Thursday, September 13, 2007

2- Trying to keep your land, Hebron

The settlers with children (notice the pushchair) and their synagogue that they illegally put up on Palestinian land (the green tent).
Settler guy with his stick which he will use later
to beat Palestinians and internationals.

The same guy with the stick in his hand
Settler girls who manage to go on the land and throw rocks
on it which we have just taken away from the land.
The soldiers who are supposed to prevent the settlers are
doing nothing to stop the girls

One soldier attempting to stop the girls but they just run beside him
The girl on the left is holding an Israel flag, the orange colour signyfy
that you are a supporter of settlements in general.

Documenting the soldiernot doing his job.
Internationals and Israeli peace activist try to work on
land despite soldiers and settlers (notice the old man with kippa
in the back) interupting them constantly

On 31st of August 2 other internationals and I went to the Jabar family who live in the outskirts of Hebron. They have a piece of land just beside there houses but they have been prevented from using it by settlers claiming that is is their land. The settlers have put up a tent calling it a synagogue and therefor it is very hard for the Israeli police to remove it, since synagogues are protected by special laws. The family have faced verbal and physical attacks for a long time.

When we arrived the settlers for already their, it were whole families having picnic on the Palestinian land, playing loud music from the "synagogue". Altogether they were about 80 people. Around 30 Israeli peace activists from different groups were there and also people from CPT, Christian Peacemakers Team. When 5 Palestinians together with the Israeli activists started to work on the land a group of settlers started to harass people and tried to prevent them. They shouted "nazis" and "you are al-qaida" to us, kicked people, pushed people around, and tried to prevent people from filming. One guy run around and stole tools who people didn't keep in their hands. He hid them behind the synagoge but the police didn't do anything about it. There were both police and at least 30-40 soldiers present watching the settlers breaking International and Israeli Law.

One of our local Palestinian coordinators was alone with a group of young male settlers who told him to not film. The head commander for the whole Hebron area, Commander Niir was there, and our coord. asked him to protect him from the4 settlers, and reminded him that that is one of his duties but he refused to do so.

Suddenly one of the settler guys jumped on him in a rugby tackling and he fell to the ground. Unfortunately no one got the attack on film. He hurt his back and asked fro an ambulance since he couldn't move, but the soldiers shouted "stand up". The settlers gathered around him shouting and laughing. I asked the police and the soldiers several times to move them away but they told me to go away instead, which I refused to do. Of course on guy just a couple of minutes later throwed a bottle of water over our coordinator. (but since it was roasting hot it wasn't too bad). After about 30 minutes the ambulance arrived. He was carried away ona stretch but still asked to walk into the ambulance!

After this incident the police and the army managed to make the settlers step back so we could work on the land. They were still having their picnic though on the land where we didn't work. After a while a group of young settlers girls (10-15 years old) started to throw stones back on the land (which we had just taken away) and they also run around among us. The soldiers didn't show any interest in doing something about it first. After a while 2 of them went over and talked to teh girls who just laughed at them and waved with their orange Israeli settler flags. Eventually they stopped and we could work on the land in peace and quiet (more or less) for 4 hours. Some of the Isareli activists stayed at the family over the night in case the settlers would come for revenge which is often the case.

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