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Steep escalation throughout: Jewish settler-colonists from outposts and colonies in the South Hebron Hills, Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank hill ranges have been attacking Palestinian shepherds, farmers and whole communities fully backed up by the Israeli army, taking advantage of the closure in Israel and the resulting absence of Israeli activists on the ground; a retarded youth from Tuba who was picking Akoub herbs was arrested, restrained and taken to a distant Israeli army camp, and released from there no phone nor any contact with his family; settler-colonists from Havat Maon are coming day after day to attack and throw stones at the Palestinian village of Tawane, and among other means have released a dog that bit and wounded a Palestinian in the belly, while his friends were wounded by beating and teargas fired by violent Israeli soldiers – who attacked them in stead of chasing away their assailants; incursions from the outposts on the hill range into Palestinians’ fields and attacks against shepherds this week have caused several communities to dismantle their tents and leave; in the northern abd southern Palestinian Jordan Valley the occupation forces are on a rampage of demolitions in the midst of this Corona virus crisis, destroying dwellings and a mosque, and sequestering materials that were meant to construct two clinics.
Photo: The Havat Maon vandal with their dogs and weapons attack Palestinians from Tawane on their (Palestinian) owned land
South Hebron Hills
The settler-colonists take advantage of the state of emergency and absence of Israeli activists on the ground to escalate their harassment of Palestinian inhabitants and make them leave their lands, with the Israeli army helping exacerbate these actions all the way.
On Sunday, March 22, the Israeli army chased away shepherds in Haruba near Tawane, and on Tuesday settler-colonists chased away shepherds near the settler-colony of Sham’a. IN both areas, expelling the shepherds had no legal basis whatsoever to prevent them from grazing there.
On Monday, March 23, the security official at settler-colony Maon summoned the army in order to harass a retarded youth from Tuba who was picking wild Akoub herbs. The soldiers arrested the boy, restrained him and confiscated the herb and his scissors. He was taken to the army base near Yatir checkpoint. The boy has no cell phone and when finally released, had to walk from the Yatir checkpoint all the way to Kawawis, and only then was there contact with his family. The same security official at Maon summoned the army on Thursday, too, this time to chase away shepherds grazing their flock on their privately owned lands in the Hali valley, near Tawane. The soldiers who arrived on the spot detained the shepherds for nearly an hour.
Assaults by settler-colonists against residents of Tawane and its surroundings have escalated greatly during the weekend. On Friday around noon, a group of settler-colonists attacked shepherds in Humra valley with stones, and one of them set his dog at them. One of the Palestinians was bitten in his hand and belly and needed medical care. Another settler-colonist held a handgun, pointed it and threatened to fire. (A video of this attack is attached here). At the same time, another group of settler-colonists came to the outskirts of the village and threw stones at the house on the village edge. Soldiers summoned to help arrived and immediately declared a closed military zone, and violently distanced the local Palestinians. On Saturday, around 2:30 p.m., a girl accompanied by two young men left Tawane in the direction of Tuba. Settler-colonists came down from the Habat Maon outpost to block their way and threw stones at them. The three tried to run back to the village, but more settler-colonists with their dogs joined the attack and chased the youngsters all the way to the house on the edge of Tawane, and began throwing stones at the village. Soldiers reached the spot, and instead of dealing with the settler-colonists turned to chase Palestinians, fired teargas at them and beat them violently. A Palestinian was harmed by inhaling teargas, another was wounded in his hand when a settler-colonist tried to grab his cell phone. A third Palestinian was wounded, beaten in the head by a soldier with his rifle butt while arresting him. The army arrested him and two more Palestinian villagers. Two of the arrestees were released later that evening, the third is still in custody. No settler-colonist was detained or arrested. All afternoon, until 7 p.m. the settler-colonists continued their attacks in the Humra valley and outskirts of Tawane.
Thanks to the closure, Jewish settler-colonists with their donkeys invaded fields owned and tended by Palestinians at Umm Al Arais, and caused extensive damages.
Since closure was imposed on the territories, Israeli soldiers have been preventing passage at Yatir Checkpoint of the Abu Kabita family members, who are caged beyond the Separation Fence inside the Seam-line Zone, and need to travel to Palestinian towns for supplies and medical care. On Thursday evening, March 26, one of the family children needed urgent medical care, but was detained at the checkpoint and only much later transferred for treatment.
The Palestinian Jordan Valley and West Bank hill ranges
Near the settler-colony Rimonim on the West Bank hill ranges settler-colonists continue their daily incursions out of their new outpost into Palestinian-owned and tended fields. This week they threatened the inhabitants of one of the local communities and caused them and other shepherd communities in the area to dismantle their tents and leave.
At Rashash settler-colonists of the outpost continue their illegal road-paving inside a firing zone. In one instance this week, activists documented the activity and return of the heavy equipment to the outpost – located inside an army base – and passed this filmed evidence to army officers and the Civil Administration.
Inhabitants of shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley – Khalat Makhoul, Humsa, Al Hadidiya, Ras Al Ahmar and others – are suffering serious nutrition and economic shortages due to the closures that prevent them from traveling to Palestinian towns.
In this region, too, settler-colonists are taking advantage of the absence of Israeli activists in order to expel shepherds from growing areas, vigorously helped by the Isralei army. On Wednesday, March 26, settler-colonists from Maskiyot settler-colony, aided by Israeli soldiers, attacked shepherds from En Al Hilwa. The soldiers arrested two shepherds, releasing them several hours later. Settler-colonists attacked the son of one of the arrested shepherds, who was hurt and taken to hospital in Toubas.
At the same time, in the midst of the present state of emergency, occupation forces went on a confiscation and structure destruction rampage on Thursday, March 27. At Khirbet Ibzik in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, metal rods, plastic sheets and other materials meant for constructing clinics were all confiscated, and four dwelling structures were demolished – put up as emergency aid for families whose homes had been demolished as well as mosque. The same day, the army demolished three dwellings at En A-Duyuk in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley.
The Jerusalem district police continues its incursions in the neighborhood of Issawiya nearly every day in the late afternoon, puts up checkposts, exerts violence and intentionally creates crowding.