HRR 2008

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IWPS Human Rights Reports 2008


Human Rights Report No. 343

Summary: Two houses in Marda village searched by Israeli Army, 14 year old boy detained for six hours, beaten
Date of incident: 14.04.2008
Time: 4 p.m. till 22.20 p.m.
Place: Marda, Salfit District
Witness/es: Family members/IWPS team members

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

Around 4 O’clock in the afternoon of Monday April the 14th 2008 the Israeli Army entered the village of Marda with several jeeps. They set up a checkpoint in the centre of the village and searched two family houses, detaining a 14 year old boy from one of the houses.

According to the mother of the first house, six children aging between 4 and 16 were alone at home, and to frightened to open when several soldiers were banging at the door. The mother of the house, who was visiting relatives living near by, was notified by the neighbours and came to open the door from the outside. The soldiers then immediately stormed into the house, searching the house and taking the children to the roof for about 1 � hours. They interrogated the oldest son, aged 11, and threatened to arrest him, if he did not tell them who of the village youth are throwing stones at the settler road. However, the boy was unable and unwilling to give them any information. When the father of the house came home at about 5.30pm the soldiers tried to prevent him from approaching the house. A soldier aimed his gun at him, standing directly in front of him and threatened to shoot. When the father insisted on joining his family he fired a live bullet, only centimetres above his head. The army then left from the house at about 17.45 as more and more people from the neighbourhood were gathering around the house to support the family.

According to family members of the second home, another hummer arrived there also around 4 pm. Three soldiers entered the house for about half an hour. They searched house, apparently for clothes of a certain colour, pulling out clothes from the cupboards and leaving behind a mess. Several small children in the house, including a one year old baby boy, were woken up by the soldiers entering the house and very scared. The soldiers then proceeded to handcuff and blindfold a 14 year old boy, claiming he had thrown stones onto the settler road bypassing the village.

IWPS team members witnessed the child being detained on the road side by the Israeli soldiers. The child was sitting hunched over on a rock, blindfolded, with his hands cuffed behind his back. IWPS team members sought to approach the soldiers, however, before they were able to reach the area where the child was detained, the boy was driven away in an Israeli military jeep.

IWPS team members spoke to two soldiers who remained on the scene who stated that the child was being held by the other soldiers, who were going to determine whether or not he had thrown stones and whether or not take him to Ariel Police Station. At some stage during the 6 hours the child was detained, he was finally taken to the police station in Ariel Settlement for interrogation.

The mother of the boy, who was not present at the time of her son’s arrest, went into a shock upon learning that her son was taken away by the soldiers. The boy, who was returned to the village at about 10.20 pm, stated that he was beaten during the interrogation, but did not need medical attention.

The checkpoint in the village was lifted at around 19.00, when the army left the village.

This incident is not isolated, but part of an ongoing several month long campaign of harassment of Marda village. This has included almost daily and nightly incursions, searching and occupying family houses, throwing sound bombs and teargas, imposing curfews and blocking off the only entrance left to the village that is not permanently closed by barbed wire and iron gates. The campaign especially targets the village youth under the pretext of stones being thrown at the settler road. Teenagers and young men from Marda are frequently detained, threatened and abused to try to pressure them to inform on other youth of the village.

For example the 16 year old brother of the boy detained today stated that he was detained on the 24.3.08 for about 12 hours and beaten during interrogation in Qedumim Settlement. After his release he received medical attention for a facial injury. Villagers stated that another teenaged boy from the village is being held since about three days for alleged stone throwing, but no charges have been pressed against him yet.

Report written by: Clara and Kim
Date report written on April 14, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 344

Summary: Field of olive tree seedlings in Wadi Qana destroyed by settlers
Date of incident: 18.04.2008
Time: 3 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Place: Wadi Qana
Witness/es: Farmers from Deir Istiya

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

At 7.30 on Friday morning, the 18th April 2008 farmers from Deir Istiya noticed a white jeep with Israeli license plates leaving a field of newly planted olive trees in Wadi Qana, close to Qarnei Shomron Settlement. They then saw that almost all of the new olive seedlings were uprooted and broken.

The farmer who planted the land in agreement with the owner stated, that family members had last been on the land on Thursday evening, the 17th April, around 6.00 p.m., implying that the seedlings must have been destroyed between then the next morning. He further stated that he had planted about 200 olive seedlings on this plot of land January this year and that he had invested about 5000 NIS in developing the land and planting and irrigating the olive seedlings. He also said he and other farmers in this area are being threatened by settlers of the surrounding settlements Qarnei Shomron, Ma’ale Shomron, Yakir, Immanu’el and Nofim since years to pressure them to give up farming in the area. One of his fields bordering to the newly destroyed one have been destroyed and replanted four times with trees in the years 1999 and 2000 and his motor used for irrigation has been damaged several times by mixing sugar into the fuel.

Human Rights Report No. 345

Summary: Israeli Army invades Marda village, mass interrogates youth, arrests two
Date of incident: 22.04.2008
Time: 3 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Place: Marda, Salfit District
Witness/es: Family members/IWPS team members

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

At approximately 3 am on Tuesday, 22nd April 2008, the Israeli Army and Israeli intelligence service, the Shin Bet (aka the Shabak) entered the village of Marda with at least 16 military vehicles. They broke down the door of a house located next to the village’s schools, taking over the top floor of the house and the roof, confining the Palestinian family of six (3 adults and 3 children) to the lower floor. Over the next several hours the military and the Shabak invaded numerous houses through out the village, throwing sound bombs at some of them and randomly detaining young boys and men between the ages of 14 and 25 for interrogation at the occupied house.

IWSP team members arrived at the village at 9am, after receiving a call from one of the village leaders. Upon arriving at the school and occupied house, the IWPS team witnessed at least 12 military vehicles park near the school and house, including jeeps and armoured vehicles. Two armed soldiers were holding 7 people, including 6 teenaged boys and 1 adult in preparation for interrogation by the Shabak. IWPS team members witnessed the children being taken in one by one for interrogation, which lasted approximately 10 -15 minutes each. During the time, IWPS was present all children were released after interrogation. One child, however, had his identification card confiscated. Approximately, 20 – 22 soldiers were inside and on the house, along with members of the Shabak.

