Monday, December 16 2019 This week in Jerusalem, the Palestinian Jordan Valley and the South Hebron Hills (December 15-21, 2019)

Teargas and home demolition in Issawiya, arrest of activists on a neighborhood vigil and protesting opposite the Jerusalem mayor’s house Saturday night – where police stood aside and did nothing when right-wing activists attacked the protesters; Israeli soldiers escorted by Jewish settler-colonists visited the inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Mughayer Al Abid, locked them inside a dwelling cave, conducted a search in the sheep pens, and left empty-handed- and on their way out, their vehicles ran over the livestock’s water containers; At Al Hadidiya (Palestinian Jordan Valley), too, the Israeli army paid a night visit and inhabitants were forced out of their tents into the freezing cold outside until the search ended; three tractors were confiscated in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley; Jewish settler-colonists sabotaged equipment serving farming development works in Area A (supposedly under full Palestinian control, stipulated by the Oslo Accords…) around Auja, and wreaked damages amounting to thousands of shekels

The police does not stop its harassment of Issawiya, and this week too, except for Sunday, Border Police and Special Police forces entered the neighborhood every single evening, held especially slow patrols both on foot and motorized, trying to provoke an outbreak of violence. On Tuesday and Thursday the forces fired teargas inside a crowded neighborhood; in the streets children ran around crying, looking for shelter from the gas. A massive and especially violent incursion took place on Saturday, December 21, and lasted all through the afternoon into the night.

On Tuesday, December 17, large forces came to the neighborhood early in the morning and demolished the second story of a residential building. That same night, the forces arrested one of the activists at a presence vigil and grabbed a telephone from another activist who was filming what they were doing. The detainee was released at night, and the phone returned to the activist when the police realized that these matters were being handled by an attorney. On Thursday, special police forces threatened the vigil participants with arrest but did not act on their words.

On Saturday night, December 21, another protest demonstration took place opposite the home of Jerusalem’s mayor demanding that he intervene in order to put an end to the police harassment of Issawiya residents. The police ignored the legal right to protest, arrested four of the demonstrators and confiscated equipment. On the other hand, police refrained from intervening when right-wing activists attacked the protesters, and even pepper-sprayed one of them. The detainees were released during the night.

Palestinian Jordan Valley and Hill Range
At Rashash on the hill range Jewish settler-colonists take advantage of the occasions when the Palestinian shepherds are not accompanied by peace activists in order to harass and try to chase them away from their grazing grounds. This happened on Thursday and Saturday. On days when accompaniment took place, grazing either went quietly (Monday and Tuesday), or settler-colonists came to harass the shepherds only when grazing was over (Sunday).

At Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley Palestinian workers began farming development works on Waqf (Muslim administration) land. Although these works now take place in Area A, the workers were harassed by Jewish settler-colonists who even sabotaged equipment and caused damages estimated at thousands of shekels.

On Friday December 20, east of the Jericho bypass road, a joint work day took place with the Palestinian land owners and Israeli and international activists.

In the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley this week, Palestinian shepherds were accompanied by activists at En Hilwa (on Monday and Tuesday) and Faresiya (Tuesday) without any special incidents.

At Al Hadidiya, on Sunday December 15, Israeli soldiers came for a night “visit”, forced the inhabitants out of their tents into the freezing cold outside and conducted a search. Not finding anything, they took one of the youngsters’ ID as well as a tractor license.

We were also informed that in the past few days, the Israeli army confiscated three tractors from the shepherd communities in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley.

South Hebron Hills
This week the Israeli occupation army also paid a night visit to inhabitants of the village of Mughayer Al Abid, accompanied by settler-colonists. During the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, at 3 a.m., the forces arrived with at least five settler-colonists to this isolated community, locked the inhabitants – mostly women and children – inside their dwelling caves and conducted searches in the sheep pens. Not finding anything, they left and their vehicles trampled containers of water for the flocks.

Activists accompanied Palestinian shepherds at Umm Al Imad on Saturday and farmers plowing around Wadi Swayd, in the Dar lands of Palestinian Susya, and at Mughayer Al Abid. All these accompaniments were held unhampered. The activists also helped clear stones in a field near Tawane village.

Photo: Jerusalem – protesting harassment in the Issawiya neighborhood, Saturday night, December 21