the farm and we returned with a few guys to the site of the attack to get their things. We discovered that they [the assailants] had stolen the ladder, and apparently thrown some of the equipment either over the edge of a cliff or into the water.” Tal added that the identities of the assailants are well-known to them. “They come frequently to hassle the workers in the pasture area, but this is the first time that they violently attacked. The youths can easily identify the assailants. We recognize them from previous incidents.”

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