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Israel must probe ‘heinous’ settler attack on Palestinian teen -UN Envoy

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Israel must investigate the brutal assault on a Palestinian teen by right-wing Jewish extremists that took place earlier this month, urged United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland.

“On 17 August, a 15-year-old Palestinian boy was attacked in the northern West Bank, during which a group of Israeli settlers kidnapped the boy, tied him to a tree, and brutally assaulted, cut and burned him,” Wennesland told the United Nations Security Council on Monday. 

“I am deeply concerned by this heinous act and I expect the Israeli authorities to undertake a swift, thorough and transparent investigation and ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable,” Wennesland told the Council when it convened in New York for its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Neither the IDF nor the police have opened an investigation into the matter. Both the army and police have linked the report of the attack to a stone-throwing incident that occurred near the evacuated Homesh settlement near the Palestinian city of Jenin, in the Samaria region of the West Bank.

The army said that they had received that day a report of Palestinians throwing stones at Israelis near Homesh. Forces that arrived at the scene saw the Israelis, presumed to be settlers, chasing after a Palestinian teen. The soldiers intervened and returned the teen to his family, the IDF said.

Police said they also believed the Palestinian teen along with other had been throwing stones and that there was no evidence to back up his description of the attack against him.

The story of the teen, Tareq Abdel Razzak Mohammed Zubaidi’s attack was reported by the Palestinian NGO,  Defense for Children International-Palestine, which filmed him describing the attack in Arabic. It then provided English language subtitles. 

Zubaidi described how he had been hanging out with his friends in that area of a road when he heard screams in Hebrew. His friends ran away, but he was hit by a car. 

“I looked and I saw that they were settlers. They tied me to the front of a car. Then they drove me toward the settlement quickly. When he (the driver) hit the brakes I fell to the ground,” Zubaidi said. As he spoke he lay wrapped in blanks on a makeshift bed in his living room.

“They tied my hands from behind with plastic ties. They covered my eyes with a T-shirt. They tied me to a tree branch and hung me from it. They tied my feet too,” Zubaidi described.

“Someone started hitting me with a stick. You can see the marks,” Zubaidi said pointing to his body. His uncle, identified only by his first name Moraweh, sat next his nephew as he spoke. Moraweh helped his nephew roll up his maroon short-sleeve shirt to show the bruises on his shoulder.

“They took me down and four settlers beat me, stomped on me and spit on me,” Zubaidi said. “I thought I was going to die,” he added. 

“I started crying and begging them to let me go,” Zubaidi said.

Separately in the video he alleged that his feet had “been burned,” and the video showed the marks on the soles of his feet.

Eventually Zubaidi lost consciousness and awoke in an army jeep. His family brought him to the hospital in Jenin, which admitted him for a day. 

The hospital records show that he was treated for bruises on his shoulder and feet. A doctor at the hospital said that Zubaidi was admitted “with bruises all over his body, in addition to a broken knee. He was also bleeding from his left foot.”


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