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Settler-colonist terrorism is on the rise because of the standoffish, helpless support either silent or in actual fact by the Israeli occupation forces: this week, another record was set by the settler-colonists vandalizing Palestinians and their property and activists who accompany them, from Jit-Sara Junction (Qedumim) all the way to Hebron, from the West Bank Hill Range to villages, fields and junctions in the districts of Nablus, Ramallah, Salfit, Bethlehem and Tul Karm; On Friday, in A-Tawane in the South Hebron Hills, dozens of Palestinians and over 120 Israeli activists participated in a demonstration protesting the shooting by an Israeli soldier of a villager of A-Rakeez who tried to prevent the army from confiscating a generator – the army dispersed this demonstration by throwing stun grenades; on Saturday settler-colonists invaded Palestinian lands near Susya; for weeks now the settler-colonists of ‘Mitzpe Yair’ have been invading the lands, homes and tents in the village of Simra, in the South Hebron Hills; an intentional act of vandalism was perpetrated in the vehicle of two activists while they tried to prevent a settler-colonist’s cattle herd from invading a sown Palestinian field near Tayibe Junction – an act that endangered the activists’ lives; an activist was hurt by a metal rod while trying to prevent the invasion by settler-colonist flocks of the new settler-colonist outpost near Deir Jarayer
photo: Protest following the shooting of a villager of A-Rakeez, South Hebron Hills, January 15, 2021
Harassment by settler-colonists and Israeli army forces throughout the West Bank
On Monday, January 11, settler-colonists threw stones at Palestinian vehicles near the settler-colonies of Qedumim, Shilo, Tapuach and Yitzhar. According to one of the reports, about 50 settler-colonists blocked a road close to the junction of Jit-Sara (Qedumim) and threw stones at cars. One Palestinian was wounded in the eye. Close to Shilo, at least one truck was hit and its window panes smashed. Near Gil’ad Ranch a settler-colonist of the area was hurt in the head by a stone that settler-colonists threw at his car by mistake.
During the night between Monday and Tuesday, settler-colonists were documented invading the privately-owned Palestinian lands neighboring them and planting there in order to take over.
On Tuesday and Wednesday settler-colonists attacked activists who tried to protect Palestinians from incursions into their lands in the West bank Hill Range (see details below).
On Wednesday, January 13, a group of settler-colonists attacked Palestinians farmers of Aqraba and Majdal Bani Fadel (Nablus district) with sticks and stones while the latter were working their fields. According to eye-witnesses, the assailants arrived from the settle-colony Gitit. A 75-year old Palestinian was hurt in his head and taken for medical treatment.
The same night, two cars were reported burnt by settler-colonists in the Palestinian village Turmus Aya (Ramallah district). On Saturday, January 16, settler-colonists erected a new outpost on Palestinian lands belonging to the village Ras Karkar (Ramallah district).
On Sunday, January 17, a 11-year old Palestinian girl was wounded by stones thrown at her by settler-colonists in Madama (Nablus district). Close to 3 p.m. a group of about 20 settler-colonists came from Yitzhar to the village and threw stones at houses, and one of them hit the girl.
On Tuesday, January 12, occupation forces uprooted dozens of olive trees in the lands of Beit Umar (Hebron district), despite the fact that the landowner declared he holds ownership documents recognized by the occupation authorities. On Sunday, January 17, another uprooting of olive trees was reported in the lands of A-Rihiya (Hebron district), close to the settler-colony of Beit Hagai. Details of this incident are not yet available. Throughout the week, the occupation forces issued 5 eviction orders for farmlands west of the village of Deir Balout (Salfit district), close to where the army uprooted about 3,000 olive trees about 10 days ago. In recent weeks the occupation forces have noticeably accelerated their efforts to uproot olive tree groves throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Earlier this week the occupation forces demolished a structure in Khirbet A-Dir (Bethlehem district).
On Monday, January 11, 6 Palestinians were reported shot by Israeli soldiers by the Separation Fence near Tul Karm. They were taken to hospital with leg wounds varying in their severity.
Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank Hill Range
Close to the Tayibe Junction, on Monday and Tuesday activists documented settler-colonists’ flocks grazing inside privately-owned Palestinian lands that had been plowed just a few weeks ago and began to sprout. Calls to the police led to no results. On Thursday, while the activists tried in vain to make the flocks leave the fields, one of the settler-colonists vandalized the activists’ car and loosened the screws on two of its wheels. When the activists began to drive away, the wheels sprung loose and the activists were miraculously spared a serious accident. They were stuck at the gate of the settler-colony until late at night. While busy fixing their car, two settler-colonists arrived on horseback, promised to lead their flocks into the plowed fields on the morrow as well, and spat at an activist.
On Wednesday activists returned to Deir Jarayer in an attempt to distance the settler-colonists’ flocks invading Palestinian fields. Settler-colonists from the new outpost there attacked them. An activist was hit by a metal rod. Policemen arriving on the scene detained for questioning several settler-colonists and the attacked activists.
At Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds this week, no special incidents were reported.
South Hebron Hills
At A-Tawane in the South Hebron Hills, over 120 activists and dozens of Palestinians showed up for a demonstration on Friday, January 15, protesting the shooting of a A-Rakeez villager 2 weeks ago, when the occupation forces tried to confiscate his neighbors’ generator. The Israeli army prevented the demonstrators from arriving at the site by throwing stun grenades, and soldiers violently arrested an elderly Palestinian, inhabitant of the area. At the end of the demonstration, a group of settler-colonists proceeded in the direction of A-Rakeez. The inhabitants and activists with them demanded of the numerous army and Border Police personnel present to distance the settler-colonists from the village lands, but the forces preferred to ‘protect’ the settler-colonists and distance the villagers and activists with another round of stun grenades. The demonstrators refused to disperse until the settler-colonists left.
On Saturday morning, the army concentrated large forces at the Susya junction, probably because of prior knowledge about settler-colonist plans. Indeed, soon enough a report came in that dozens of settler-colonists invaded privately-owned Palestinian lands in Wadi Tawamin near Susya. Activists arriving there discovered that the army had caged the Palestinian landowners behind a fence, and enabled the settler-colonists to remain on privately-owned land that is supposedly out of bounds for Israelis by official orders. A Palestinian activist tried to demand of the military commander to remove the settler-colonists from the closed area. In response, the officer tried to chase him and other Palestinian activists away as they documented the goings-on. They insisted that their presence was allowed whilst the settler-colonists were the ones present in an area that is closed to them by official decree. The officer refused to enforce this decree, even when it was shown to him on the Palestinian activist’s phone. Only after a Civil Administration official arrived, did the settler-colonists agree to leave. At night once again a group of settler-colonists tried to invade the same lands, but this time the army prevented them from doing so.
At Simara, a group of activists accompanied Palestinian farmers who intended to plow their lands close to the ‘Mitzpe Yair’ outpost. Settler-colonists of the outpost chased the Palestinians from their own lands, invaded the village, and entered yards and structures in it. A military force present on the spot accompanied the settler-colonists among the village houses and tried to convince them to leave, but was not assertive. Only when more activists from the area arrived, was a closed military zone order issued and the settler-colonists left. Simara has been suffering for weeks now from ‘visits’ of settler-colonists of the outpost at all hours of the day and night, and according to the villagers, one night this week a settler-colonist used a knife to cut a piece of one of the dwelling tents in the village. At the villagers’ request, activists spent the night there in order to protect them.
On Monday this week, activists demonstrated opposite the military court at Ofer army base, in protest of the arrest of a Palestinian activist who took part in the demonstration at A-Rakeez last week. Large occupation forces arrived but enabled the protest to take place.
In Jerusalem earlier this week the occupation forces demolished a structure at Anata.
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.
We will meet at the Sheikh Jarrah Garden, Nablus Road and Dahlmann St. at at 3 p.m