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photo: Protest demonstration of villagers and activists, Saturday, January 2, 2021, after soldiers shot and critically wounded Harun Abu ‘Aram at Rakeez village
On Friday, January 1, 2021, the occupation forces fired live ammunition at Harun Abu ‘Aram, Palestinian in his twenties, who tried to prevent them from confiscating a generator at Rakeez village. After the shooting the soldiers ran away without extending any help to the wounded man. Harun was critically wounded by a bullet that entered his neck and exited the back of his neck, and since then hospitalized in critical condition, paralyzed from the head down. The Israeli army spokesperson hurried to publish a false notification about riots in which 150 Palestinians participated. As one can see in the video documenting the event, and according to eye-witnesses, there were less than 10 Palestinians present, some of whom tried to hold on to the generator and prevent its confiscation. The soldiers also fired shots at the tires of a vehicle in which one of the villagers tried to evacuate the wounded man to hospital.
Activists arriving on the scene that day collected testimonies of eye-witnesses and mainly attempted to offer support to the dazed family members. While they were there, activists were summoned to accompany villagers from Bir Al Eid who were afraid to go back home – during the previous night settler-colonists of the nearby outpost ‘Mitzpe Yair’ blocked yet again the only way to Bir Al Eid with boulders. Helped by locals, the activists removed the series of boulders piled along about 100 meters of the way, and enabled the villagers to return home. The next day, Saturday, activists remained in Rakeez to protect villagers busy with their farm work. Another group of activists accompanied farmers plowing Palestinian lands near the private outpost of Yaacov Taliya’s sons. Settler-colonists of the outpost and others summoned to the site tried to prevent the plowing. Army forces arriving at the spot eventually enabled the work to be done, but did not distance the settler-colonists who kept disturbing the workers, blocked tractors, grabbed their keys, attacked workers and demonstratively entered the plowed area officially closed to Israelis. The DCO officer – who was in charge during the previous night of the confiscation and shooting at Rakeez – was present. A police force arrived refused the Palestinians’ request to attend to the law-breaking settler-colonists, but issued Corona fines to activists who came to accompany the plowing Palestinian farmers.
Later on Saturday, Rakeez villagers and Israeli activists held a protest action against the shooting of Harun Abu ‘Aram, and another protest took place the next day.
All during the week prior to the shooting, occupation forces harassed Palestinians in the Massafer Yatta region. On Monday, they confiscated a truck at Fakhit village, on Tuesday they demolished a structure at Khaldiya near Ma’in, and two structures at Wadi Jheish. At Bawab a dwelling tent was confiscated. Wednesday evening, the settler-colonist gang returned to hold searches in the area’s villages, and this time in Simara, Sha’ab A-Botom, and Umm Darit. On Friday morning, a settler-colonist attacked a Palestinian shepherd grazing around Umm Zaitouna and wounded one of his goats. On Monday, Decemer 28, activists accompanied plowing work on lands of Shweike near the settler-colonist outpost ‘Mitzpe Eshtamo’a’. Settler-colonists of this outpost threw stones at the people plowing. A military force arriving there enabled the plowing work to continue but prevented it in part of the area, abiding by the settler-colonists’ desire.
At Auja, in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, this week activists accompanied shepherds to their grazing grounds on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Settler-colonists and soldiers together chased the shepherds away on Monday. On Tuesday grazing went unhampered, and on Friday soldiers returned to chase away the shepherds as they were told to do by settler-colonists. However, while they were busy handing out Corona-fine forms to the activists, the shepherds continued their grazing unhampered. Shepherds from this region report that the settler-colonists chase their flocks time and again, entering the flock with their vehicles and using drones. On Monday, the occupation forces demolished 3 structures between Auja and Nu’eima.
On Sunday, December 27, 2020, activists accompanied plowing in the Tayibe Junction area, on the West Bank Hill Range. After several hours of quiet work, settler-colonists arrived, frightening the tractor drivers who were forced to stop and run away. On Friday, January 1, 2021, activists were summoned to fields plowed only a few week earlier, and discovered a flock of cattle – owned by settler-colonists from the nearby outpost – grazing in the just-sprouted fields. Soldiers and police summoned to the site promised to speak with the settler-colonists of the outpost. Later the same settler-colonists blocked the activists’ vehicle, opened the back door of the car and grabbed equipment. A complaint has been lodged with the police.
On Monday, December 28, 2020, farmers of Jarayer and accompanying activists wished to plow the ground near the outpost which settler-colonists had erected the previous week. An Israeli army force present declared it could not guarantee their safety. The next day, the activists accompanied a plowing session there that was coordinated with and secured by the army. On Friday, Palestinians attempted to hold a protest action against the outpost built on Jarayer land, but were violently dispersed by the occupation forces.
At En Sakut in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, it was reported on Monday that settler-colonists had fenced in the spring and the pools around it. The ground is owned by Palestinian owners and acknowledged by the court, but for some time now the area’s settler-colonists forcibly prevent the Palestinian landowners from accessing their area. The matter has been handed over to legal care.
On Tuesday, activists accompanied shepherds at Hamra.
On Tuesday, December 29, 2020, the occupation forces demolished 2 structures in Hares (Salfit district), and on Thursday uprooted about 200 olive trees in a grove inside the village lands, in the area between settler-colonies Revava and Kiryat Netafim. Last June the Civil Administration issued an edict according to which this is state land and the trees (planted there 10-15 years ago) must be removed. Hares villagers hold documents proving ownership of the land from before 1967, and even had the Civil Administration’s confirmation of this. In May, Israeli citizens uprooted 200 olive trees not far from there. Since then, the owner has attempted to plant new trees which were also vandalized.
On Friday at noon a small protest demonstration was held there. About 30 Palesitnians and 4 Israelis marched from the village to the groves between Revava and Kiryat Netafim, held a protest prayer and monitored the grove that had been destroyed. Soldiers arrived, but did not intervene.
On Friday protest demonstrations also took place in towns near Salfit and Bidiya.
All week, reports came in of road-blocks, stone-throwing and open violence by Israelis, especially along road 60. On Tuesday, stones were thrown at Palestinian vehicles in the following junctions: Yitzhar, Qedumim, Dir Sharaf, Shilo, Giv’at Asaf and Gush Etzyon. The next day and on Thursday, Palestinian vehicles were attacked by Israelis in Huwarra, Giv’at Asaf, Beit El, Qedumim, and Gush Etzyon, as well as close to Bitin, Sinjil, and Turmus Aya. At least one person, a villager from Ras Karkar, was lightly wounded by shrapnel at Beit El junction. In photographed documentation of some of the events, Israeli soldiers are seen accompanying the Israeli vandals and securing them.
During the night between Wednesday and Thursday, about 30 settler-colonists, apparently from the outpost ‘Ahiya’ entered the village of Jaloud, throwing stones and smashing glass panes of vehicles.
This week, the occupation forces also demolished 3 structures in Nahalin (Bethlehem district), and 2 in Luban A-Sharquiya (Nablus district). On Wednesday it was reported that dozens of olive trees were uprooted by occupation soldiers in Jab’a (Bethlehem district).
In Jerusalem, right-wing demonstrators continued to vandalize property, target vehicles and attack Palestinian pedestrians. On Tuesday, windows were smashed at the Health Insurance branch of Seikh Jarrah, and vehicles in the nearby streets were hit, and on Thursday a vehicle was attacked at Bar-Ilan junction for carrying Palestinians – it was hit and its windows were targeted. The car managed to escape after being seriously harmed.
The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah takes place every Friday. The residents of Sheikh Jarrah 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.