Sunday, September 13 2020 This week – September 6-12, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories

At Ras A-Tin on the West Bank Hill Range the occupation forces confiscated tin roof plates, tables and chairs of schoolchildren at the local schoolhouse; at En Samiya in the same region Palestinian and Israeli activists thwarted the founding of a new settler-colonist outpost on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Mughayar; the villagers of Hares continue to demonstrate, protesting the theft of their land, prevention of access and vandalism – recently the Israeli army has issued a confiscation order of 20 dunams of the land belonging to nearby Deir Balut, claiming that it is an archeological site; Israeli soldiers joined settler-colonists in a night raid on sheep pens at Tuba village in the South Hebron Hills, claiming the Palestinians stole sheep, a claim that proved false; attempts to chase away Palestinian shepherds from their grazing grounds in the Palestinian Jordan Valley, the West Bank Hill Range and the South Hebron Hills regions continue; the Israeli government has allotted 20 million shekel for the mapping of illegal Palestinian construction in Area C, at the bidding of the settler-colonist association Regavim; OCHA, the UN Humanitarian Coordination Organization, has publicized the data of demolitions of Palestinian strutures by Israel during the Corona crisis: 389 structure have been demolished, averaging 65 a month – the highest rate of demolitions in the past 4 years.

photo: an attempt to found a new settler-colonist outpost in the West Bank Hill Range on Palestinian lands belonging to Mughayar inhabitants, thwarted this week

The Palestinian Jordan Valley and West Bank Hill Range
At En Samiya in the West Bank Hill Range, this week Palestinian and Israeli activists managed to thwart the founding of a new outpost on land belonging to Mughayar villagers, near the quarry of settler-colony Kochav Ha-Shachar. Following earlier information about the settler-colonists’ intentions to found a new outpost in the area, local landowners reached the spot accompanied by Palestinian and Israeli activists. After dark, a group of settler-colonists arrived in five cars, but upon seeing the activists they did not unload the equipment they brought along. Many others joined them, some masked, as well as security officials of the nearby settler-colonies and Israeli army forces. Some of the settler-colonists threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, caused damages, and claimed that two persons were injured. This time the army separated the two groups and a certain point even used stun grenades to distance the settler-colonists! They left.
At nearby Deir Jarir, activists accompanied the shepherds most days this week. On Sunday, after a settler-colonist approached the Palestinians’ flocks with his own flock, police was summoned but a policeman arriving at the scene refused to make him leave. On Monday and Tuesday, grazing went unhampered. On Thursday, as the grazing was over and the shepherds were already on their way back home, an Israeli military force arrived, claimed that military maneuvers were taking place there, and demanded that the shepherds leave without producing an official order or any document. Since the grazing session was over anyway, the shepherds and their accompaniers left.
The same day, at Ras A-Tin, also in the West Bank Hill Range, east of Ramallah, occupation forces confiscated tin sheets at the local schoolhouse, as well as 30 chairs and 12 desks of the schoolchildren. Similar confiscations at this school have recently taken place pm September 3 and August 31.
On Tuesday, activists accompanying shepherds at Auja, in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley reported that an army jeep rode into one of the flocks and chased it away from the grazing ground without the soldiers responding to the accompaniers’ demand to present some official order preventing grazing there, while the spot is surrounded by Waqf land where grazing is allowed.
At Hamra in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley this week, activists accompanied shepherds on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. The grazing usually went unhampered, but on Friday a settler-colonist entered the Palestinians’ flock and tried to chase it away. The activists summoned the police and the settler-colonist left as army and police arrived. Grazing continued until done.
Accompaniment of Palestinian shepherds to grazing grounds in both areas, West Bank Hill range and the Auja area, involves a great number of activists, and many more are needed during the next few weeks.

South Hebron Hill
On Tuesday, September 8, heavy equipment has begun to prepare a track on the land belonging to Zanouta village as a part of the plan to expand the industrial zone Meitarim of the area’s settler-colonists. The Palestinians crowded at the spot and their protest caused the works to stop.
Close to Birin, south-east of Hebron, a settler-colonist again tried to found an outpost, close to the spot where he had already tried to do so twice in recent weeks. This time he came there with a caravan. Local Palestinians summoned the police, and it prevented him from carrying out his plan.
On Monday night, a band of settler-colonists raided the Palestinian village of Tuba. The villagers summoned the police, which arrived along with the army. However, after the police left, Israeli occupation soldiers joined the settler-colonists and searched the village’s sheep pens, claiming that settler-colonists’ sheep had been stolen. After the search ended with nothing found, but having disrupted the lives of the villagers, the vandals and the soldiers serving them left the place.
At Wadi Swayd, on Wednesday, a settler-colonist accompanied by dogs tried to chase away a Palestinian shepherd from the vicinity of the new outpost of settler-colony Susya.
On Saturday, activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds to their grazing ground at Umm Zaitouna. An Israeli military force arrived even before the grazing began, and the soldiers tried to prevent the shepherds from passing. An officer of the Civil Administration notified another shepherd, a bit further away, that he was forbidden to graze his sheep in the lands near Carmel settler-colony, where there is actually no legal basis for such prevention. The shepherd answered that these were privately-owned Palestinian lands tended for years on end, and continued what he was doing. After the activists left, the shepherd was approached by the security official of the settler-colony, and he too demanded that he leave.

Throughout the West Bank, and East Jerusalem
On last Friday, September 11, again, Hares villagers (in the vicinity of Salfit) and activists who support their struggle, demonstrated in protest of the uprooting of an olive tree grove belonging to a Hares villager, near the settler-colony of Revava. As in previous weeks, a large force of Israeli army and Border Police blocked the exit from the village and prevented people from coming to the area where the trees had been uprooted. Lately, villagers in this area have suffered numerous attempts to take over their land. Several kilometers north-west of Hares, the Israeli army prevents farmers from tending their fields, where they were violently attacked by settler-colonists about 2 months ago. South-west of Hares, on the lands belonging to Deir Balut village, the army has issued confiscation orders for about 20 dunams of land, claiming them to be an archeological site.
In the Bethlehem district, on Wednesday, September 9, the occupation authorities notified inhabitants of a change in the intended use of land around Abu Maher near settler-colony Nokdim, and around Beit Umar, near settler-colony Alon Shevut, in order to expand these colonies and steal more land from the Palestinians.
On Saturday evening, September 12, a tour was conducted to the home of the Somarin family in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, by some dozens of activists, during which they met the family members and heard about the JNF’s intentions to evict them and pass their home on to the settler-colonists.
This week, the humanitarian coordinator of OCHA reported that during the Corona crisis, between March and August 2020, 389 structures owned by Palestinians have been either demolished or taken over – averaging 65 a month. This is the highest rate of demolitions in the past 4 years. Besides homes, the structures demolished or taken over included among other things property connected with water supply or sanitation, as well as agricultural structures, thus impacting the access of many to livelihood as well as services. 50 of these structures have been given to the Palestinians as humanitarian aid, so that their demolition has impacted the weakest and most vulnerable in society, as well as emergency measures.
At the same time, at the height of an economic crisis, the State of Israel – in the service of the settler-colonist association Regavim – has allotted 20 million shekels to map illegal Palestinian construction in the West Bank’s Area C. This is the first time that a targeted sum is allotted for such mapping out of the state’s budget. No such budget has been allotted for mapping illegal construction in the illegal Jewish settler-colonies and outposts.
The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah continues to take place every Friday, adhering to emergency procedures. The residents of Sheikh are protesting their violent evictions from their homes, the taking over of the neighborhood by the settlers, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem. They call upon each and every person who supports their struggle to join them.