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Occupation magazine - Settlements

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Settler violence report: March-April 2010
By: Ahmad Jaradat, Anna Macchi
Alternative Information Center
3 May 2010

Hebron and South West Bank
- In the last week of March, hundreds of settlers –some of them armed– came to the Old City of Hebron and organized marches during the celebrations of the Jewish feast of Pesach, which occurred in those days. The settlers stoned and attacked the Palestinians in the streets. The shops in the area were also targeted. These marches and attacks took place within full view of the Israeli soldiers placed there to guard the settlers. Moreover, the soldiers prevented the Palestinians from moving freely in the Old City until the settlers finished their celebration. In addition to these attacks, during this week Palestinians were not allowed to enter and pray in the Ibrahimi Mosque on most days. On 1 April, thousands of settlers from the West Bank and Israel gathered near the Ibrahimi Mosque for a big celebration and raised slogans against Arabs with loudspeakers. They were celebrating and supporting Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu`s announcement to include the Ibrahimi Mosque and other holy places in the West Bank in the Jewish National Heritage List. Settler marches continued in the first week of April.

- On 8 April, at noon, a settler ran over Bara’ al-Sharabatee, a 7-year-old Palestinian girl, on the main road near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, east of the city. The child was taken to Al-Ahlee Hospital for medical treatment, her conditions described as not serious. In the accident she suffered some injuries to her face.

- On 13 April, settlers reached the area of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, fired in the air and threatened a farmer, Ahmad Abu Hashem, not to come back to his land near the settlement. A group of twenty students rallied in protest of settler aggressions against Palestinian farmers, and were dispersed by Israeli soldiers.

- On 17 April, in the evening, two young Palestinians were hospitalized in Hebron after several settlers beat them. Local sources reported to the AIC that Mohammed abd-Al –Raouf Al-Mohtaseb, 19 years old, and Rushdi Al-Muhtaseb, 18 years old, were attacked by settlers while walking together in front of their houses, close to the Ibrahimi Mosque. The soldiers standing at the checkpoint did nothing to stop the settlers.

- On 21 April, settlers from Kfar Etzion, north of Hebron District, opened the sewage pipes in the agriculture land near the settlement. Seventy dunums of land were covered by the sewage. The land belongs to Sabarna family from the village of Beit Ummar, south of the settlement. The land was planted with grapes. A delegation formed by the Mayor of the village Nasree Sabarna, representatives from the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry, the Palestinian Solidarity Group in the village and the Local National Committee visited the place and documented the aggression. The mayor raised this issue with the Israeli side and presented a complaint against the settlers to the police station in Kfar Etzion.

- On 22 April, an Israeli army officer and soldiers in the south Hebron hills came to the farmers from the town of Yatta and ordered them to remove their tents from the sites called Shi’b El-Botom and Ma’een, east of the town. The soldiers told them that they were not allowed to live there. However, very close to that area there are many settlements and outposts including Iva Hal, Mitsa Yaeer and Susiya. The place has been targeted by settler attacks in the past months, who are trying to confiscate this land to expand the settlements. The Municipality of Yatta denounced these attacks to Palestinian and Israeli official sides and to other international organizations operating there, including an Italian Voluntary Group, and to a Church-based human rights organization called Saint Eve.

- On 28 April, settlers from the Karmei Tzur settlement, north of Hebron Distinct, located between the towns of Beit Ummarr and Halhoul, damaged and uprooted approximately 100 trees on 6 dunums of land, near the settlement fence. The trees belonged to the brothers Mosa and Issa Younis Arar from Beit Ummar. Because of the land`s location near the settlement fence, the Israeli army declared the area a closed military zone 7 years ago. The owners need a permit to visit and work their land. The settlers tried to confiscate the land, despite the fact that the Israeli Supreme Court allowed the owners to cultivate it without any permission. However, the army has to date not allowed implementation of this decision.

Nablus and North of West Bank
- On 15 March, a group of settlers took over some land located in the town of Ya’bod, south-east of Jenin in the north West Bank. The site is called Khirbet Al-Mukahhal. As eyewitnesses reported, “tens of settlers reached the site, built fences, brought water tanks and raised Israeli flags. The Israeli army prevented the Palestinian farmers from working their land and forced them to leave the area. Sources say it seems the settlers want to establish a new outpost on the site.

