Sunday, April 18 2021 This week – April 11-17, 2021 – in the Occupied Territories

With the start of Ramadan, Jerusalem police is focusing on disturbing the Palestinians’ prayers and holiday celebrations around Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, causing friction and arrests; the violent expropriation operation by settler-colonists in the South Hebron Hills is expanding, and more and more Palestinian communities in the region remain without grazing grounds for their flocks and without grain crops – Israeli activists accompany shepherds all days of the week, and sleep overnight in threatened communities; this week’s massive protest demonstration in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah went unhampered;

East Jerusalem
Since Ramadan month began, the Jerusalem police, and policemen of the ‘Shalem’ station in particular, have been busy harassing Palestinian inhabitants of the area and disrupting their holiday. On Wednesday, the police turned off the loudspeakers at the Al Aqsa Mosque in order to prevent disturbances of the opening ceremonies of the Israeli Memorial Day at the Western (Wailing) Wall. Furthermore, the police decided to place barriers on the steps leading to the Damascus Gate where hundreds of Palestinians traditionally spend the Ramadan nights. Consequently, daily friction is created and many cases of police brutality and arrests are documented.
On Friday the weekly protest demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah took place, against the authorities’ intention to evict Palestinians from their homes there and turn the houses over to Jewish settler-colonists. Unlike last week’s demonstration, this week events remained unhampered as the police did not intervene and did not exert violence.
The inhabitants of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood protest the theft of their homes, the settler-colonist takeover of the neighborhood and the general Judaization of the Eastern part of Jerusalem, and call upon anyone supporting their struggle to join them.
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.

South Hebron Hills
More and more grazing grounds are turning into out-of-bounds areas for Palestinians, and entire shepherd communities remain unable to graze their flocks. At the same time, settler-colonists invade privately-owned and tended Palestinian fields, destroying the grain crops. On Monday this week, settler-colonists from the new outpost near ‘Havat Maon’ chased away Palestinian shepherds using fire arms and threats, and tried to blame the shepherds for this assault. On Friday and Saturday, they were documented by activists as they invaded tended fields with their fields and prevented the shepherds from reaching their privately-owned land. The activists summoned the police, but it refrained from doing anything against the violent settler-colonists. Near Zanouta as well, on Saturday settler-colonists chased away Palestinian shepherds, directed their dogs against the flock and attacked the shepherds and activists who accompanied them. The same day, settler-colonists also chased away Palestinian flocks in Umm Zaitouna, chased the shepherds all the way to their homes and summoned army and police. The DCO official who arrived confirmed that the Palestinian shepherds were in areas where they are allowed, but did not take any measures against the settler-colonists who had chased them away.
On Thursday and Friday, settler-colonists invaded privately owned and tended Palestinian grain fields at Atariya and destroyed the crop. Activists present documented this incursion and summoned the police, which arrived after the invaders had left. On Thursday settler-colonists began to steal with tractors soil from Palestinians’ farmlands in the area opposite settler-colony ‘Maon’. Inhabitants and activists were summoned and called the police, but the DCO official who arrived enabled the theft to continue.
Following these invasions of fields and chasing away of Palestinians’ flocks, this week activists accompanied shepherds in Atariya on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at Bani Naim on Monday and Wednesday, around the new outpost near ‘Havat Maon’ on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and in Zanouta on Saturday. On Tuesday and Thursday activists spent the night at Simra for fear of harassment by the settler-colonists of ‘Mitzpe Yair’. Activists also helped clear rubble at Rakeez on Monday, at Khalat A-Ghaba on Wednesday, and farm work opposite ‘Maon’ on Friday.
On Monday the occupation forces destroyed seasonal tents north of Susya and near Bani Naim, and dismantled a door that was installed at the entrance to a cave in Thawamin. The same day, the forces also demolished 3 structures in the area of Al Khader and Bethlehem.

Palestinian Jordan Valley and the West Bank Hill Range
Around the Tayibe Junction and Deir Jarayer of the West Bank Hill Range as well, the settler-colonists continue to lead their flocks into Palestinians’ private tended fields. On Sunday, activists arrived there but there were no flocks to be seen. On Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday the activists were busy chasing away settler-colonists’ flocks from the fields.
At Auja in the southern Palestinian Jordan Valley, activists accompanied shepherds on Monday. A military force tried to prevent this grazing but the activists insisted the shepherds have a right to be there, and the army left.
In the northern Palestinian Jordan Valley activists accompanied shepherds from Makhoul on Sunday and grazing proceeded unhampered.