The United States and the European Union rebuked Israel over a settler attack on the Palestinian village of Khirbat al-Mufaqarah in the South Hebron Hills on September 28 in which 12 Palestinians were injured, including a three-year-old boy.
“The US government strongly condemns the acts of settler violence that took place against Palestinians in villages near Hebron in the West Bank on September 28,” a US Embassy spokesperson said on Friday.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid issued a harsh statement about the incident: “This violent incident is horrific and it is terror,” reads his tweet. “This isn’t the Israeli way and it isn’t the Jewish way. This is a violent and dangerous fringe and we have a responsibility to bring them to justice.”
The embassy spokesperson acknowledged Lapid’s statement.
“We appreciate the foreign minister and other officials’ strong and unequivocal condemnations of this violence,” the spokesperson said.
The left-wing NGO Peace Now called the attack a “pogrom.”
It also disputed Lapid’s statement that the attackers were a “fringe” group, alleging that the “hilltop thugs” have the backing of Israeli security forces.
According to the left-wing group B’Tselem, the attackers “invaded Palestinian homes, smashed windows, and caused massive damage to equipment, including many vehicles.”
Border policemen and IDF soldiers who responded to the incident used tear gas to quell the violence.
After the attack, three-year-old Muhammad Baker Mahmoud Hamamdeh was hospitalized at Soroka Medical Center with a head injury and is expected to be released. Meretz MK Mossi Raz visited him on Thursday.
The EU Representative Office to the Palestinian Authority tweeted that it was “appalled” by the attack in which “settlers reportedly destroyed Palestinian property and injured 12 Palestinians.”
“Settler attacks on Palestinians must stop,” it stated. “Israel as the occupying power must ensure public order and the well-being of the occupied population, as well as promptly investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks,” the office added.
A number of envoys at the United Nations Security Council in New York also spoke out about Tuesday’s attack.Ireland’s ambassador to the UN, Geraldine Byrne Nason, told the UNSC at its Wednesday meeting: “We unreservedly condemn yesterday’s incident of settler violence in the South Hebron Hills in which a young child was injured.
“We call on the Israeli authorities to hold those responsible accountable and to end the culture of impunity against all such incidents of violence,” Nason said.
In his briefing to the council, UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland also condemned settler violence.
“I am deeply concerned by the continued settler-related violence,” Wennesland said, explaining that Israel “has an obligation to ensure the safety and security of the Palestinian population and to investigate such attacks.”
He added that there were reports of “armed settlers carrying out attacks against Palestinians in proximity to Israel security forces.”
On Thursday, IDF Central Command head Maj.-Gen. Yehuda Fox made an unusual visit to Khirbat al-Mufaqarah to survey the damage and speak with Palestinian residents.
Police have since arrested six Israelis and one Palestinian believed to be connected to the attack on the village.