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The present wave of settler-colonist attacks against Palestinian olive harvesters continues, with the robbing of olive crops and heavy damages to olive trees, and the ongoing harassment and chasing away of shepherds from their grazing grounds; on Friday settler-colonists from Yitzhar attacked six olive harvesters from the village of Bourin, wounding four of them – on the next day the settler-colonists of Yitzhar attacked a neighborhood in nearby Asira Al Qibliya with sticks and stones, wounding the deputy mayor in his head; diplomats and journalists held a tour of Palestinian communities in the area officially declared “firing zone 918”, and publicized a call upon Israel to stop its demolitions and refrain from evicting the Palestinians living in the area; occupation forces demolished structures in the South Hebron Hills and in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, in the Bethlehem district, in Qalqiliya and Beit Iqsa; a new settler-colonist outpost was established on “antenna hill”, on the lands of Birin village
photo: Activists prevent the chasing away of Palestinian shepherds by a settler-colonist and Israeli soldiers in the South Hebron Hills, October 24
South Hebron Hills
On Sunday, October 18, Israeli armed forces demolished 3 structures at Fakhit, and confiscated a dwelling tent at Rakiz.
At Umm Zaitouna, on Tuesday, October 20 the Israeli army chased away Palestinian shepherds of the Th’ala community from their own grazing grounds. On Wednesday the shepherds were chased away again, this time by settler-colonists from the new outpost. On Saturday, October 24, activists accompanied the shepherds to their grazing. A settler-colonist arrived on his mini-tractor, escorted by army, and tried to chase away the flocks, but the activists stood in his way and prevented this. An Israeli officer instructed the shepherds to distance their flocks as they were grazing inside tended areas officially owned by Palestinians, and the settler-colonist parked his mini-tractor inside the tended area. Israeli Civil Administration officials arrived and explained to the soldiers that the shepherds are not to be kept away from their private grazing grounds, and a policeman even filled out a complain lodged by one of the shepherds against the settler-colonist who was trespassing and invading private property. The flock continued to graze the whole time and the shepherds left only at their own designated time.
Activists also accompanied shepherds on Saturday at Umm Al Amad, and helped with the olive harvest at Susya.
On Friday, October 23, a settler-colonist established a new outpost on ‘antenna hill” on the lands of Birin village. On Saturday, when activists came to document the goings-on, they found a tent and a structure there, 6 vehicles of settler-colonists who spent the Sabbath there, and soldiers who secured them.
On Monday this week, many diplomats attended a tour in the threatened communities of “firing zone 918”. Following this tour, in which international journalists participated as well, the diplomats publicized a call to the Israeli occupation authorities to stop the frequent demolitions there, and refrain from evicting the inhabitants of the area, that was declared a firing zone.
Palestinian Jordan Valley
On Monday, October 19, the occupation forces demolished 2 homes and a water hole at Farisiya, in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, and on Wednesday, another 3 structures were demolished at Jiftlik.
At Farisiya activists accompanied shepherds on Tuesday and Thursday. On Tuesday, the grazing went unhampered; on Thursday, two settler-colonists from the outpost at Umm Zuka tried to chase away the flocks and threatened the shepherds, saying they would come to their encampment. At En Sukut, activists accompanied shepherds on Wednesday and Saturday due to last week’s events, when a settler-colonist had run over a sheep there. On Wednesday the same settler-colonist came to the area, but saw the accompaniers and did not approach.
The present wave of settler-colonist attacks against olive harvesters – robbing the crops, uprooting or vandalizing olive trees – continues.
A researcher of Yesh Din reported that on Friday, Octobewr 23, at noontime, after the activists who had helped the harvesters from Bourin (Nablus district) left, a large group of settler-colonists came down from Yitzhar and attacked Palestinian farmers who continued their harvest. According to witnesses, the settler-colonists attacked with sticks and stones – four farmers were wounded and taken to hospital in Nablus. In addition, the settler-colonists broke the windows of the car of one of the farmers. Finally, the assailants escaped towards Yitzhar.
The same day, Yesh Din reported that farmers of Qaryut (Ramallah district), came to their olive groves in the morning and discovered that most of the olives had been stolen, and spikes were scattered on the ground, causing one of the tractor tires to blow up. The farmers came to harvest their trees after coordinating this with the Civil Administration, since their access is forbidden all year except for a few days during which the army permits it.
According to OCHA reports, since the olive harvest season began and until last Monday, 23 Palestinian harvesters have been wounded by settler-colonist aggressors, and over 1000 olive trees have been cut down or burnt.
Additional harvests in which activists participated this week at Deir Istiya and Kufr A Dik (Salfit district), and Bourin and Deir Al Khatab (Nablus district) went unhampered.
On Saturday, October 24, settler-colonists attacked homes at Asira Al Qibliya (Nablus district). According to a Yesh Din report, at 4:45 p.m., a group of settler-colonists came down from Yitzhar to the eastern part of Asira Al Qibliya, and threw stones at inhabitants’ homes. The deputy mayor, startled by the din, came out of his house and was wounded in the head by a stone thrown by settler-colonists.
In the Bethlehem district, this week the Israeli occupation authorities demolished 4 structures at Nahlin village, and another structure at Al Khader. A home was demolished as well at Beit Iqsa, close to Jerusalem, and another in Qalqiliya.
The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah continues to take place every Friday, adhering to emergency procedures. The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are protesting their violent evictions from their homes, the taking over of the neighborhood by the settlers, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem. They call upon each and every person who supports their struggle to join them