Palestinian mayor assaulted by Jewish settlers while saving child

Sebastia, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus (Ahmad Gharabli - AFP)

Middle East Monitor  /  April 7, 2021

Jewish settlers attacked the Mayor of Sebastia, Mohammad Azem, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus as he tried to prevent them from beating and abducting a Palestinian child, reported Wafa news agency.

Azem told Wafa that dozens of Jewish settlers arrived at the town’s archaeological site under the protection of Israeli soldiers and that while they were there, they attempted to kidnap a child.

He said he immediately intervened to help the child and prevented the settlers from taking him. He added that, as he was taking the child away, he was assaulted by several settlers. Israeli occupation forces stood by and did not intervene.

Attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinians are common, particularly by extreme right-wingers. They are rarely held to account by the occupation authorities. Indeed, in most cases, the settlers who harass and attack Palestinians are accompanied and protected by Israeli soldiers.

Jewish settlers have recently intensified their presence at the Palestinian archaeological site as the army closes the area to Palestinian residents.

The area has been identified as the capital of the northern kingdom during the Iron Age II in Palestine and a major urban centre during the Hellenistic and Roman periods, according to UNESCO.

At least 600,000 Jewish settlers live in more than 250 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. According to international law, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are classified occupied Palestinian territories and all Jewish settlements built there and the settlers who live in them are illegal.