- On 18 March, settlers from the ‘Aleh settlement, east of Qaryout village in Nablus District, uprooted 25 olive trees in the site called Botausha, west of the village. The Mayor of the village, Abd –Al Nasser Al-Qaryoutee, reported that “this is the second time since last week that settlers damage trees in the same area.” The trees belonged to Mohammed Jaber, Ahmed Jabber, Abd Al Azeez Al-Merdawee and Yasser Hasan.

- On 23 March, settlers from several settlements located around the Sinjel village, north of Ramallah, attacked farmers from the village close to the main road and prevented them from reaching the land near the settlement of Gev’at Haronei. The Mayor of the village, Imad Masalmeh, stated that approximately 50 settlers, most of them young, gathered from the seven settlements in the area, especially from Ma’aleh Leonat and Giv’at Haronei. They stoned the farmers who came to work the land belonging to two small villages near Sinjel, called Al-Baten and Al-Jamelah. The soldiers reached the site later: instead of stopping the settler attacks, they ordered the farmers to leave the place for “their security”. The mayor added that another settler attack had occurred in the previous days in the sites called Al-Rommaneh and Al-Moghabat.

- On 1 April, Samar Saif Radwan, a 21-year-old woman, died after a settler ran over her on the main road in Alliban village, west of Ramallah. The woman was taken by the Israeli army to a hospital in Israel, but she died there after several hours. The case was documented by the Palestinian and Israeli official sides.

- On 1 April, settlers from the Alon Morei settlement, east of Nablus, brought some caravans –mobile houses– and set them on the land in the east of Dair El-Hatab village. Moreover, they brought water tanks and tents to the same place. The Mayor of the village, Abed El-Alkareem Husain, reported that the settlers set up the caravans, water tanks and tents 500 meters to the east of his village. In the same site an important water spring, the Al-Kabeera Spring, is located. Two thousand five hundred inhabitants live in the village: they depend on this water for agriculture and life. Therefore, if the settlers take it over, it means that tens of families will lose a fundamental resource for their agriculture work and consequently their most important source of income. The Mayor added that it seems the settlers want to establish a new outpost in the area where they used to come and stay. He informed the Palestinian Authority in the district about the new settler aggression. It is important to mention that some settlers from the same settlement three days before had attacked the Mayor himself on his land.

- On 7 April, in the afternoon, dozens of settlers from the outpost of Racheal, located close to Yatma village in the south of Nablus, stoned several Palestinian cars. The settlers gathered on the main road near the village and threw stones on the cars, breaking some windows. According to Ghassan Doghlas, an official for the Settlement File in the West Bank, no one was injured.

- On 8 April, before dawn, in the morning, approximately six thousand settlers entered the village of Kufol Hares, east of Salfeet District, saying that it is a holy site for Jews. Israeli troops escorted the settlers to what Jewish worshipers call the tomb of Yehoshua Ben-Nun. The place is located inside the village and settlers from time to time used to come and pray there. Dozens of soldiers who came to protect the settlers installed checkpoints at all intersections, took positions on civilian rooftops, imposed a curfew on the village and declared it a closed military zone until the settlers finished their celebration and tour in the afternoon. The settlers threw stones at local houses, breaking the windows of the house belonging to Rami Mahmmod Obaid.

- On 10 April, three settlers from the Shilo settlement, north of Ramallah, threw a piece of iron at the car of Khaled Mansour while he was driving on the main road near the settlement. He stated that “while I was driving on the road, after I reached the junction near the settlement, I saw some settler cars with three settlers. They quickly stopped close to my car and threw a piece of iron that broke the windshield of my car. They thenquickly drove away to the settlement”.

- On 12-13 April, settlers visited Joseph`s Tomb between 10pm Monday and 6am. Israeli soldiers stood guard over the area for the duration of the visit, blocking roads and intimidating residents. Stone clashes erupted between the settlers and some children from the nearby Balata refugee camp.

- On 13 April, approximately 20 settlers –some of them armed– entered the village of Al-Hamam, north of Tulkarem district. According to local sources, the settlers came from the Doan settlement located 2 kilometers from the village. The settlers organized a march inside the village and threw stones at the houses. The resident Mohammed Ma’ali reported that “the settlers came at noon, moved very close to the school, where the people were afraid for their children. The headmaster ordered the student to stay in the school until the afternoon to prevent the settlers from attacking them. This is not the first time that the settlers entered my village. Usually they enter here and in the village located between Doman and Halamish settlements.” The inhabitants in the village are around 100 people, most of them farmers and shepherds. Because of settler attacks and aggressions, shepherds can hardly move to feed their animals in the mountains around the settlements.

