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Gangs of settler-colonists, massively aided by Israeli soldiers and police, attacked palestinian shepherds, farmers and property throughout the West Bank this week: 6 olive harvesters attacked in Huwarra were wounded, and the olive grove set on fire; The Israeli army hurled teargas canisters to protect an incursion of settler-colonists into the Palestinian village of Bourin, where two children were hurt and homes were damaged; an entire olive grove was destroyed in Qawawis; settler-colonists’ dogs caused destruction and death in a flock of sheep near Umm Zaitouna, and the person arrested and still under arrest is the attacked Palestinian shepherd; an incursion by settler-colonists into a privately-owned Palestinian land in the village of Deir Istiya, where they rebuilt a ‘wading pool’ at the same spot where the Civil Administration had demolished their previous attempt – ended with the arrest of the Palestinian landowner and an activist who accompanied him; all this happened behind the silence curtain of the Israeli media, who have consistently ignored all the reports from the ground.
photo: the pool rebuilt by the settler-colonists now, at the same spot, after the Civil Administration destroyed it last July
Throughout the West Bank
On Thursday, October 7, settler-colonists from Yitzhar attacked olive harvesters and activists who helped them in Huwarra (Nablus district). The attackers were escorted by Israeli soldiers who not only didn’t prevent the settler-colonists from throwing stones at the harvesters, but actually fired teargas and stun grenades at the harvesters and accompanying activists. Six harvesters were wounded and a fire broke out in the olive grove as a result of a stun grenade fired by the soldiers. The event, well documented by video, was not reported in Israeli media.
On Friday, October 9, a Yesh Din researcher reported that a group of masked settler-colonists descended from the outpost Giv’at Ronen around 17:30 towards homes in the eastern neighborhood of the Palestinian village of Bourin. The event lasted over 20 minutes, during which army forces arrived, firing teargas at the Palestinians. Two children were hurt by inhaling it, and damage was done to the houses. The vandals returned unhampered to their outpost. This case too was documented on video.
During a protest action that Palestinians held in Beit Dajan that day, against a new outpost erected on their land, soldiers fired teargas directly at dozens of people engaged in the Friday prayers. Earlier, the army tried to disperse the protesters with stun grenades and teargas, but dozens managed to come back to the spot and pray. The soldiers blocked demonstrators at a distance of over a kilometer from the settlers’ outpost, erected 2 weeks ago.
Due to the olive harvest, the weekly Friday demonstration at Hares did not take place.
On Saturday, farmers and activists accompanying them at nearby Deir Istiya were attacked in an area adjacent to the fence of settler-colony Yakir, a privately owned Palestinain plot whose ownership is attested in Civil Administration documentation and ruled in earlier court sessions. In May, settler-colonists from Yakir dug a hole in the ground, poured cement into it and turned it into a ‘wading pool’, including benches put up in the shade of the trees on site. The landowner managed to arrive there a few times while the work went on, and showed soldiers and policemen his ownership papers. However, the Israeli authorities did not stop the works (that were illegal even if they had not been carried out on private land) and the pool was completed. With the help of the Yesh Din NGO, the landowner appealed to the Civil Administration and in a very rare instance, succeeded to have them demolish the pool in July. Needless to mention, no measures were taken against the violators although their identity was known. A complaint lodged with the police, complete with identifying details of the perpetrators, was dismissed within a week.
Last week, the settler-colonists again built the pool on the very same spot they had built it before. On Saturday, the landowner arrived there accompanied by several Israeli activists. Within 15 minutes, the settler-colony security official arrived, summoned army and police, and the policemen notified the activists that they were detained on account of “destroying a water spring”. The owner showed the policeman a Civil Administration document reasserting removal of the invasion to his land, but the policeman notified him and an Israeli activist that they were detained since they are needed for questioning, and refused to explain why. The two were taken to the Ariel police station. The Israeli activist was released a few hours later, but the Palestinan land owner remained in custody for assault and property destruction, and his arrest has been extended until Monday, October 12.
South Hebron Hills
Settler-colonists from the outpost Mitzpe Yair, riding motorcycles, invaded the Palestinian village of Qawawis a few times on Sunday and Tuesday, ran wild among the tents and shacks and threatened to damage the village olive trees. And indeed, on Thursday, October 8, an entire olive tree grove was found ruined. On Saturday, activists documented the damage: all 37 trees were cut from their roots, beyond any chance of recovery.
On Tuesday, October 6, around Umm Zaitouna, settler-colonists from the new outpost there attacked a Palestinian shepherd who was grazing his flock near the village of Taghale, threw stones at the sheep and set their dog on them. As a result of the attack, one ewe was killed, four miscarried, and at least another three were wounded from stones and dog bites. After the attack, Israeli soldiers joined the assailants and blamed the shepherds for entering settler-colonist lands. An hour later, police came to the village and arrested the shepherd who was attacked, claiming he threw stones at his attackers. In a session to prolong his arrest, on Thursday, a military judge did prolong his custody until Monday this week. The court protocol specifies that the assailants are not locals, claiming they were ‘hiking’ (during a strict lockdown…). The police did nothing to look into the claims of the shepherds or document the horrid results of the assault.
On Friday, activists joined a protest action of the local villagers against the new outpost from which the assailants had arrived. In spite of the army’s attempts to block their way, the protestors did get to the place and held their prayer on site. On Saturday activists accompanied the shepherds with their herd to graze there. A settler-colonist who headed towards them with dogs turned back and their grazing went unhampered.
This week Israeli activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds around Nu’eima. This went unhampered on Wednesday. On Friday, a settler-colonist from Mevo’ot Yericho came to the area, drove very fast towards the flock and began honking until the flock scattered in fright. The shepherds and their flocks were forced to go back home.
Today, October 12, 2020, is the 77th day of hunger striking by administrative detainee Maher Khares, hospitalized in critical condition at Kaplan Hospital.