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On Saturday morning, left-wing activists from Ta’ayush arrived for a solidarity visit with the Palestinians of Umm al-Kheir, after settlers from the nearby settlement of Carmel have been throwing stones at them for the past few weeks. A few of the activists headed toward Carmel to protest the stone throwing, where Israeli soldiers prevented them from approaching, claiming that filming was not allowed since the settlement keeps the Sabbath, and that the area had been deemed a closed military zone, except for residents of Carmel.
Suddenly, Carmel’s rapid response team, made up of who are meant to be the first line of defense against terrorist attacks until security forces can arrive, came rushing to the scene. One of them attacked Ta’ayush activist Guy Butavia, hitting him in his chest with his weapon and pushing him to the ground. Butuvia was treated by an IDF medic on the scene before being taken to a hospital.
“I went to Carmel after more than two weeks of endless stone throwing on a nightly basis at Umm al-Kheir,” Butavia says. “Right after we entered the settlement the soldiers arrived and tried to block us. They did not present us with a closed military zone order, so we continued walking. Suddenly the armed settlers from Carmel appeared. They treated us as if we were ‘terrorists.’ One of them, a big, strong man, ran over to me with his weapon and knocked me over.”
Two Ta’ayush activists were detained for “behavior that may lead to disturbing the peace,” and were later released from the Kiryat Arba police station near Hebron.
Yael Marom is Just Vision’s public engagement manager in Israel and a co-editor of Local Call, where this article was originally published in Hebrew.