Sunday, September 20 2020 This week – September 13-19, 2020 – in the occupied Territories

Settler-colonist gangs attacked Palestinian passersby in central Jerusalem, in the Walaje area on the outskirts of the city, and in Hebron; within days, Jerusalem courts issued three rulings in favor of evicting Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, and passing on their property to settler-colonist associations; the occupation forces demolished Palestinian homes this week, too, in neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, in the city of Hebron and its surroundings; protest demonstrations by Palestinians were held in Hares as well as in Qaddoum and Assira Al Qibliya, where the Israeli army dispersed them by force; as every year, with the High Holidays and the approaching of the olive harvest, settler-colonists accelerate their vandalism of Palestinian olive groves – this week they uprooted and cut down dozens of olive trees around the Nablus and Salfit areas;

photo: a protest prayer at Hares village, opposite the Israeli army barriers, Friday, September 18, 2020

In the past two weeks, Jerusalem courts intensified their rulings in favor of dispossessing Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem and passing on their homes to Jewish settler-colonists.
The 26 members of the Rajabi family living in the Batan Al Hawa neighborhood of Silwan were ordered to evacuate their homes in favor of the settler-colonist association of Ateret Kohanim, who has been suing for eviction about 700 Palestinians living in the neighborhood. Last January, the court had already ruled to evict another 11 families there.
In another petition, the court ruled that three families living in Sheikh Jarrah must evacuate their homes and give them over to settler-colonists. These houses were built in the 1950s by the Jordanian government and UNRWA for families of Palestinian refugees who had lost their own lands in the are of the State of Israel.
In both cases, the court rulings are based on the Israeli law that recognizes Jewish ownership of property deserted in 1948, but does not recognize Palestinian rights to property its owners were forced to abandon in the same war.
On Monday, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected an appeal by a 78-year old Silwan resident against being evicted from his home in favor of the Elad settler-colonist association. See Nir Hasson’s excellent writeup in Harretz of the subject.
On Thursday night, (September 17), a gang of dozens of Jewish youngsters attacked five Palestinian workers employed by the Jerusalem Municipality, in Zion Square. Police arrived and arrested some of the assailants. That day, in the afternoon, a worker passing the bypass road around Walaje village saw an ambulance near the checkpoint, large army forces and several Palestinians receiving medical care. According to Palestinian sources, a group of settler-colonists attacked Palestinians, some of whom were taken to hospital with fractures in their faces.
On Sunday, September 13, the occupation forces demolished 2 structures in Silwan. The next day they demolished a dwelling in the Old City of Jerusalem, and on Tuesday, dwellings in Jabal Mukabar neighborhood and another in the Beit Safafa neighborhood of the city.
On Friday, the weekly protest vigil took place in Sheikh Jarrah, while maintaining the closure and social distancing instructions.
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.

Hebron and the South Hebron Hills
A group of settler-colonists from Susya colony came down on Friday evening, September 18, entering privately owned Palestinian lands closed to Israelis by the regional commander’s orders. A Palestinian villager of Palestinian Susya ran to the spot and chased them away.
The next day, an army bulldozer blocked roads from Birin and Shab A Botom.
In Hebron, on Monday, two settler-colonists attacked a Palestinian boy at Tel Rumeida. Army forces intervened and distanced the assailants.
Around Hebron this week, the occupation forces demolished four structures in A-Tayube, two in Halhul, and another inside the city of Hebron.

Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank Hill Range
On Monday, Israeli activists accompanied shepherds in Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley. The grazing went unhampered, but the shepherds said that without accompaniment they don’t dare to even try going out with the flocks. A similar report came from nearby Nu’eima as well.
In Hamra, too, in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, shepherd accompaniment went unhampered, and there too people reported that without Israeli accompaniers, Palestinian shepherds don’t dare using grazing grounds near settler-colonies.
At Deir Jarir in the West Bank hill range a set pattern has been established: on days when the shepherds went grazing unaccompanied, settler-colonists and their flocks came to harass them and forced them to get away. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when the shepherds were accompanied, settler-colonies and their flocks were seen from afar, but kept their distance.

Throughout the West Bank
On Friday the weekly protest at Hares village (Salfit district) took place. The Israeli army blocked the exit from the village and like in previous weeks, a noontime prayer was held by about 100 people, close to this blockage. The protest took place without clashes. Although the demonstration ended prior to 14:00 (the time of lockdown), the commander of the military force demanded identification of two Israeli activists present, notifying them that they are taking part in a crowding that violates the Corona-virus limitations, and the police will send them fine documents for not keeping their distance.
On the same day, September 18, two more Palestinian protest actions were reported, to which the Israeli army responded with crowd dispersal means – one in Qaddoum village (Qalqiliya district) and the other at Assira Al Qibliya (Nablus district).
Towards the end of the week, two cases were reported of vandalism in olive tree groves, probably by settler-colonists. On Friday about 50 grown olive trees were sabotaged and harmed in three different groves of the village of A-Sawiya (Nablus district), and on Saturday Palestinians discovered that settler-colonists had vandalized about 200 olive trees in Bidiya (Salfit district), as well as damages to stone terraces. Previous years’ experience shows that vandalism against olive trees is exacerbated towards the olive harvest season that takes place in October-November.

Finally, in Natanya on Tuesday, activists replaced flags of the UAE and Bahrain – hung in town honoring the signature of hollow agreements – with Palestinian flags