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Large army and police forces arrested a 16-year old Palestinian shepherd assaulted by Jewish settler-colonists who were riding their mini-tractor through the lands of his family at Tawamin; in the South Hebron Hills, in the Palestinian Jordan Valley and in East Jerusalem the occupation forces were out this week on a massive operation of demolishing structures, including dwellings of dozens of people; the settler-colonists of the violent outpost Havat Maon have expanded into an additional outpost right, on the track to Palestinian Tawane village – the army has positioned a permanent unit to defend the invaders, accompanied them day and night on their wild incursions into the village, and for their sake has issued a ‘closed military zone’ edict to the Palestinian residents on their own lands; Issawiya neighborhood has been under violent attack of numerous police troops all week, day and night, including live fire; a wave of arrests in East Jerusalem; the protest against the murder of Iyad Al Halaq is ongoing throughout the country, the police has responded with violence and arrested protesters in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv;
photo: Colonizing and having a good time under the protection of the Israeli army, at the new outpost, offshoot of the illegal outpost Havat Maon, near Palestinian Tawane
South Hebron Hills
Lately, police and army forces in this area have been openly acting as a private militia of the settler-colonists, and hurry to do their bidding, unabashed.
On Monday, June 1, a 16-year old shepherd came out to graze his flock on his family’s land around Tawamin. First the settler-colonists sent out a drone that scared and scattered the flock. Later they came riding a mini-tractor and tried to run over the shepherd, who found shelter in one of the caves. The shepherd called the police, saying he feared for his life. Forces were summoned and the shepherd was arrested on false charges of trespassing and causing damage (it was claimed that the scattered sheep entered areas allotted to the settler-colonists). On Saturday, May 31, the settler-colonists of the violent outpost Havat Maon erected a tent near the Tawane houses and right on the track the Palestinian residents use on their way to their fields and nearby villages. On the next day, a caravan was already there. The same day, an urgent letter went out to the Civil Administration regarding the illegal construction and threat to peace in the area, but the only reaction of the forces on the ground was to position a permanent military force to defend the invaders. Since then the new hoodlum encampment has served as a focus of harassing Palestinians and commanding the military force that has been at their beck and call.
On Wednesday night, settler-colonists along with their soldiers entered the village in order to sequester tractors, that according to the settler-colonists of the illegal outpost are used for illegal construction. Many youngsters of the village arrived and things got out of hand. According to the report we received, the settler-colonists threw stones at the villagers as well as a stun grenade, while the military force protected them.
The next day, June 4, several shepherds went out to graze at Homra valley near Tawane, accompanied by villagers. The army prevented their grazing and issued a closed military zone order for the entire valley and parts of the village Tawane itself.
On Saturday, June 6, too, settler-colonists sent their soldiers into the village, to make sure no construction work was taking place. Villagers and activists on the ground came and began photographing, and the soldiers left and returned to their position near the illegal structures of the settler-colonists whom they protect.
On Thursday, June 4, the occupation forces were out for a massive demolition operation in villages declared by the army as firing zone 918. During this operation, a dwelling was demolished at Mufaqara, another at Pahit, while at Rakiz the forces demolished 14 structures, 7 of them dwellings of 38 persons.
The next day, settler-colonists of Havat Maon went on a tour with the police to check the results at Mufaqara and Rakiz.
In Atariya, settler-colonists from the outpost Mitzpe Yair continue to have their flocks enter the fields of resident Palestinians. Such incursions took place on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday this week. On Tuesday, there were activists at the site who documented the goings-on and summoned police. Until it arrived, the invaders had already left.
The same day, activists accompanied shepherds in this area again in the afternoon, as well as on Saturday, when accompaniment of shepherds also took place at Umm Al Imad.
Palestinians of the Atariya area ask for activists to accompany them around there every day, morning and afternoon. Please try to join us.
The Palestinian Joran Valley and West Bank hill range
At Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, army troops chased away shepherds and their accompaniers from the grazing grounds on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, never showing a written order authorizing them to do so. On Wednesday grazing took place unhampered. Closeby, in Area A, settler-colonists arrived on Saturday to a place where Palestinians were carrying out farming development work, and disrupted them.
The Palestinian Jordan Valley also saw a wave of home demolitions this week. In Bardala, in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, forces arrived twice this week and demolished 4 houses. At En Al Beda, two structures were demolished, and at Dir Hijla in the southern part of the Valley, 7 structures were destroyed. 5 of them had been the dwelling of 23 persons.
The massive demolitions did not overlook East Jerusalem, where this week 2 buildings were destroyed in Silwan, 4 in Jabal Mukabar, one in Beit Hanina and one in Sur Bahr.
The Issawiya neighborhood has been under unceasing police attack day and night. Large forces keep entering it, confronting inhabitants, with massive use of teargas and sponge ammunition. This week one case was reported of using live ammunition. No casualties were reported.
On the night between Sunday and Monday (June 7-8), the police held a mass of arrests throughout East Jerusalem, during which 21 leaders were arrested.
The protest against the murder of Iyad Al Halaq by Border Policemen last Saturday does not cease. This week protest demonstrations were held in Jerusalem and throughout the country. On Tuesday, the police forcefully dispersed a protest event taking place in Jerusalem, and arrested some of the participants. Last Saturday night, the police resorted again to violence towards protesters and journalists covering the Tel Aviv demonstration, arresting 4 demonstrators.
On Wednesday we learned that the Police Internal Investigation Department has refused the request by Iyad’s family to publish or pass on to it documentation of the murder filmed by the police security cameras. The department even demanded confidentiality over the relevant court case.