- On 14 April, early in the morning, settlers from the Yitzhar settlement, south of the district, burned two cars and damaged another one in the village of Hawwara. Moreover, the settlers uprooted more than 300 olive trees. The settlers wrote bad words, stars of David and racist slogans against the Palestinians on the walls of the village, including on the mosque. When the residents discovered them, they threw some stones; the settlers ran away to the settlements with two cars. According to eyewitnesses, around ten armed settlers were involved in the action. The fist car belongs to Ziad Abd Allah Deeb, model Subaru; the second one to Sameer Ibraheem Zaher, model Peugeot, and the third one belongs to Moneer Ibraheem Zaher.

- On 15 April, in the middle of the night, dozens of settlers from the Kedumim settlement, east of Qalqilya District, entered the village of Jensafout and burned two cars. The first belongs to Mohammed Mahmmoud Basher, lorry model Mercedes 412, and the second one belongs to Abd-Allah Hasan ‘Ayyash, model Peugeot 504. Both of them were totally burnt. The settlers also painted slogans against Arabs, ordering them to leave the land. One of the racist slogans written is: “this is the price” for settlement freeze. When the residents knew what was happening, they gathered and came to face the settlers. However, the Israeli army came and simply asked the settlers to leave without arresting anyone or doing anything. The Fire Brigades came from the nearby city of Qalqilya and stopped the fire in the cars.

- On 17 April, seven armed settlers from the Bracha settlement, east of Nablus, entered the house belonging to Ibraheem Adel ‘Eed from Boreen village, east of the district. The house is under construction and the settlers some materials including cement, blocks, and water pipes.

- On 19 April, hundreds of settlers accompanied by armed soldiers blocked the Wadi Al-Haramiya road between Nablus and Ramallah, south of the Shilo settlement. As eyewitnesses reported, the settlers stoned Palestinian cars in the memorial event for Israel`s Memorial Day.

- On 19 April, settlers from the Ari`el settlement threw stones at Palestinian cars at the Kifl Haris junction in Salfit. Yasuf school principle Muhammad Abdul Hadi reported that a group of settlers stoned his car while he was driving along the junction on the Aber As-Samera road in the direction of Yasuf.

- On 20 April, settlers from the outpost of Hayovel, west of Qaryout village, south of Nablus District, uprooted 250 olive trees. The trees were planted three weeks before on the Land Day occasion in the site called Al-Marah.

- On 28 April, around 20 settlers –some of them armed– reached the water well belonging to the village of Madama in Nablus District. They remained in the place and prevented the residents from reaching it. The Local Council of the village issued a press release about the event and said that the settlers used to come there. The well is the only water resource available for the village and the settlers want to take over it. The name of the well is Alsha’ra Well.

- On 29 April, local sources in Kufor Kadoom village, east of Qalqilya, reported that “a group of settles from the outpost of Giv’at Gil’ad near the village uprooted 30 olive tress belonging to the resident Salej Yousef Shtaiwee.” The land that was targeted is located south of the village near the main road linking Qalqilya and Nablus. In the same place where the settlers built the outpost, they burned 5 dunams of land planted with olive trees the previous month. The land was closed by the army and the farmers needed a permit to enter and work it.

- On 29 April, in the afternoon, around 2000 settlers came from numerous settlements in the West Bank by buses and lorries and reached the area of Al-Rawabee, north of Ramallah. They organized a tour in the mountains and then left after five hours. According to Palestinians sources, the settlers came to this area many times and they used to say to the local residents that they want to establish an outpost there.

- On 29 April, dozens of settlers from the Yitzhar settlement, south of Nablus, burned three dunams of land belonging to farmers from Hawwar village. The settlers also damaged some trees in the garden of the school. The event occurred at noon.

- On 30 April, settlers from the Hifat Gilad outpost of the illegal Qedumin settlement uprooted 30 olive trees in the land of the Kafr Qaddum village. The trees belonged to Saleh Shtewi and his brothers, and were torn up in the area that had previously been declared a closed military zone, preventing farmers from attending their land.

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