The military and the Shabak left the house at approximately 10.20am. According to members of the family of the occupied house about 50 youth had been interrogated altogether. Upon questioning, one soldier informed the IWPS team that 2 – 3 boys had been arrested for alleged stone and Molotov cocktail throwing. IWPS team members were able to confirm that two young men, aged 18 years and 22 years, had been arrested and removed from the village by the Shabak and the military.

The family of the 18 year old who was arrested informed IWPS that the soldier removed the young man at around 3 am.

The family of the 22 year old man, who is married and has two children aged 1 � and 3 years, stated that the Israeli military arrived at the house at about 3 a.m., first throwing stones to the entrance door, before calling on the family to open the door. They forced their way into the house and ransacked it before arresting one of the sons. The young man had been asleep and the military refused to allow him to dress properly, blind folding, handcuffing and removing him from the family home while he was still in his underwear. The military also beat another son, aged 21, on the back and on the legs, but did not remove him from the house. According to his family, the young man who was arrested had been previously arrested and beaten during interrogation and had since then been complaining about severe headaches. He was scheduled this day to attend an appointment for an X-Ray examination in relation to this in Nablus.

IWPS team members were able to determine that the two men were taken to the Huwara military facilities. However, Israeli military gives conflicting information about wether the men are still in Huwara or have since been removed to another military facility.

This incident is not isolated, but part of an ongoing several month long campaign of harassment of Marda village. This has included almost daily and nightly incursions, searching and occupying family houses, throwing sound bombs and teargas, imposing curfews and blocking off the only entrance left to the village that is not permanently closed by barbed wire and iron gates. The campaign especially targets the village youth under the pretext of stones being thrown at the settler road. Teenagers and young men from Marda are frequently detained, threatened and abused to try to pressure them to inform on other youth of the village.

Update on Human Rights Report No. 345

Summary: Young man from Marda still held under arrest
Date of incident: since 22.04.2008
Place: Marda, Salfit District
Witness/es: Family members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
As reported, on April 22nd, 2008, the Israeli Army conducted a nighttime raid and a mass interrogation of youth and young men, which continued till the next morning in the village of Marda, Salfit district. Also, two young men were arrested from their houses that night.

Both arrestees were initially brought to Huwara detention centre for interrogation. The 18-year-old youth was released about a week later without charges being brought against him. His family did not report physical abuse against him after his release.

The second arrestee, a 22 years old father of two little daughters, was transferred to Jalameh Prison after about one week were he remains under arrest till now. Several times a court date was scheduled for him in Salem, but delayed. The family, desperate to see him, went there in vain. As the family cannot afford a private lawyer, the Salfit Prisoner’s Club provided a lawyer for him. However, due to the heavy caseload, the lawyer is not able to follow up the case closely. According to the family, he has seen the arrestee only one time so far and was not able to inform the family about the treatment he has received during the interrogation period, or about his health condition. As physical abuse and torture is a frequent practice in Israeli interrogation centres, the family is concerned that his medical problems that are likely to be the result of an earlier violent interrogation could have worsened. Direct contact between the young man under arrest and his family is denied, as is the case routinely.

However, the lawyer informed the family that the young man is going to be charged for alleged stone throwing and that the attorney general offered an out of the court settling for the case. He is given the choice to either wait for the court ruling, or to pay 10.000 NIS for his release, or to spend one year in prison. While this practice of coercion of Palestinian families that have little reason to trust in the Israeli legal system is general practice, the fine is unusually high. Though the family is anxious to see their son released quickly, they cannot afford to pay it.

Human Rights Report No. 346

Summary: Six family houses searched in night time incursion to Kufr Qadum village
Date of incident: 27.04.2008
Time: 0.00 a.m. till 3.00 a.m.
Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqilya District
Witness/es: family members, municipality

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

Shortly after midnight on Sunday the 27.04.2008 the Israeli army entered Kufr Qadum village with at least 25 vehicles. Soldiers entered and unsuccessfully searched six family houses for weapons. A young man was detained for about two to three hours before being released.

IWPS volunteers interviewed one of the effected families, who gave the following account of the event: Soldiers with painted faces came to the house of the family after midnight. Initially they ordered the family of eleven, including nine children aged between 2 � and 16, to leave the house during the search. The father successfully refused, arguing the small children were afraid and cold. The army then forced the family to stay in one room instead, while proceeding to search the rest of the house. No family member was allowed to accompany the soldiers during the search. The soldiers did not find any weapons in the house and left after about 1 � hours. According to witnesses the search proceedings were similar in the other effected houses.

The village of Kufr Qadum has been victim to frequent army incursions and harassments in the last couple of months. This included a large scale arrest operation against the 23 years old brother of the interviewed family father on January 7th 2008. The house where the arrestee lived with two other brothers and his elderly mother was demolished by an armored bulldozer during the arrest operation. All neighboring houses were violently entered searched and used as firing positions. The adjacent house, home to the interviewed family and the family of another brother and his five children aged between 3 month and 5 years, was riddled with bullets and shot at with rifle launched Energa grenades; a car belonging to the family was destroyed by the bulldozer. The father of the family needed medical treatment after being kicked in the head by four soldiers while lying handcuffed and blindfolded on the ground and is still occasionally suffering from headaches.

Human Rights Report No. 347

Summary: 24 year old Palestinian man shot twice by illegal settlers
Date of incident: 24.04.2008
Time: 8 am
Place: Yasuf, Salfit District
Witness/es: family members

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

A 24 year old Palestinian man was shot and seriously injured at 8 am on Thursday, 24 April by Israeli settlers from the illegal extremist settlement Tapuah. At the time of the shooting, the young man was standing with a group of friends in front of his house, which is located on the outskirts of Yusuf village, towards Iskaka. The house is located at the opposite end of the village to where the settlement of Tappauch is.

IWPS members visited the young man in the Salfit District hospital and spoken with both him and his attending physician. The young man reported that he and some of his friends were gathered at the front of the house and noticed at least 6 settlers about twenty meters away on the hill above the house. He described the settlers, two of whom were armed, as wearing plain, secular looking cloth and being about 25-30 years old. The Palestinians called out to the settlers to ask them what they were doing. In response the settlers began screaming at the group of Palestinians standing in front of their own house to leave and fired about ten bullets in their direction, injuring the young Yasouf resident in both his lower right and upper left arm. As they heard the shooting people from the village started to come to the house, to check on their neighbors. The settlers then left the area and were seen going back to the illegal settlement of Tapuah. The injured man was then evacuated to Salfit Hospital by an ambulance.

