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Occupation magazine - Activism

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Settlement extension under the cover of the Coronvirus
Sent by Michal Hai

This week– April 5-12, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories

Taking advantage of the general closure (imposed by Israel to prevent Corona-
virusspread), the Israeli settlers are constructing a series of new settler
outposts on the hill range around Auja, expanding and building in the illegal
outposts already existing in the South Hebron Hills, invade with their flocks
sown Palestinian fields inside Area C and causing extensive damage to their
Palestinian neighbors, nearly always without any interference by Israeli army
and police; Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills have put up a
network of checkpoints manned by volunteers in order to prevent the
spreading of Corona among the rural communities there and the urban center
of Yatta – the security official of Carmel settlement summoned the army in
order to dismantle such a checkpoint at the entrance to the Palestinian
hamlet of Umm Al Kheir; a fundraising campaign to aid shepherd families in
need in the Palestinian Jordan Valley who are on the brink of famine
following the state of  emergency – update and link for donations at the end
of the present report; 

Palestinian Jordan Valley and West Bank hill range

On the hill range, settlers are taking advantage of the closure and putting
up three new outposts in the space between Rimonim and Kokhav Ha-Shachar and
Auja. The Israeli security forces are not preventing this construction, but
are preventing activists from coming to document it.

On Friday (April 10) the Israeli police once more prevented an association
employee from coming to document the new outpost near Rashash, and fined him
again although repeated checks with the authorities affirmed that
association employees are allowed to come there even during closure.

In addition, the settlers and their flocks continue to enter sown
Palestinian fields around Tayibe-Rimonim, almost on a daily basis. Activists
working for associations reached the sites nearly every day this week. When
they come and film the goings-on, the settler-colonist leaves. On Sunday,
April 12, after a blitz of phone calls by activists to the authorities, the
Israeli army came there for the first time and ordered the settler and his
flock away.

South Hebron Hills

Here too, settlers are taking advantage of the closure to build in their
illegal outposts. On Monday, April 6, a new caravan and tents were spotted
near Palestinian Tawane, erected by settlers from Havat Maon outside the
wooded area, nor far from the new army post. On Wednesday, a concrete truck
was documented ascending to Mitzpe Yair.

Close to Hali ravine in Tawane, 15 olive tree saplings were uprooted that
had been planted by Palestinians in their privately-owned land several
months ago. On Saturday,April 11, Palestinian landowners at Umm Al Arais
discovered that settlers had invaded their fields with livestock and caused
extensive damage to the sown crops.

In a nearby field from which settlers had been ordered away by ruling of the
Supreme Court, cadavers of sheep had been found, thrown there by settlers of
Mitzpe Yair (the only ones who dare approach the spot next to the outpost
after years of attacking their neighbors and activists).

In both cases, complaints were lodged with the authorities.The occupation
forces, whom international law considers responsible for preventing such
incursions and destruction of Palestinian property, were busy elsewhere.

On Monday, army and Civil Administration construction supervisors came to
Umm Al Kheir to photograph an outdoor oven that has existed there for

On Saturday, April 11, soldiers reached the field of the Abu Kbeita family
in the seam-line zone and broke the lock on the field’s gate.

Last Saturday, Apri l4, Palestinians of the area put up checkpoints at
entrances to villages in order to prevent the entry of Corona-virus
patients. The security official of the Carmel settlement saw such a
checkpoint at the entrance to Umm Al Kheir and immediately summoned the
army. A Civil Administration officer came and demanded of the inhabitants to
dismantle the checkpoint within the hour, or else – army forces would arrive
and “blow it away”. The checkpoint was not dismantled, and the threat was
not acted upon.

Such checkpoints were also put up near Susya, and on the road from Tawane to
Carmil. All in all,21 such checkpoints have been erected around Yatta,
manned 24 hours a day by volunteers from the area who ask questions and take
people’s temperature, in order to prevent Corona virus patients from
entering the various communities and Yatta town.

East Jerusalem

In Issawiya, Israeli police has let up on its harassment of the neighborhood
inside, and is now focused on putting up checkpoints at the entrances to
Issawiya, and spreading demands to pay fines. Last Friday, too,the weekly
protest vigil at Sheikh Jarrah took place unhampered. 

Yaacov Manor’s letter regarding the fundraising campaign to aid families in
the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley:Greetings,As everyone knows,we have
been fundraising in order to help families in need in the northern
Palestinian Jordan Valley.

About 20,000 shekels have already been collected thanks to generous
donations by our friends. Together with our Palestinians friends there, we
have decided to transfer an initial sum of 10,000 shekels, to be distributed
among the 50 families most in need. Since we ran up against bureaucratic
obstacles and because of the closure, we asked Mahdi to purchase products on
credit and give them out along with a committee chosen for this purpose. The
food has been distributed and today, April 12, dry foodstuffs were supposed
to be fully distributed. We also solved the problem of money transfers and
tomorrow they will be receiving the full amount.

We received good news today, of an organization called “Help the Farmers”
(probably under the aegis of the People’s Party), which will purchase dairy
products from the shepherds and market them in the towns and cities.

Unfortunately, due to a shortage of fresh food for the sheep and goats, the
shepherds are forced to feed the lambs with lamb milk, which considerably
lessens the amount of milk for the production of cheese, and thus less
income…From various sources we learn that in many villages farmers have been
organizing to help families who do not manage to balance their budget during
closure time.

We are looking into more places in need of food and launch more fundraising

On behalf of the team members – Daphne, Tzvia and Hanna,Yaacov For donations
to Palestinian families in need in the Palestinian Jordan Valley, please
contact Yaacov Manor – 050-5733276 

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