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This week large bands of Jewish settler-colonists, some of them armed, invaded Palestinian shepherd communities around Rashash, leaving behind three wounded and damage to property; Twice incursions took place in Auja west encampments, where they attacked and wounded a Palestinian, without any Israeli army or police intervention; Masked settler-colonists attacked Israeli activists and Palestinian shepherds up the hill west of Auja, and when the activist who was pepper sprayed attempted to lodge a complaint at the Binyamin police station, he found himself interrogated under warning; The security official of settler-colony Mevo Jericho attacked a Palestinian child, but the Israeli police chose to detain an Israeli activist who was present on the spot; occupation forces confiscated a caravan (trailer) at the Palestinian Susya schoolhouse during school hours, beat up the principal in front of the children and arrested a Palestinian activist on false accusations;
photo: Jewish settler-colonists descend to attack Palestinian shepherds and accompanying activists on Tuesday, February 18, up the hill west of Auja
The Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank Hills
On Sunday, February 16, armed bands of settler-colonists invaded Palestinian shepherd in the area around the settler-colonies of Rimonim and Kochav Ha-Shachar and the nearby outposts, pretending to search for livestock that they claimed was stolen from them. One group invaded a shepherd community in the Rashash area, leaving three wounded and damage to property. Another armed band of about 30 settler-colonists arrived at the shepherd encampments around western Auja and left as soon as activists arrived, having been alerted.
On Tuesday, February 18, when shepherd and their activist accompaniers went up to graze on the hillside west of Auja, they were attacked by about eight masked settler-colonists. One of the attackers pepper-sprayed an activist in the face and temporarily harmed his eyesight. When the activist wished to lodge a complaint about the attack at the Binyamin police station, he found himself interrogated on suspicion of assault, and was freed under limiting conditions.
On Friday, February 21, settler-colonists again arrived at the grazing grounds west of Auja and tried to chase away Palestinian shepherds. One of the assailants falsely claimed that stones had been thrown at him, and summoned the army and police. When the activists returned from pasture they were detainedon the spot for a while. During this time a band of armed settler-colonists arrived at the Palestinian encampment. They attacked and wounded one young Palestinian. The activists and a policeman who was on site at the time went out towards them. Army troops preferred to leave, and none of the settler-colonists was detained.
In southern Auja activists accompanied shepherds on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In nearly all these cases army or settler-colonists arrived at some point to chase away the shepherds. On Friday one of the shepherds reported he was hit by a soldier with his gun. On Tuesday the army took care not to be present in the hours during which settler-colonists held a tree-planting event on privately-owned Palestinian land, in spite of the fact that the authorities were notified of this in real time.
At nearby Nu’eime, the security official of settler-colony Mevo’ot Jericho attacked a Palestinian shepherd boy on Sunday, February 16, and lied about an activist who arrived on the spot attacking him. The activist was arrested the next day on his way to accompany shepherds, interrogated at the police station and freed under limiting conditions.
In the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, on Friday, February 21, a settler-colony band from the Umm Zuka outpost attacked shepherds from Samara and activists who accompanied them, and violently chased away the flocks. On Wednesday, February 19, it was the army who chased away the shepherds on behest of the settler-colonists, but when activists and a TV film crew arrived, the occupation forces admitted that the shepherds were permitted to graze there. On Saturday, settler-colonists of the Umm Zuka outpost began to erect an illegal fence that blocks passage of Palestinian shepherds to their grazing grounds, where even the army permits them to be.
On Monday, February 17, quite accompaniment of shepherds took place around En Al Hilwa, and Monday and Friday also saw peaceful accompaniment of shepherds from Faresiya.
South Hebron Hills
On Tuesday, February 18, the Israeli army chased away Palestinian shepherds from the area lying between Tawane and Tuba. A Palestinian was detained on the ground for about half an hour. On Wednesday, February 19, the occupation forces arrived to confiscate a caravan serving the schoolhouse at Palestinian Susya. During this act, taking place during school hours in front of the school children, the principal was beaten up, and a Palestinian activist was arrested and accuse of assault. He was released the next evening, after detailed filmed material was shown proving that no such attack took place on the part of the activist. No measures were taken against Border Policemen who had falsely accused him.
On Saturday, February 22, a group of 7-8 settler-colonists came down from Havat Maon towards Palestinian shepherds who were grazing around Harouba, near Tawane, on known privately-owned Palestinian land. They were followed by army, Border Police and police, who violently pushed the Palestinian shepherds away as well as activists who accompanied them, and even detained an international activist inside a police vehicle for half an hour. Although Palestinian ownership in the area is even recognized by the “civil administration” of the occupation army, the soldiers stated that the place belongs to “Havat Maon settler-colonists” and is out of bounds for Palestinians.
On Wednesday the Jerusalem municipality announced its freeze on home demolitions in the Issawiya neighborhood for half a year, in order to complete a masterplan and try to regulate construction accordingly. Since August 2019, 13 buildings in the neighborhood have been demolished. On Thursday, February 20, a demonstration took p[lace opposite the Jerusalem District Police HQ, protesting the shooting of a 9-year old boy in the face in Issawiya last Saturday. The child lost one eye and there is still fear of losing sight in his other eye, as well as brain damage.
On Friday, a military bulldozer was documented speeding down the alleys of Qaddoum village and pushing rocks at participants of the local weekly demonstration.