Saturday, November 20 2010 Plowing, attempt to pump water in Bir al-Eid and settler violence

Recently, harassment by the settlers and the army has worsened. The previous Thursday, for example, Nasser Nawaje from Susiya was beaten by a group of soldiers; he had attempted to protect a child from this same group. The beating causing swelling in his face, and he was hospitalized.

On Saturday morning some fifteen Ta’ayush activists headed out from Jerusalem to the South Hebron Hills to assist Palestinian farmers in plowing their lands. A group of seven activists joined Hajj Ziad from Bir al-Eid to protect him while he pumped water from a Palestinian-owned well, for which he has court-issued permission. Residents of the adjacent outpost, Mitzpe Yair—where the faucets stream water in plenty—arrived at a gallop in order to forcefully prevent the pumping. A confrontation developed, and the army arrived to separate. After a friendly handshake between the army officer and the settler Avidan Ofir, the army as usual presented a closed military zone order, and Hajj Ziad went home empty-handed. Incidentally, Avidan Ofir the same settler who wildly attacked and damaged the pumping equipment, furthermore has an extremely developed imagination: he recently claimed on Channel 7, the settler radio station, that he owns 8,000 dunams in the area of Susiya. Another foul-mouthed hooligan from the area, Mordechai Deutsch, is equally imaginative. He has expressed annoyance at the soldiers’ presence, saying it prevents him from abusing left-wing activists. Deutsch, also from the unrecognized outpost of Mitzpe Yair, has set up some twenty greenhouses on lands stolen from the Palestinian Awad family, who are afraid to approach the area, as it is adjacent to the outpost. Incidentally, all the houses in Mitzpe Yair have had demolition orders against them since 2002. A demolition order issued against Deutsch’s greenhouses on Awad family land has not been implemented by the Civil Administration, which further allots the greenhouses generous water rations. According to the Sasson Report, the Housing and Construction Ministry invested generous millions in the infrastructure of the illegal outpost of Mitzpe Yair, the residents of which in turn display a complete lack of generosity in forcefully preventing water access to the neighboring shepherd, who lives with his family in a tent.