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Israeli settlers attack peace activists

7 August 2010 2:32

Masked Israeli settlers have violently attacked two international peace activists near al-Khalil (Hebron) and absconded with some of their possessions and documents.

Witnesses said three masked settlers harshly beat up Canadian national Peter Cunliffe, 26, and Danish national Koba Soernesen, 23, in the Al-Buweira neighborhood on Friday.

They were transferred to the Al-Ahli Hospital in al-Khalil, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported.

ISM said that the unprovoked attack occurred while the two were resting under a tree, while locals said they were in a car when the attack started.

Cunliffe was beaten with metal poles and wooden sticks and will be operated on for a broken nose, while Soernesen, who was able to fend the attackers off, sustained injuries to his left foot and is unable to stand, the ISM statement said, according to the Ma’an news agency.

The attackers fled the scene after taking the two men’s passports and cameras, the statement added.

An ISM spokeswoman said that Soernesen had been threatened by settlers the day before the attack.

Peace activists in the area have been trying to prevent illegal settlers from setting fire to olive trees and documenting attacks on Palestinians by settlers.

Locals said a Palestinian woman was beaten by settlers in the same area earlier on Thursday.

The recent bout of settler violence follows the evacuation by Israeli authorities of an illegal Israeli outpost near the Kiryat Arba settlement in al-Khalil.

The more extreme of Israel’s 500,000 settlers operate a “price tag” strategy, committing violent acts against Palestinians as a “price” for every perceived injustice carried out by Israeli authorities against settlers.

The strategy has been condemned by international organizations. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has also issued several reports condemning the practice.

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