Two arrested for brutal attack on elderly Palestinian in West Bank

22:00 Jun 18 2013 Abu Ghosh

Two arrested for brutal attack on elderly Palestinian in West Bank
Hassan Barhoush, the victim of the attack, in the hospital in March. Photo by Daniel Bar-On

Following an alleged hate crime near Jerusalem, police arrested a man and a boy for the beating of an 80-year-old Palestinian man in the northern West Bank in March.

By Chaim Levinson for Haaretz

West Bank police on Tuesday arrested a man and a boy suspected of brutally beating an elderly Palestinian man two and a half months ago.

The arrest by the Judea and Samaria District of the Israel Police came in the wake of an alleged hate crime committed late Monday night in Abu Ghosh, an Arab village near Jerusalem.

The victim of the attack in March is Hassan Barhoush, an 80-year-old Palestinian shepherd from the Arab village of Kafr al-Labad, which is adjacent to the settlement of Avnei Hefetz in the northern part of the West Bank.

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court extended the remand in police custody of the minor for an additional three days. His lawyer, attorney David Halevi from the Honenu legal aid organization, denied his client has any connection to the beating. The second suspect, who is an adult, will be brought before the court tomorrow for an extension of his remand.

The attack took place during the intermediate days of the festival of Passover, on Friday, March 29. Barhoush’s son Hosni says his family became concerned for his father’s welfare when its flock of sheep returned from the field without the elderly shepherd. They set out to search for him and found him lying on the ground unconscious some 500 meters from the fence surrounding Avnei Hefetz. The family took him to a hospital in the Palestinian city of Tul Karm. Because of the severity of his condition, he was transferred to Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, where he was placed in surgical intensive care. He was admitted to Ichilov with three fractures to his left arm, one to his right arm, a broken rib, fractures around his shoulder blade and a leg injury.

When he regained consciousness, he told his family that, as he was tending his flock, two young people approached from the direction of Avnei Hefetz and beat him with sticks until he lost consciousness.

Avnei Hefetz issued a statement saying, “The suspects are not members of Avnei Hefetz and their names are not recorded in the community’s population registry. They resided here under circumstances whose nature cannot be divulged in order to protect their privacy. Avnei Hefetz’s residents have openly condemned this act of violence and wish to have no connection with those who committed it. Tikva Gunn, who chairs Avnei Hefetz’s residents’ committee, visited the wounded man at Ichilov and was warmly received by his family. Should it emerge that the suspects did in fact commit this crime, we shall ask the police to bar them from returning to our community.”
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