According to the attending doctor, Mohammed Qraini, who specializes in trauma surgery resulting from bullet wounds, the fact that the young man was injured on chest height indicates that the settlers had “shot to kill” and the young man was lucky to be alive. The doctor noted that the bullet wound to his right arm was consistent with him being shot with a small caliber weapon at close range, maybe 10 – 15 metres away. The bullet entry and exit were small, so there was minimum damaged sustained to blood vessels and muscles. However, the bullet wound sustained by the young man on his left arm was consistent with him being shot with a M16 automatic weapon. This resulted in large entry and exit wounds, about 7 and 12 cm respectively, and massive trauma and injury to muscles and nerves in the left arm, including the Posterior Interosseous nerve, which controls finger and hand movements.

According to the attending doctor, his patient will have to wait three months for the nerve to settle to see if he will need to have micro-surgery to replace the damaged nerve, as well as extensive physiotherapy. While the attending doctor is experienced in such surgery, the surgery would have to be carried out in Jordan or another country as currently the equipment needed for such surgery is not available in any Palestinian hospital. However, even if the operation should be successful, the doctor stated that it was unlikely the young man would regain complete use of his hand.

A family member of the injured man informed IWPS that extremist settlers from the illegal settlement of Tapuah are frequently coming into Yasuf and that number of attacks on villagers had happened, both inside the village and on its land close to the settlement. Since the beginning of the year settlers entered the village about 20 times. According to the family member, numerous complaints had been filed with the Ariel Police about the behaviour of the extremist settlers, but the Israeli police has so far failed to do anything in response.

Human Rights Report No. 348

Summary: Muncipality worker arrested by Israeli military, bulldozer impounded
Date of incident: 06.05. 2008
Time: 9 am
Place: Azzoun, Qalqilya District
Witness/es: Municipality workers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

IWPS members attending a meeting with Azzoun municipality were informed that two workers with the Azzoun Municipality in the Qalqilya District were arrested while carrying out their jobs on the morning of May 6. The two workers had been instructed to remove a roadblock between Azzoun and the village of Izbat at Tabib. The removal of the road block had been arranged by prior permission with the Palestinian Authority, who had liaised with the Israeli military DCO to coordinate removal of the road block.

IWPS members were informed by the Azzoun Municipality that the workers were accompanied by Palestinian Authority police, as well as an Israeli military jeep.

When the work was almost complete, two more Israeli army hummer jeeps approached the Palestinian work crew. The jeep that had been accompanying the Palestinians left as the newly arrived soldiers arrested the bulldozer operator and one other municipality worker and impounded the bulldozer. The two Palestinian municipality workers and the bulldozer were then transported to an Israeli police station in the illegal settlement of Zufin.

According to the Azzoun municipality, both men were held for several hours before being released. However, their ID cards are still being held by the Israeli army.

Human Rights Report No. 349

Summary: Settler youth steal donkey and its foal from Palestinian farmer
Date of incident: 08.05. 2008
Place: Wadi Qana, Salfit District
Witness/es: Owner

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

Two donkeys – an adult and a foal – were stolen by settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yaqir from a Palestinian farmer while he was tending his fields. The farmer from the village of Dier Istyia had gone to his land in Wadi Qana with the two donkeys. He tied the donkeys up and then went to work at a distance in his field. The farmer noticed settler youth approaching the donkeys and removing them from the field. He was unable, however, to stop them taking the donkeys as he was too far away.

IWPS members were asked to accompany the farmer to Yaqir settlement in order to recover the donkeys, which had been seen earlier just inside the fence of the settlement. IWPS team members approached the settlement security and explained the situation and asked for the return of the donkeys. Initially the settlement security were reluctant to assist, however, the Palestinian farmer was insistent on the return of the donkeys. The IWPS team and the farmer waited for two hours outside the settlement. Eventually, two more settlement guards arrived and the farmer gave a description of the donkeys and the place they had been seen. The security guards went looking for it and within 15 minutes, the farmer was advised that he could retrieve the two donkeys and was allowed to enter the settlement. IWPS team members, however, were prevented from entering to accompany the farmer.

Human Rights Report No. 350

Summary: Settlers ransack a selling yard for stone pillars and tiles
Date of incident: 08.04. 2008
Time: 1 a.m.
Place: Haris, Salfit District
Witness/es: Owner and neighbours

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

Nabil Thawarta from Bethlehem, owner of a selling yard for cut stones, tiles and pillars at the Haris Junction, reported to IWPS volunteers, that settlers have ransacked his property, causing approximately 16.600 NIS damage. According to his statement, residents of Haris living close to the junction noticed disturbances at around 1 a.m. on April 8th, 2008. They witnessed at least five Israeli settlers turning over and breaking many of the stone pillars and tiles in the yard. The witnesses also reported that the settlers had two cars, a red Toyota and a white GMC van. The incident took place in clear view of the Israeli army watch tower on the other side of the Haris junction, only about 200 meters away. However, the Israeli soldiers did not intervene to stop the settlers from destroying the private Palestinian property. The owner, who lives in the neighboring village of Qira, assed and documented the damage the next morning together with the Haris municipality. With the help of the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din he also filed a complaint at the Ariel police station. Over a month later, he has not heard back from the police.

Human Rights Report No. 351

Summary: Settlers destroy young olive and fruit trees
Date of incident: 08.05. and 15.5.2008
Place: Wadi Qana, Salfit District
Witness/es: Land owners

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

Israeli settlers destroyed young olive and fruit trees in Wadi Qana area in two instances. The first instance happened on Thursday the 8th May 2008 at around 7 p.m.. Farmers from Deir Istiya saw a group of 11 religious settlers, including women and children, in an area that contains natural springs, where both Israeli settlers from the surrounding illegal settlements and Palestinians go to swim and make picnics. They then witnessed three male settlers armed with handguns pulling out and or breaking young trees on the Palestinian farm next to the water pool. The owner of the land, who is from Deir Istiya, states that 17 olive trees, 4 fig trees and two lemon trees were destroyed, all of whom were planted in October 2007. Most of the young trees were broken, while in some cases the whole tree was missing, apparently taken away by the settlers. According to the owner the newly planted strip of land used to contain 65 young trees and so far he had invested about 3000 NIS in it. He said while this is the first time settlers destroyed part of his property, the family has repeatedly been threatened while working on their land and therefore refrain from accessing it on the days settlers usually come to swim there.

