Hassan Barhoush, 80, severely beaten & left for dead while tending his sheep.
Shocked Avnei Hefetz residents visit him in hospital, seek assailants.
By Itamar Fleishman
Hassan Barhoush, an 80-year-old Palestinian shepherd from Kafr al-Labad in the West Bank, remains hospitalized at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv after being severely beaten a week-and-a-half ago by two unknown assailants with rods.
Both of Barhoush’s hands were broken in the attack, and he was left bleeding on the ground. Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
The elderly man’s son, Husni, told Ynet his father tends his sheep for two or three hours a day and then returns home. “He was walking with his sheep in the direction of the Avnei Hefetz settlement when two people, who were not wearing kippas, approached him. They beat him without saying a word. He yelled, ‘What do you want from me?’ One of them told him they wanted to kill him.”
Two hours after Barhoush left, his sheep returned to the family home in Kafr al-Labad, located near Tulkarem. A young man told the family he saw the flock returning from the nearby Jewish settlement. Barhoush’s relatives made their way to the Avnei Hefetz area and found him lying on the ground, nearly unconscious.
“When the relatives approached, father began to scream in fear. He thought the two assailants had returned to beat him some more, but they calmed him down and said they were there to save him,” Husni said.
Barhoush was initially evacuated to a hospital in Tulkarem, while Israeli and Palestinian liaison officers arrived at the scene to try and gather evidence.
Civil Administration officials suggested transferring the man to an Israeli hospital, and the following day he was moved to Sourasky, where metal plates were inserted in his arms.
Husni stressed that the family does not believe the assailants were residents of Avnei Hefetz, saying this was the first incident of its kind in the area and that the relations between the settlers and the residents of Kafr al-Labad were very good.
In Avnei Hefetz, residents ruled out the possibility that the attackers came from the settlement. Representatives from the settlement even visited Barhoush at the hospital and offered their assistance.
Avnei Hefetz’s secretary, Yaniv Peretz, called the attack “shocking” and said those who committed it must be tracked down and prosecuted.
Police officials said the investigation is focusing on two youngsters who were in the area at the time of the attack. The two do not live in Avnei Hefetz.
Elior Levy contributed to the report.
View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4365558,00.html