Midhat Abu Karsh
Even in his wildest dreams, Midhat Radwan Abu Karsh never imagined that one day he would be tied up to a power pole and savagely beaten by bigoted Jewish settlers who believe that non-Jews are animals in a human shape.
Yet, this is exactly what happened to him earlier this week when four Jewish terrorists ganged up on the 31-year-old Palestinian teacher as he was hiking in his land, awaiting Israeli peace activists whom he wanted to brief on the daily acts of vandalism, harassment and land theft at the hands of fanatical Jewish settlers, protected by the army and backed by powerful political parties.
Abu Karsh accuses the settlers of being hell-bent on driving Palestinians away in order to take over their land.
“As I was standing in my land, suddenly four settlers descended from the settlement of Asnael, and started cursing and beating me with clubs. As you know, I am physically handicapped and couldn’t escape because of my leg,” Abu Karsh told reporters on Sunday at his home in the small town of El-Sammou, 35 kilometers south west of Hebron.
“Then they dragged me along the thorny terrain, causing me indescribable pain, until we reached the power pole just out of the settlement. There they tied me up rather tightly to the pole and began beating me with the clubs all over my body, including my head. What kind of people would do this to a handicapped person who can’t defend himself?
“When they tightened the robe around my neck, I thought I was going to die.
The attempted lynching and beating continued unabated even after an Israeli army jeep, carrying three soldiers, arrived at the scene.
“Initially, I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the soldiers coming. I though they would rescue me instantly and arrest or at least stop the settlers. However, to my disappointment, the settlers kept up beating me, causing a lot of bleeding in my head and face while the soldiers kept looking on.”
Abu Karsh said the soldiers begged the settlers “to stop it,” but to no avail.
“Would you believe it, soldiers begging the settlers to stop beating a handicapped Palestinian? Just imagine how Jews and non-Jews would react if criminals, say in France, attacked a Jew who is physically or mentally handicapped, say in Paris or Leon?”
At one point, the settlers warned the soldiers to keep away, or else they would attack the soldiers. Israeli soldiers serving in the occupied West Bank have strict orders barring them from responding to settler violence in any active manner.
When the soldiers, who had backed off a few meters, started calling their superiors to notify them of what was going on, the settlers carried out a last round of beating, kicking Abu Karsh in his underbelly and genitals.
He said he nearly fainted.
Forty minutes later, an Israeli police jeep showed up, with one policeman reportedly telling the settlers to bring a bucket of water from the settlement and pour it right on the victim’s head, ostensibly in order to wash away the blood before the arrival of journalists and photographers.
“Even at this point, I was still tied to the power pole and the police wouldn’t untie me. And, of course, they didn’t arrest any of the settlers,” Abu Karsh said.
Eventually, an Israeli ambulance transferred Abu Karsh to a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance which took him to the main hospital in Hebron.
Abu Karsh accused the settlers of deliberately starting a fire in the area and blaming it on him.
The incident, the second of its kind in less than a month, was witnessed by Israeli peace activists from the Ta’ayosh (co-existence) group.
One of the activists was quoted by the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz as saying that he saw the settlers kick the victim while he was bound up.
“When we arrived at the scene there were already lots of the army’s troops. I saw a settler approach him and kick him, as he was tied to the pole. His whole body was bound up, I saw they bandaged a head wound and he was half conscious.”
Last month, masked, stick-wielding Jewish settler terrorists attacked with clubs elderly Palestinian peasants near the West Bank town of Yatta.
The brutal attack was filmed on video by a Palestinian woman, which embarrassed the Israeli government which refuses to take any meaningful action against settlers who attack Palestinian villagers.
The wide dissemination of the video also prompted Jewish settler leaders in the Hebron region to warn settler terrorists to make sure that their “anti-Palestinian activities” are not being filmed or photographed.
B’Tselem provided about 100 cameras to Palestinians who bear the brunt of settler terror and violence. The project, dubbed “Shooting Back” is aimed at documenting settler brutality and attacks.
Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations operating in the occupied Palestinian territories have already documented numerous cases of settler attacks, harassment and vandalism against Palestinians.
However, the Israeli army and Shin Beth (Israel’s domestic intelligence agency), have consistently refused to rein in the settlers, thus effectively encouraging them to keep up their terror against the unprotected Palestinians.
Most of the terrorist settlers attend Talmudic schools, or Yeshivot, run by extremist rabbis who inculcate their students with virulent hatred of every thing non-Jewish.
Some rabbis, especially in the Hebron region, openly preach the view that modern-day Palestinians are the descendants of the Biblical Amalek or Amaledites, who the Bible says must be wiped off from the face of earth.
Some rabbis, such as Rabbis for Human Rights, strongly reject the brutal racism and terror of their right-wing colleagues, arguing that such practices are immoral and constitute a serious distortion of Judaism.
However, such views are rejected and treated with utter contempt by the vast bulk of the Orthodox establishment in Israel.
August 23, 2008 From Khalid Amayreh in el-Sammou, Hebron