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Further escalation in Issawiya: orders of administrative nocturnal house-arrest were issued against nine of the neighborhood residents – who refused to obey them, were arrested at their homes and freed the next day, because the police prosecutor did not show up for the court session discussing their remand; Jewish settler-colonist association “Regavim” toured firing zone 918 escorted by Israeli army and Civil Administration personnel who, during the tour, arrested a Palestinian medical team on its way to the village of Majaz and confiscated its vehicle; Palestinian, Israeli and international activists carried out restoration and cleansing works at the Al Beda spring in the South Hebron Hills; in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valleyk, around Dir Hajla, a joint farming work day was held by Palestinian landowners and Israeli and international activists.
Following the Israeli police’s failure to break the spirit of Issawiya’s residents through daily harassment, harsh exertion of violence and collective punishment, this week saw the beginning of a new move: Using the army and emergency authority granted the general in charge of the home front command who issued an order of nocturnal house arrest for nine of the neighborhood residents. Such orders avoid the need to place the police’s claims under scrutiny of the court of law and actually enables people to be punished without fair trial on the basis of confidential claims that the police presents to the regional commander, without any need to prove them. The orders were issued nine of the neighborhood residents in the beginning of the week.
On Thursday, January 2, when the orders went into force, the residents held a press conference at Issawiya and announced that they had no intention to follow them. Many neighborhood residents and activists were present at this occasion. Later that night the police arrested six of the people who received those warrants, and on the next day, Friday, they were brought to court for remand. A representative of the police prosecutor did not arrive although he was summoned several times by the presiding judge. She therefore ruled on Friday, at noon, to release the six unconditionally.
At the same time, Border Police and Special Police forces have continued to enter the neighborhood every evening and harass its inhabitants. Presence vigils reported lesser troops on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and the cessation of harassment and leaving as soon as activists came with cameras. On Wednesday, on the other hand, the neighborhood was entered by numerous forces who placed check-posts in the narrow alleys, disrupted traffic and threatened activists documenting these actions, pushing them violently and throwing the phone of one of the activists on the ground.
Palestinian Jordan Valley and Hill Range
Rashash saw some calm this week after on Sunday Jewish settler-colonists on horseback and mini-tractors chased away Palestinian shepherds from grazing grounds very distant from the settler-colonist outpost. Activists accompanied the shepherds to pasture on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
In the southern part of the Valley a joint workday took place last Saturday, with landowning Palestinians from around Deir Hajla near Jericho, and Israeli and international activists.
After a long calm at Auja, last Saturday (January 4) settler-colonists again were out chasing Palestinian shepherds. Activists who were nearby were summoned and accompanied the shepherds. From that moment on, grazing proceeded unhampered.
In the northern Valley, the occupation forces came back to Yarza, close to Ras Al Ahmar on Wednesday (January 1), where they last week demolished homes and sheep pens. This time they confiscated three dwelling tents provided the inhabitants by the International Red Cross as a temporary dwelling solution. On Friday (January 3) 6 tractors were also confiscated, belonging to Palestinians.
On Monday Jewish settler-colonists tried to chase away shepherds around Khirbet Makhoul, but stopped after activists turned to the police. Activists also accompanied shepherds this week at Samara and Faresiya, where no special incident was reported.
South Hebron Hills
On Thursday, January 2, settler-colonists of the “Regavim” association held a tour escorted by army troops and the Civil Administration within the 918 firing zone. Such tight cooperation of the official occupation forces and associations of right-wing settler-colonists has been documented lately on several occasions. This time, during the tour, the combined force detained members of a medical team who had arrived to provide healthcare to residents of Majaz village, and confiscated their vehicle with the excuse that entry to a firing one is prohibited for anyone not living there. There was no explanation given why this regulation did not apply to the “Regavim” members who accompanied the troops. The medical team was released after some hours. The vehicle, belonging to the Palestinian Authority, has not yet been released.
On Friday, January 3, local activists from South Hebron Hills villages, together with a delegation of Jewish activists and Israeli and international organizations, carried out restoration and cleansing work at the En Al Beda spring, that has lately been taken over by settler-colonists of the Abigail outpost. Army arriving at the spot tried to prevent the activists from planting olive trees in a privately-owned Palestinian field next to the site.