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Israeli settlers continue to target Daraghmeh family leaving two children hospitalized

Ramallah, 29 August 2012 - Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association is outraged at the latest attack by Israeli settlers on the Daraghmeh family in the village of Laban, near Nablus. Yesterday’s attack is the latest by Israeli settlers on the occupied Palestinian population which have now become an almost daily occurrence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The settlers, usually armed and extremely violent, operate with almost total impunity, free in the knowledge that little or no action will be taken against them.

Yesterday’s attack began at roughly 8:00 am and involved about 30 settlers from the illegal settlements of Ma’ale Levona and Eli. At least five of the settlers were armed. The settlers began by attacking the Daraghmeh home while the family was inside. The father Khaled (45) and his son Jalil (16) both managed to escape but were later arrested. However, the mother, her two children and their two cousins were attacked and injured. Both Daraghmeh children were later taken to Nablus hospital. The settlers also attacked the family car, smashing its windows with rocks.

Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) arrived on the scene, with about 40-50 soldiers, and immediately declared the area a closed military zone. One witness described overhearing an Israeli officer advising the settlers what to say following the attacks. The settlers then began attacking Palestinian cars on the main Ramallah-Nablus highway.

This attack is the latest in a number of attacks on the Daraghmeh family by settlers that have become increasingly more violent in nature. For years the Daraghmeh family has been suffering from harassment and attacks from Israeli settlers with both the father Khaled and his eldest son Jamal (22) being specifically targeted on a number of occasions in the past.

On 25 May 2012, Khaled and Jamal were arrested by IOF for apparently attacking a soldier. Following their arrest the mother and the remaining children moved out of the house for a period, fearing more attacks. The settlers then used this opportunity of the vacant house by attacking it, breaking the doors and windows, burning clothes and contaminating the water. 

On 10 June 2012, the Israeli military prosecutor submitted charges to the military court, which indicates a bias against the family, with bail being set at 10,000 for Khaled and 10,000 for Jamal. However, the family was unable to pay such a large sum and both father and son remained in prison until the bail funds could be raised. Both were only released after the bail amount was twice reviewed and eventually set at 10,000 for Khaled and 3,500 Jamal.  

The continued targeting of the Daraghmeh family and the complete lack of justice they have received is just one of thousands of others which highlight the complete inability of Palestinians to obtain even the slightest form of justice in an Israeli judicial and legal system that is imposed by a prolonged illegal Israeli occupation and in complete violation of international law. The treatment of Palestinians, who are protected persons under international law, is in stark contrast to the illegal Israeli settlers in the OPT who continue to act with impunity as they carry out almost daily attacks against the Palestinian population.

Addameer is concerned that yesterday's attack and the arrest of Khaled and Jalil will leave the family vulnerable to more attacks from settlers, especially considering the lack of protection for the family from the IOF. Addameer calls on the international community to meet its obligations under the Geneva Conventions to ensure that Israel abides by international law to protect the occupied Palestinian population, and take action to ensure that all illegal Israeli settlements are removed in accordance with international law.   

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