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– Outpost settlers in the Jordan Valley and their flocks broke into Palestinian herds, claimed to the Military that the Palestinians stole their sheep, and when this claim was refuted, they blamed the Palestinians of throwing stones, causing the arrest of two Palestinian shepherds. – In Issawiye there was relative calm this week, following an accord between the Police and the inhabitants, which includes keeping activists watches outside of the neighborhood as long as Police keep their commitments. – On September 4 the Civil Administration held a tour with members of the settlers NGO Regavim for locating illegal construction in Palestinian villages, on their proper lands, in South Mt. Hebron. That same night, settlers placed additional three illegal caravans in the outpost near Susiya.
The situation in Auja deteriorated, the Army resumed expulsion of Palestinian shepherds from authorized grazing grounds, sometimes with a warrant of Military closure and sometimes without. On Wednesday, September 4, the Army tried to block activists for no reason and later arrested a shepherd deep in Area A, where they have no authority to stop or limit access. In both cases, police intervention and calls by activists to IDF authorities brought about the release of the detainees.
Settlers from the new outpost near Rimonim extended the range of their assaults up to the western hamlets of Auja, and on Tuesday, September 3, they brought their flocks into Palestinian grazing flocks and claimed to soldiers that the Palestinians stole their sheep. When this claim was refuted, they changed their version and accused the Palestinians of throwing stones at them. The Army cooperated with this false accusation and detained two Palestinian shepherds. They are still in custody and await a hearing on Wednesday (September 11).
IN Rashash a marked escalation in Settlers attempting to expel Palestinian shepherds, sometimes by racing small tractors and horses into Palestinian grazing sheep, sicking dogs on the cattle, and, in one case, on Monday, September 2, threatening with clubs and throwing stones at the sheep. On Tuesday, a representative of “Im Tirzu” joined the settlers, and also harassed activists and threatened them. Border Patrol forces that arrived at the scene removed the settlers and the activists.
In Issawiye, we noticed a relative calm in Police brutality. Following an accord between the village inhabitants and Police, the latter restrained its harassment there. One of the Police demands was that activists refrain from entering the neighborhood. The inhabitants agreed that as long as Police withhold their commitments, activist watches will not enter the premises, but they will return if Police violate the terms of the accord. We continue to hold shifts on alert, in case the agreement is violated.
South Mt. Hebron
On Sunday, September 1, IDF again expelled shepherds from a Wadi near Umm al Amad (authorized for grazing by the Supreme Court). We filed a complaint, which may explain why the pasture went unhindered when the shepherds returned, on September 7, with activists’ escort.
On Wednesday, September 4, Civil Administration officials, together with members from the settlers NGO Regavim, held a tour looking for Palestinian illegal construction. They took photos in Qawawis and then moved on to photograph old water holes in the area of Umm Zeituna, probably because Palestinians cleaned them recently.
That same night, settlers in the illegal new outpost of Susiya placed three illegal caravans; these did not earn a visit or supervision of the Civil Administration or Regavim.