The second incident happened a week later, on Thursday the 15th May 2008, on adjacent land belonging to the family of another farmer from Deir Istiya. He states that at about 15.30 nine religious armed settlers entered his land and started to pull out young olive and fruit trees. The brother of the farmer, who was present, confronted the settlers, who threatened him, but then left the area in a Jeep with the No. 5300620. As they were leaving the area they attacked his uncle, who was riding on his donkey further down the road, hitting him in the leg with a stone. The settlers pulled out or broke 5 young olive and fruit trees before they were disturbed. The farmer states that this was not the first time Israeli settlers destroyed their property on this land. The family gave up using their own generator to pump up water for irrigating their fruit trees after it was destroyed three times by settlers. They now have to pay to get water from a neighbour, whose generator is in a more secure place.

Human Rights Report No. 352

Summary: Settlers and army attack village
Date of incident: 16.5. and 17.5.2008
Place: ‘Asira al Qibliya, Nablus District
Witness/es: Residents of ‘Asira al Qibliya

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

At around 2 p.m. Friday, the 16.05.2008, a settler from the illegal Israeli settlement Yizhar approached the village of ‘Asira al Qibliya. Approximately 15 minutes later another 20 – 30 settlers, all adults, joined him on the border of the village. Some of the settlers were armed with M16s and hand guns. They began throwing stones at the houses on the border of the village and to set fire to the village’s wheat fields. Three Israeli military jeeps arrived shortly after.

Upon hearing about the attacks by the settlers, young men and boys from the village arrived at the village’s borders in an attempt to stop the attack. Soon after the arrival of the young men and boys from the village, another 12 Israeli military jeeps arrived on the scene. However, the Israeli military did not attempt to stop the illegal settlers from throwing stones or setting fire to the wheat fields. As more people amassed from the village in an attempt to stop the settlers, the Israeli military began to fire on the villagers and village houses with plastic coated steel bullets and teargas. One resident of the village was lightly injured in the face by the ricochet of a plastic coated steel bullet.

One tear gas canister entered the home of a villager whose home is on the outskirts of the village and which is regularly attacked by the settlers. Four children, including a 2 month old bay and other children under the age of 10 years were present in the home when the teargas exploded in the house. The water tank of the roof of the house was also hit and damaged by live ammunition.

Villagers informed the Israeli DCO about the attack, whose officers took more then two hours to arrive but eventually convinced the settlers to leave. As the settlers finally retreated, they stole a donkey from the village, which has not yet been returned. The Israeli army left the outskirts of the village at about 7 p.m.

On the 17.05.2008 more about 80 Israeli settlers gathered on the hill overlooking the village, but apparently were prevented by the army from coming any closer.

According to Palestinian residents of the village, they have had trouble with the settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar entering and harassing the village approximately once a month for the past 6 years. However, over the past two months the harassment has increased, with the settlers invading and attacking the village weekly on Fridays and Saturdays by throwing stones or attempting to destroy trees and crops and damaging property.

Residents of the village also reported that Israeli soldiers have been regularly entering the village at after midnight and randomly occupying houses, forcing families in the houses to spend the night crowded into one room.

Human Rights Report No. 353

Summary: The illegal settlement of Ravava takes more land of Deir Istiya village
Date of incident: 15.05.2008
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit District
Witness/es: Farmers from Deir Istiya, IWPS volunteers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On Thursday the 15th of May 2008 farmers from Deir Istiya discovered several bulldozers and drills from the illegal Israeli Revava Settlement working on their land north-west of the settlement in an Area called Wa’ad al-Qibleh. By Sunday the 18th of May they had cleared a 10-30 meter wide strip leading down from the settlement into the vally for about 400-500 meters before making a u-turn and leading about half the way up again. As the shape of the razed land does not seem to make sense for either a road or a fence, it has to be assumed that this is the ground work for a new extension of the settlement.

Farmers estimate that more then 200 Dunum of private owned Palestinian land are encircled between the lower strip of razed land and the settlement. This land belongs to eight farmers from Deir Istiya. The land has traditionally been used for grazing, also by other shepherding families from the area, and for planting summer crops like wheat. However, since the establishment of the illegal Israeli settlement Revava in 1990, Palestinian access to it became more and more restricted and since 1998 most of it has not been planted anymore due to threats by the Israeli army and settlers. Only one farmer has planted the part of the land that belongs to him with olive trees, which were uprooted repeatedly.

Neither the effected Palestinian farmers nor the Deir Istiya municipality has been officially notified about the work taking place on their land and its purpose.

Human Rights Report No. 354

Summary: Greenhouses under threat of demolition in Kifl Haris
Date of incident: 19. and 20.05.2008
Place: Kifl Haris, Salfit District
Witness/es: Shop owner and land owner
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On Sunday, May 18th 2008, a large force of the Israeli army came to the Kifl Haris / Ariel Settlement junction of the settler highway 505 and forced four shops belonging to Palestinians to close for about two hours. The soldiers claimed a stone had been thrown to the settler highway and tried to hold the Palestinian shop owners responsible for the security in the area. They questioned shop owners and workers about the incident, pushing around and beating a 19 year old working in his father’s plant and garden equipment shop, which is located near a new settler highway which is currently under construction (the construction of the highway has resulted in the permanent closure of the entrance to the village of Kifl Haris, which is located directly behind the shop).

Though the soldiers did not claim any of the shop owners or workers were involved in the incident, they threatened to punish the shop owners by closing or demolishing the shops if anyone threw a stone in the area again.

The father of the 19 year old was then verbally ordered to close his plant shop and his work shop for repairing car electronics for one week, till Sunday the 25th of May. The next morning, Monday the 20th of May, at 11.30, the Israeli army came with a bulldozer to close the access to the shop, which also is the entrance which leads up to the already blocked road to Kifl Haris, thus making access not only to the shop difficult, but also making it even more difficult for the villagers of Kifl Haris to access their village. .

