Sunday, December 20 2020 This week – December 13-19, 2020 – in the Occupied Territories

Armed militias of settler-colonists now raid Palestinian villages in the South Hebron Hills: unhampered, or actually backed up by the Israeli army, they conduct searches inside Palestinian homes in the dead of night, put up road blocks and assault Palestinians inside their homes, in their fields and pasture areas; a settler-colonist fired a volley from his army-issued weapon at Palestinians on their way home to Susya from plowing their fields; at the West Bank Hill Range, a settler-colonist fired his pistol directly at Palestinian and Israeli protest-demonstrators near the village of Mughayer, and his mates assaulted them with clubs and dogs; last November, 178 Palestinian structures were demolished and/or confiscated by the Occupation forces, more than any other month since the UN began its monitoring in 2009; numerous demonstrators joined the vigil at Sheikh Jarrah to protest against expelling Palestinian refugees from their East Jerusalem homes under the settler-colonists’ plan to “Judaize the Holy Basin”.

photo: Armed settler-colonists threaten Palestinians in their home village Safa’i in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday, December 19, 2020

South Hebron Hills
Last week the settler-colonist gangs’ rampage has escalated. Armed with storm weapons issued by the Israeli army, they break into Palestinians’ homes, put up road blocks and assault Palestinians. The Occupation forces do not lift a finger in the better case, and occasionally back them up.
Since Thursday night, December 17, armed settler-colonist militias have been terrorizing the inhabitants of Massafer Yatta and haunt isolated communities such as Sha’ab A-Botam, Khirbat Al-Markaz and Fakhit. Emergency calls to the Israeli police have remained unanswered.
On Saturday, December 19, in the afternoon, a gang of about 50 violent, armed, Sabbath-observing settler-colonists from the illegal outposts of ‘Mitzpe Yair’, ‘Havat Ma’on’ and their metastases invaded the Palestinian village of Safai. Activists summoned to the site found the outlaws trying to break into a sheep pen of a local herdsman. Hours passed until army and police forces arrived – and instead of removing the assailants, they distanced the local Palestinians under threats of weapons and stun grenades, and enabled the settler-colonists to grab 10 sheep whom they claimed were taken away from them. The local flock-owner claimed that 10 random sheep of his were taken (see Haaretz item). According to the Israel police, during the incursion at Safai on Saturday, 3 settler-colonists were detained for allegedly assaulting a policeman and disturbing a police officer to fulfill his duties. However, no settler-colonist was questioned or arrested in response to the local Palestinians’ complaints of being assailed by settler-colonists.
Armed settler-colonists broke into Palestinian homes in the South Hebron Hills and attacked two Palestinians
On Saturday, December 19, settler-colonists from the outpost ‘Mitze Yair’ put up a boulder barrier on the only access track to Bir Al Eid. Local inhabitants attempted to open the track to traffic but were chased away with a group of settler-colonists with dogs who came running.
The same day, activists accompanied plowing west of Palestinian Susya. After the work was done, settler-colonists of Jewish ‘Susya’ came to the dwelling area of the Palestinian landowners, and assaulted the plowing farmers with blows and stones. During this assault, one of the assailants fired 4-5 shots from his army-issued weapon. At the same time, a settler-colonist’s tractor began to plow the area that had been plowed by its Palestinian owners that morning. Israeli army and police forces were summoned to the site and a complaint was lodged with the police. The next day, Sunday, a shepherd of the settler-colony ‘Susya’ grazed his flock there. When the landowners went out to remove him from their land, a gang of masked settler-colonists ambushed and attacked him.
The same Saturday, between attacks by settler-colonist gangs, activists managed to accompany plowing at Rajim, north of the settler-colonist outpost ‘Mitzpe Asa’el’, and helped prepare the ground for tree planting at Rakiz. Settler-colonists from ‘Havat Ma’on’ watched the works and summoned Civil Administration officials, but those could not locate activity that is prohibitable.
According to Palestinian reports, early this week a group of settler-colonists invaded a neighborhood in the Palestinian town Sa’ir (Area B), broke into homes, attacked inhabitants and threatened to burn their homes. On Monday, too, Palestinians reported a group of settler-colonists from the Jewish colony in Hebron who invaded the neighborhood of Al-‘Adisa in the city, and threatened Palestinians with death and fire. It was also reported that settler-colonists in Hebron attacked a Palestinian journalist at Tel Rumeida. As a result of this attack, he sustained a head-wound – and was immediately arrested by the Israeli army.
On Sunday, December 13, the occupation forces confiscated a backhoe loader at Ma’in.
On Tuesday, December 14, settler-colonists re-erected a new outpost that had been dismantled in the past, close to the entrance to Palestinian Halhul.

Palestinian Jordan Valley and West Bank Hill Range
On Sunday, December 13, 12 activists accompanied Palestinians plowing near violent settler-colonist outposts near Tayibe Junction in the West Bank Hill Range. On Friday activists were summoned to the area following the incursion of settler-colonists with a flock of cattle into sown fields. An attempt to summon police to the site was refused.
At Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, activists accompanied shepherds to grazing grounds on Tuesday and Friday, and both occasions proceeded unhampered.
However, the shepherds reported that when they went grazing unaccompanied, army forces began to operate a drone overhead to chase the flocks out of the grazing grounds, and as a result several sheep have had miscarriages out of fright.
On Saturday, it was reported that settler-colonists riding a mini-tractor wildly invaded the Palestinian encampment at Ein Al Hilwa in the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley, terrorizing the inhabitants.

On Sunday, December 13, it was reported that about 60 settler-colonists invaded the area of Yasouf village (Salfit district), accompanied by 4 Israeli soldiers, ran down a fence, cut down a tree and threw stones into a well.
On Friday December 18, soldiers prevented Salfit inhabitants from coming out of their town for their weekly protest demonstration.
The same day, a settler-colonist from the outpost “The New Micha Ranch” fired his pistol directly at Palestinians and Israeli demonstrators near the village of Mughayer at the West Bank Hill Range. Additional settler-colonists, armed with attack dogs and clubs, ran at the demonstrators. However, soldiers at the site demanded that the demonstrators leave the place!
According to the UN OCHA data, during last November, Israeli occupation forces demolished or confiscated 178 Palestinian structures – the greatest number of demolitions in a single month since demolition monitoring began in 2009. 43 of the demolished or confiscated structures were donated as humanitarian aid by the EU, with an accumulated value of about 82,000 Euro.

East Jerusalem
Last week dozens of demonstrators joined the permanent Friday vigil protesting the recent unjust rulings by Jerusalem courts to evict the families of Palestinian refugees from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in favor of the settler-colonist associations Judaizing East Jerusalem. The demonstrators, including 2 MKs of Joint List party visited homes of the families expecting eviction.
The weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah takes place every Friday. 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.