Journalists, activists clash with Ben-Gvir, settlers

October 3, 2008 14:38
3 minute read.
Journalists, activists clash with Ben-Gvir, settlers

Ben Gvir Hebron 224.88. (photo credit: Active Stills)


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Shay Fogelman, a journalist from Haaretz, thought he would go on a personal tour of the South Hebron Hills on Saturday. Instead he found himself in the middle of a violent incident with settlers, among them far-right activist Itamar Ben-Gvir. By Saturday night, each man had filed a police complaint against the other for assault. Fogelman, the deputy editor of Haaretz's Galleria arts section, said he, another journalist and a friend had parked their car at the back entrance to Kiryat Arba at the end of a daylong tour in which they met with and spoke with settlers. They started walking to Hebron when they saw settler teens throwing stones at Palestinian homes along the road, Fogelman said. When they returned to their car, Fogelman said, he and his companions were surrounded by Ben-Gvir and a number of others who cursed them and physically assaulted them. Fogelman said he was slightly injured in the shoulder. They were able to get away from the activists and enter the vehicle, but when they started the engine, Ben-Gvir was standing in front of the car, blocking their way, Fogelman said. A photographer and left-wing activists who were in the area told The Jerusalem Post they saw the settlers attacking the three men. At that point soldiers and police arrived, and only then were the trio able to leave, Fogelman said. Ben-Gvir told the Post that the three had come to Kiryat Arba to provoke residents. He acknowledged that he and group had exchanged harsh words. He accused Fogelman and his companions of cursing him and the other settlers and calling them "whores." Then, he said, they got into their car and tried to run him over. Judea and Samaria Police spokesman Danny Poleg said he had no knowledge of the incident. He added that Ben-Gvir had gone to a police station on Saturday night with the intent of filling a complaint but had not actually done so. Of the reported stone-throwing, he said only that such incidents happened every day and were considered normal. For Ben-Gvir, Saturday's event was the second incident in 48 hours. He said that he and a number of settlers also had an altercation with left-wing activists on Friday morning. Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights said he and a number of volunteers from his group had gone to Hebron to help a Palestinian family near Worshipers Way and the Hazon David Outpost harvest six olive trees. He said they were verbally and physically attacked by settlers, who at one point stole their ladders and tried to steal buckets of olives. Ben-Gvir said that while he and the other settlers had yelled at the volunteers, it was the left-wing activists who had started the altercation. At one point, Ben-Gvir said, a left-winger pushed his wife, who had their seven-month-old daughter tucked into a cloth sling strapped across her front. His wife, he said, fell to the ground, but his daughter was not hurt. Ascherman insisted that his group was attacked first and that at no point was Ben-Gvir's wife thrown to the ground. He said he had have video footage of the entire incident to prove this. Ascherman alleged that Ben-Gvir's wife tried to steal a bucket of olives, and a volunteer from Rabbis for Human Rights grabbed her hand to stop her. At one point, this volunteer felt so threatened by settlers that he ran into a nearby Palestinian home, Ascherman said. Poleg said police detained the volunteer for pulling Ben-Gvir's wife's hand and issued a 24-day restraining against his entering the area. Ben-Gvir said that not all of the incident was filmed and that the moment when his wife fell was not caught on camera. Both incidents, he said, were examples of the Left's increasing violence against settlers, to which the security forces had turned a blind eye. He said his group had not "turned the other check" when attacked by left-wingers, but that at no point had they started any of the violence, only responded to attacks. The left-wing activists had emboldened the Palestinians to attack them and thus had endangered their lives, Ben-Gvir said.

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