The soldier in command showed the shop owner a written order declaring the Kifl Haris side of the junction a closed military zone. This constitutes an act of collective punishment, forbidden under International Law. Only after intervention by the mayor of Kifl Haris the shop owner was given verbal permission to access his shop during the week of closure to water his plants. In the following week, the closed military zone order was not enforced on anyone but the shop owner and his workers. In the morning of Monday, the 26th of May, workers from the adjacent road construction side opened the access road with their bagger.

Also on Monday the 20th, the same day the closed military zone was imposed, the owner got partial demolition orders for the greenhouses that are part of the plant shop. The order states that the greenhouses that are situated in Area C lack the proper permits. However, the owner attained and paid for a yearly renewed permission for the greenhouses from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. The orders states the owner of the shop has to come to the military administration in the Israeli settlement Beit El on June 19th to try and solve the permit issue, but also states that there is no guarantee for the permit issue to be solved and the demolition order to be lifted.

As the delivery of the demolition order coincided with the forced closure of the shop, the shop owner strongly believes the permit issue to be only a legal pretext for the collective punishment. He states that if the greenhouses are demolished he will also loose most of the plants, as they can not survive the hot summer sun without protective shade. The shop under threat provides income for five families – those of the owner and his two workers as well as the families of two brothers who own the land on which it is build and depend on the rent – altogether 34 persons including 19 children.

This incident is part of a series of collective punishment and dispossession of the shop and land owners. The owner of the land reports that the house that is now part of the plant shop was initially a family house built in 1975 with an Israeli permit, before the establishment of the illegal Ariel Settlement in 1978. The settler highway 505 leading to Ariel is built on land expropriated from the family and only meters away from the house. Since its construction the family has been exposed to frequent harassments and attacks by settlers, including stones thrown at their house and windows being smashed. Main electricity lines as well as water pipes supplying the settlement were also built right next to the house on the families land, further deteriorating their living conditions. The family finally decided to move into the village of Kifl Haris and rented out the house and the surrounding land to a resident of Marda, who build the plant shop and the car repair work shop in the year 2002. According to the shop owner the standard reaction of the Israeli army after any incident near the Kifl Haris / Ariel Settlement junction has been to close down his shop, ranging from a couple of hours to up to 75 days in a row in the year 2003. This is in spite of almost all the clients of the shop being Israelis. Since 2004 an additional highway is being built right on the other side of the plant shop, again expropriating land of the family.

Human Rights Report No. 355

Summary: Settlers and Israeli soldiers attack farmers working on their land, injuring two with live ammunition
Date of incident: 31.05.2008
Place: Immatin, Qalqilya District
Witness/es: Farmers and municipality members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
Farmers from the village of Immatin report that on Saturday, the 31st of May 2008, Israeli settlers from the illegal extremist settlement out post “Shvut Ami” repeatedly attacked them as they were working on their land, about 600m away from the outpost.

According to their account, about twenty settlers with dogs approached five farmers working in the area at around 9.00 a.m.. They started cursing the farmers and their religion, swearing at Prophet Mohammad. The settlers then began to throw stones at the farmers, who stood their ground and defended themselves by also throwing stones back at the settlers and called for help from the village. After approximately half an hour, as more people from the village arrived, the settlers retreated back to the outpost. This scene was repeated two more times until 12.00 at noon. At the latter instance settlers caught and beat a young man from the village who had come to help the attacked farmers.

Between 12.30 and 1.00 p.m. an Israeli army hummer drove through the village and detained the same young man who had gone back to guard a flock of goats on the outskirts of the village. They handcuffed him and forced him into the hummer and brought him to a shack close to the land were the attacks earlier happened and started to hit him. A farmer who worked close by, reports that he approached the soldiers to inquire about the young man, but was cursed and threatened by the soldiers and told to leave. However, he returned shortly afterwards with a second farmer. The soldiers then forced the young man into the shack were they started to beat him again with fists and gun butts. The young man later told the farmers that the soldiers had asked him questions like “To whom belongs this land?” and “To whom belongs Jerusalem?” and would curse and beat him when he answered “It is ours”. After about an hour the soldiers let the young man go and left the area shortly after.

The farmers further account that at around 4 p.m. about 30 settlers with dogs came back to the area; some of them were masked, and three were armed with M16s and one with a handgun. The settlers were accompanied by two soldiers. The settlers and the soldiers threatened the seven or eight farmers present to leave the area. The farmers refused, arguing that they were on their land and that the settlers should leave. They again called for help from the village and more and more residents of Immatin arrived during the next hours, at one point reaching up to 200. The army also called for reinforcement and 12 more soldiers came to the area. A standoff ensued, with the settlers again throwing stones. When some of the Palestinians responded by also throwing back stones, soldiers and settlers started to shoot live ammunition in the air and at the ground in front of the gathered villagers. As the crowd did not disperse, soldiers fired directly into them, hitting a 17 year old youth in his left hand, and grazing a 31 year old man in his stomach. Soldiers then continued to throw tear gas and sound grenades at the villagers and also fired some so called rubber bullet, hitting and bruising one man on the back of his head. At around 19.15 p.m. army and settlers finally left the area.

Both injured by live ammunition were evacuated to Qalqilya hospital. While the man injured in the stomach was released later the same night, the youth shot in the hand was still in the hospital the next day.
Background:
The illegal outpost “Shvut Ami” (My People’s Return) was established in October 2007, when extremist Israeli settlers from the Havat Gilad outpost took over a house between Immatin and Jit overlooking Highway No. 55 and belonging to a Palestinian woman from the village of Kufr Qadum. Farmers from Immatin report that while only about 6 settlers stay at the outpost during the week, they are usually joined by tens more over the week ends. Settlers coming from the out post routinely throw stones at Palestinian cars using the road below and frequently harass and attack farmers who work on their land close to the outpost, especially over the week ends.

