Saturday, June 13 2009 Accompanying farmers in Khirbet Safa

The activists who arrived in Safa today were attacked by settlers who threw stones at them. Soldiers stood next to the settlers, did not attempt to prevent the throwing, and found it sufficient to yell at the farmers and their volunteer companions: “There is a closed military area order, get out of here”. When more forces arrived, the border police began to forcibly evacuate the farmers and their companions (Israeli and international activists). Three international activists were arrested while questioning the soldiers’ beating of a farmer. The rest were brutally removed from the area, with much violence.

The order which was shown to the activists was for one day only, and not the order from the previous week, which was supposedly for a longer period; indeed, as the army explained to a lawyer from The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the previous order was ‘issued accidentally’.

That evening was the court hearing on extending the detainment of the activists. At the beginning it was claimed that both sides (the settlers and the Palestinians and volunteers) had thrown stones, and that it was all the fault of the Palestinian who was arrested (and immediately released), but later a policeman testified clearly that the farmers and their companions did not throw stones. Nevertheless, not a single one of the attacking settlers was arrested or detained. A message from the IDF spokesperson regarding the event claimed that there was a confrontation between settlers on the one hand and Palestinians and activists on the other, that both sides threw stones, and that the IDF intervened and declared a closed military area; the settlers, so continues the spokesperson’s version, obeyed the order and the activists refused, and hence were arrested. So what if the video (link below) shows otherwise, and so what if the policemen who were there testified that this version was pure fiction?

In the video which was passed along to the media, the settlers are seen threatening to burn the plots of farmers from Safa. ‘Yesh Din’ emphasized this fact to the IDF, passing along the video to the IDF and the Israeli Police and demanding that the army protect the plots.

Blog post at ibnezra