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In escalating Zionist settler violence, Palestinian children left bloody and bruised

Crescent International

Six-year-old Majd was hit by a rock thrown by a Zionist settler that smashed their car window. His bruised, bloodied and swollen face is clearly visible. The traumatized child is being comforted by his father.

Zionist settlers, most of them illegal squatters from North America and Europe, have intensified their attacks on Palestinians.

In the latest attack on January 21 evening, two children—three-year-old Jad and his six-year-old brother Majd—were left badly bruised and bleeding.

Majd was hit in the face when the Zionist settlers threw a rock at their car near the town of Ramallah.

They were driving with their parents to visit relatives in Tabus, as they did at the end of every week.

Their father told Middle East Eye (MEE) that just outside the town, they were stopped on the road.

It was around 8:10 pm. Two people flashed torch lights at them.

Assuming that these were Israeli police checking cars, the children’s father Aala Sawafta pulled over to the side.

As he did so, masked men carrying clubs, knives, bats and rocks swarmed their car.

They threw the rocks at the car windows smashing them.

Six-year-old Majd was hit in the face by a rock while his sibling, three-year-old Jad was hit by broken glass.

So was the children’s mother.

“They started throwing large rocks at the car and beating it with sticks and bats and other objects,” Sawafta told MEE.

“It was a total pandemonium, the windows were completely shattered, my wife and kids were screaming and crying, we didn’t know what was going on.”

At one point, Sawafta said, the settlers started violently pulling at the door handles from outside the car, in an attempt to open them.

“Thank God we had the doors locked. I think they were trying to pull us out of the car and kill us.”

Realising that their lives were in grave danger, he decided to attempt escape from the settlers.

“I pressed on the gas and somehow managed to swerve around them and get out of there,” Sawafta said.

Had they been stuck amid the violent Zionist settlers, the family would certainly have been killed.

Sawafta drove his car up to an Israeli checkpoint outside the Beit El settlement, just off the main road.

The Israeli soldiers at checkpoint raised their guns at him and cautioned him not to get any closer.

He said he shouted telling them what had happened.

He showed them his children that were covered in blood and leaded with them to call an ambulance.

It took more than half an hour before an Israeli medic on a motorcycle arrived to provide them first aid.

Throughout the waiting period, the children were screaming.

They were hysterical after their harrowing experience at the hands of violent Zionist extremists.

Finally, a Palestinian ambulance came and transported them to a hospital in Ramallah.

At the hospital, Sawafta saw a number of other Palestinians that came in for injuries.

They all claimed their injuries were sustained in attacks by the same group of settlers.

Rights groups and activists say settler attacks against Palstinians have escalated in recent weeks.

The Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din reported that in addition to the attack on the Sawafta family, there were several incidents the same night of Israeli settlers blocking roads and junctions across the West Bank, as well as throwing rocks at Palestinian cars.

According to Wafa, the official news agency of the Palestinian Authority (PA), three of the attacks on Palestinian vehicles that took place on January 21 night “occurred in full sight of Israeli occupation soldiers, who did nothing to stop the settlers and rather provided them with protection”.

Yesh Din said they have documented 44 settler attacks against Palestinians in recent weeks.

“If you look at the attacks from Israeli settlers from the end of 2020 to the beginning of 2021, there is a steep increase in the number of attacks,” Hani Nassar, a field researcher for Defence for Children International - Palestine (DCIP) told MEE.

“It is also very clear that the attacks are being organised and coordinated, not just among the settlers, but with the soldiers as well.”

Nassar also raised the prospect of Israeli soldiers standing by and allowing the attacks to happen. “There are Israeli soldiers stationed near or around the site of the settler attacks,” she said.

Pro-Israeli groups in North America and Europe have intensified their campaign to equate criticism of such Israeli with anti-Semitism.

Such groups are complicit in the crimes that Zionist settlers, police and soldiers commit against Palestinian children.

On January 12, B’Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights organization, called Israel an “apartheid state” for its abuse of Palestinians under occupation.

The paper that B’Tselem released is titled “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid”.

The pro-Israel groups in the US and Canada would do well to read it.

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