After a legal complaint by the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din on behalf of the owners of the house and the surrounding land, the Israeli authorities admitted that the outpost is on privately owned Palestinian land and has to be evicted. The Israeli army evicted the settlers from the outpost several times, but has been unwilling to prevent them from returning back within hours after the evictions. On the 5th of April, 2008, the army allowed a group of Israeli activists from the Anarchists against the Wall, who were invited by the owners and the village council of Kufr Qadum, to come to the house right after the eviction. However the army then refused to protect them from the dozens of settlers returning to the outpost and stood by as they were forced out violently.

According to the farmers from Immatin the settlers’ attacks intensified between the 10th and the 15th of April as settlers from the Shvut Ami outpost made several attempts to steal goats, sheep and horses from the Palestinian farmers. In one instance they took two horses, but were followed by a larger number of farmers who forced them to give the horses back. However, one horse stolen from the farmers from the village of Tell is believed to still be with the settlers. On the 10th of April settlers also attacked a farmer from Immatin and his elderly mother and damaged his tractor with stones.

On the 12th of April about 25 masked settlers attacked a 62 year old farmer from Immatin and his 57 year old wife working on their land about 300m from the outpost. They pelted the elderly couple with stones, hitting the man in the face and the women on her shoulder. When the man tried to complain about the attack at the police station in the nearby settlement of Qedumim, the guard at the entrance of the settlement refused him entry. After the intervention of a fieldworker of the Rabbis for Human Rights a police officer came to Jit to record the complaint. Two weeks later the farmer’s wife was able to identify one of the settlers, who had dropped his mask during the attack, on pictures shown to her at the Ariel police station. On the 20th of May the same couple was attacked by a masked settler on a red horse. The settler tried to threaten the farmer and his wife to leave their land and, when they stood their ground, got down from his horse to attack with a knife a the farmer’s flock of goats and the children. As the farmer brandished his stick to prevent the settler from killing the goats, the settler escaped on his horse, only to return again shortly after and throw stones at the farmer from close range. The farmer reports that, while the following day was quiet, he found 9 of his olive trees and about 6 dunum of wheat burned on the morning of the 22nd of May. Again, a guard at Qedumim refused to let him enter the settlement to reach the police, while police officer claimed the police station would be closed for three days. It was only after an intervention by the Yesh Din and hours of waiting that the farmer was allowed to file his complaint at the police station.

Report written by: Clara and Andjelka
Date report written on: 01.06.2008

Human Rights Report No. 356

Summary: Settlers harass farmers working on their land, cause damage to farms
Date of incident: 10.06.2008
Place: Wadi Qana, Salfit District
Witness/es: Farmers from Deir Istiya
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
Around noon on Tuesday the 10th of June 2008 a large group of settlers started harassing a group of about 10 farmers from Deir Istiya working on their land in Wadi Qana.

Farmers report, that about 40-50 religious looking settlers, including man, women and children of different ages, at least two of them armed, approached them and started swearing at them. One of the settlers, who seemed to be the leader, then gave a speech to the others about Wadi Qana rightfully belonging to the Jewish people, but having been appropriated by “Arab immigrants”. Settler youth also took the donkey of one of the farmers and raced him up and down the road in spite of the owners protest. Only as more Palestinian farmers started to gather in support of the farmers, the settlers let go of the donkey and moved on to an area higher up in the valley. There they damaged the fence and gate of another farm. A 17 year old boy from Deir Istiya reports that he and another young man, who were working on the farm, tried to intervene, but were threatened by the settlers and escaped, after one of the settlers started to hit the young man. Farmers further report that the settlers returned to the site of the initial attack later where they block the road with stones and damaged a motor used for irrigation by breaking the exhaust pipe. The whole attack lasted about two hours. The farmers complained to the Israeli Army but were told that they should complain to the Israeli police instead.

This incident is not an isolated case but the latest in a series of settler attacks in Wadi Qana area, including the uprooting of trees and stealing of donkeys.

Report written by: Clara
Date report written on: 12.06.2008

Human Rights Report No. 357

Summary: Izbat at Tabib threatened with a collective punishment
Stand First: Date of incident: 13 June 2008
Place: Izbat at Tabib, Qalqilia
Witnesses: Villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of incident:
On June 13 at approximately 3 p.m. four Israeli military jeeps entered into the village of Izbat at Tabib. According to the mayor of Izbat at Tabib, the soldiers invaded several houses under a pretext of looking for unknown stone throwers from the village. Allegedly a settler car on the settler by-pass road, in front of the village, had been hit by a stone thrown from the village.

Families in the invaded houses were disturbed and frightened by the Israeli soldiers threatening them and demanding to know who the alleged stone throwers might be.

At approximately 3.30 p.m. three military officers from the Qalqiliya DCO office arrived in Izbat at Tabib and insisted on talking to the mayor. He reported that they said to him that they did not want to cause problems for the village but that throwing stones was dangerous and unless stopped, a closure of the village would be put in place. Also, they refused to tell the mayor why two days before, on June 11, Israeli soldiers came to the village to take photographs of a building under construction that will house a kindergarten and a medical clinic.

Nobody from the village was arrested and the Israeli soldiers left Izbat at Tabib at approximately 5 p.m.

Similar intrusions and threats have been occurring repeatedly in the last years and are seen by the villagers as a harassment strategy in order to maintain fear in the village.

The Israeli government has been threatening Izbat at-Tabib with home demolitions and is trying to force the illegal transfer of village residents to the neighboring town of Azzun, in order to clear the area for a new settler-only road. There are approximately 40 homes for approximately 226 residents in the village, a majority of who are refugees from 1948. So far the village has received 21 demolition orders.

Report written by: Andjelka and Dominique
Edited by: Kim
Date of report: June 14, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 358

Summary: A Kufr Ein resident arrested by Israeli military
Date of incident: 10th June 2008
Time: between 9 am and 9.30 am
Place: flying checkpoint between the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish and the checkpoint ‘Atara, Ramallah District
Witness/es: Passengers in a public transportation vehicle
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On the morning of Wednesday 11th June, a Kufr Ein resident received a phone call from an acquaintance who informed him that on the morning of the previous day, his 26 years old brother had been arrested by the Israeli soldiers at a flying check-point established on the road between the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish and the ‘Atara checkpoint. The man assumed that the arrested young man was taken to the Al Masqubia jail in Jerusalem.

The parents accounted to IWPS volunteers that the young man had left the house on Tuesday 10th June at approximately 8.50 a.m., heading to his work in a restaurant in Ar-Ram. He does not have a mobile phone and they have not heard from him since.

According to the parents, on Tuesday 10th June at 1 a.m. four Israeli soldiers invaded the house, waking everybody up, and without additional explanations handed to their son a paper ordering him to report to the security office in a nearby illegal Israeli settlement on the next day, Wednesday 11th June. At the time of his arrest their son had this paper with him.

The parents reported that the Israeli military had invaded and ransacked their house also on two previous occasions, but had not been looking specifically for their youngest son.

By the time of writing this report it is still not known what has exactly happened to the 26 years old and where he has been kept.

Report written by: Andjelka
Edited by: Kim
Date report written on: 16th June 2008

Human Rights Report No. 359

Summary: Israeli army abuses family, arbitrarily arrests two young men
Date of incident: 13th June 2008
Time: between 7.30 p.m. and 9.30 p.m.
Place: Az-Zawiyya, Salfit Disrtict
Witness/es: Family members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
Around 7.30 in the evening of Friday the 13th of June 2008 a young man was stopped by an Israeli military patrol in the village of Az-Zawiyya. The soldiers asked the young man for his ID card. The young man’s family is partially from Gaza and he has been so far trying in vain to get a West Bank ID card. Out of fear he might get arrested and deported to the Gaza Strip, he pretended of having forgotten his ID card at home and gave the name of one of his cousins.

However, the soldiers insisted on driving to his house in order to check his ID card. The cousin of the young man happened not to be at home and when he was unable to produce the ID card with the given name, the soldiers started pushing around and beating not only him but also his relatives, especially his 15 year old cousin. More relatives, who live in the neighboring houses, including women and elderly people, gathered to inquire why the Israeli soldiers were beating the boy. The soldiers screamed on them to go away and then started to push, beat and kick the men, women and children present. A young man was pushed to the ground and hit with a rifle but on the head and a young woman carrying a baby fell after being violently pushed by a soldier. Soldiers also threw sound bombs.

According to the family, the soldiers then grabbed a 29 year old man who tried to protest against them beating and pushing the women and children of the family. Both him and the young man with no ID card were beaten more and then pushed into a military jeep. Both father and mother of the 29 year old tried to plead with the soldiers to release their son. A soldier pointed his gun directly at the chest of the father and threatened to shoot him. The mother was almost run over by the jeep as she tried to prevent it from leaving with her son.

While the young man without the ID card was released later the same night, the 29 year old was still held on Monday the 16th of June. As the family was unable to find out any concrete information about his whereabouts, they contacted a lawyer who arranged for him to be released the next day for a fine of 2500 NIS. After they had paid the fine at the Ariel Police station, through a lawyer, at the early morning hours of Tuesday the 17th of June, his relatives were told he would be released from Hadarim prison after about 2-3 hours. However, when he still did not return until 2 p.m. the family became worried and inquired again. This time they were told that usually all people scheduled to be released the same day would be released together during early evening hours.

Upon returning home to his family in the evening, the man reported that after his arrest he was brought to an Israeli military base close to Elkana settlement. He said he had been beaten there for several hours all over his body, especially on his head, before being transferred to the Ariel police station at around 4 a.m. next morning. Two days later he was transferred to the Hadarim prison inside Israel, where he was brought to the prison hospital. However, he has not been given any medical report about the injuries suffered from the beating. On Tuesday evening, he reported that his whole body was still sore and aching from the beating.

Report written by: Clara
Edited by: Andjelka
Date report written on: 17th June 2008

Human Rights Report 360

Summary: Thousands of olive trees and 20 dunums of wheat fields destroyed in the fires set by Israeli settlers
Date of incident: 19th June 2008
Time: between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Place: Burin, Nablus district
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
In the late morning of Thursday, 19th June 2008, IWPS received information that since 7 a.m. the village of Burin, district of Nablus, has been under attacks by settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlements, who had also set up fire to the olive grooves and the wheat fields. While approaching Burin, the IWPS volunteers noticed dark smoke and several fires burning on the slopes of the hills.

According to the villagers, approximately 250 Israeli settlers on board coaches arrived on the junction of the so called settler road number 60 in front of the village. The villagers also accounted that many of the settlers had not arrived from the settlement of Yizhar, but from other settlements in the West Bank . As soon as the settlers got off the busses, they started throwing stones on the cars with Palestinian car plates, which were using the road. Subsequently, three groups of settlers approached one isolated house, located on the slope of the hill on the top of which the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar has been built, and two houses in the village, across the road, and started throwing stones on them too. Several settlers went up the hill and set up fires to the olive grooves and wheat fields belonging to the villagers of Burin and of neighbouring Asira al Qabliya.

The villagers reported that Israeli soldiers were accompanying the settlers and did not even try to prevent the settlers from committing these crimes, from endangering the villagers’ lives and destroying their property.

After the DCO Nablus had been pressured by human rights organizations, additional soldiers were deployed to the junction in order to prevent the settlers’ violence. In the meantime, the villagers of Burin began defending themselves against the attacks by throwing stones on the attackers. Yet, the Israeli soldiers chose not to react against the attackers and instead throw tear gas canisters onto the two houses under attack. An older woman and a three months old baby girl in one of the houses suffered gas inhalation and had to be attended to by the local paramedics.

The fires that had been set to the olive trees and the wheat fields were spreading along the slopes but the Israeli soldiers were preventing the villagers from crossing the road and trying to extinguish them. Even after the majority of the settlers had left the area at approximately 11 a.m., five military vehicles and a border police vehicle were still not allowing anybody from the village to get into the burning grooves and fields.

It was not until approximately 1.30 p.m. that the first group of four villagers could cross the road and put some of the fires out. At the same time, Palestinian firemen were permitted to get onto the fire scene. Additional groups of villagers could then join and put the fires under control.

The villagers told the IWPS volunteers that thousands of olive trees and 20 dunums of wheat fields had been destroyed by the fires.

As the IWPS volunteers were leaving the village, at approximately 4 p.m., smoke and a burning small fire were still visible.

Report written by: Andjelka
Photos by: Andjelka, Dominique
Edited by: Dominique
Date report written on: 19th June 2008

Human Rights Report 361

Summary: Once again the settlers attack ‘Asira al Qibliya
Summary: Date of incident: 19th June 2008
Place: ‘Asira al Qibliya, Nablus district
Witness/es: Villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

In the late morning of Thursday, 19th June 2008, IWPS received information that the village of ‘Asira al Qibliya, district of Nablus, had been under yet another attack by settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar, who had also set up fires in the olive groves and pastures belonging to the village.

According to the villagers, approximately 10 Israeli settlers arrived on the top of the hill and started throwing stones on two houses on the eastern border of the village. While attacking the houses they came down the hill, drew two Stars of David on the wall around one of the houses and set up a fire under a fig tree just outside of the wall. Another fire was set up on the slope bordering the second house under the attack.

Only women and children were in the houses at the time of the attack, which lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The settlers moved back into the settlement when four military vehicles arrived. The women were then able to put the fires out.

Yet, another fire started by the settlers on the top of the hill was still burning at 6 p.m. The villages reported later that the fire spread down the hill, approaching the houses on the southern outskirts of the village. Because the settlers carry out attacks on them if they cross the invisible border-line between the village and the settlement, the villagers had to wait until the fire came down to approximately 20 meters from the houses before they could go out of the houses and put the fire out, at approximately 10 p.m.

Report written by: Dominique and Andjelka
Photos by: Dominique
Edited by: Isabel
Date report written on: 20th June 2008

Human Rights Report 362

Summary: Two 16 year old boys arrested by the Israeli army in Deir Istiya village
Date of Incident: 3rd July 2008
Time of Incident: 6.50pm
Place of Incident: Deir Istiya, Salfit District

Description of Incident:
On the morning of July 5th, IWPS received information that two 16 year old boys, cousins from the village of Deir Istiya in the Salfit district of the West Bank, had been arrested by Israeli soldiers on the evening of July 3rd.

According to villagers, a bottle was thrown at a Palestinian bus from the main road of Deir Istiya some time on July 3rd. Following this, the Israeli army started patrolling the village and set up 3 checkpoints. During the soldiers’ rounds, the two boys were walking to a pharmacy on one of Deir Istiya’s secondary roads. The boys’ uncle suspects soldiers saw the two cousins returning from their errand and assumed they were responsible for the bottle incident.

It is believed that the soldiers asked a passer by for the names and addresses of the boys, as at around 6.50pm, 10-12 soldiers arrived at one of the boys’ house asking for him by name. The boy was at his uncle’s house, and while the soldiers waited for his return, they searched the house and acted aggressively towards the boys’ blind 85 year old grandfather. When the boy’s uncle brought him home with his cousin, the soldiers said they wanted to speak to both teenagers. Before the army proceeded to take them away, family members were told the two would be questioned for no more half an hour.

As of mid day July 5th, the family has yet to hear back from either of the boys, and have proceeded to seek assistance from local NGO’s. IWPS has contacted the local district commanding officer (DCO) in an attempt to locate the teenagers, but this information has not yet become available.

Report written by: Maxime
Edited by: Isabel
Date report written on: July 5th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 363

Summary: Israeli settlers burn 20 almond trees, shot at Palestinian farmers and poison sheep belonging to villagers
Date of incident: 3 July, 2008
Time: around 4 p.m.
Place: Burin, Nablus district
Witness/es: Villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On Thursday July 3rd, illegal Israeli settlers once again attacked the village of Burin. The illegal settlers succeeded in setting fire to a field of almond trees, burning at least 20 trees (approximately 3 dunums of land) before Israeli soldiers forced the settlers from the area and called the fire brigade.

According to Palestinian farmers, approximately 15 settlers approached the village at around 4pm and began throwing stones. They were soon joined by another 20 to 25 settlers. During the attack, the illegal settlers also fired at the feet of Palestinian farmers and attempted to beat them when they tried to protect their lands and herds. As well, the settlers placed poison on the ground in an attempt to poison and kill herd animals belonging to village residents. According to the villagers, at least 4 sheep died as a result of the poison.

The attack on Burin is the latest of a series of attacks carried out by settlers from the illegal settlement of Yizhar, with the support of settlers from other illegal Israeli settlements in the area. Prior to this incident, approximately 250 illegal settlers had attacked Burin and the neighbouring village of ‘Asira al Qibliya on June 19th, setting fire to 20 dunums of wheat fields and thousands of olive trees.

Report written by: Kim
Edited by: Maxime
Date report written on: July 5th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 364

Summary: Israeli army enforced curfew on Kifl Haris and installed roadblocks, preventing villagers from entering or leaving
Date of incident: July 8th 2008
Time of incident: Starting at approximately 8 p.m.
Place: Kifl Haris, Salfit district
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On Tuesday July 8th, at approximately 8 p.m., IWPS volunteers observed six Israeli military jeeps driving on the local road connecting the villages of Haris and Kifl Haris in the direction of the latter. Five of the vehicles continued directly into the village of Kifl Haris, while one jeep installed a checkpoint on the road, approximately 1 km away from the western entrance into Kifl Haris. The army prevented cars, pedestrians and IWPS volunteers from entering and exiting the village.

According to the villagers’ accounts, the soldiers in the jeeps that had entered the village threw sound bombs and tear gas canisters while patrolling through the village and declaring a curfew. The villagers also reported that military vehicles had blocked the remaining road entries into the village, from Deir Istiya in the north and from Qira in the east. The southern entrance from the highway 505 has been permanently closed since 2004 as a result of the construction of a new settler-only highway, situated between the present highway 505 and the village.

The reason given for the curfew was that a Molotov cocktail had been thrown at an Israeli car driving on the highway 505.

An eyewitness from the village told the IWPS that 22 young boys were detained by the soldiers and interrogated in three military vehicles. As the army released them one by one, sound bombs were thrown after them, making them run away from the jeeps. Some of the boys were also reportedly severely beaten during the interrogation, but no one was arrested.

At approximately 11.30 p.m. a military bulldozer constructed earth mounds on the roads leading to the village, thus additionally halting the traffic entering and exiting.

On July 9th at approximately 9.30 a.m., the humanitarian office of the Israeli army told the IWPS volunteers that the curfew had been in place until 12 a.m. the previous night and imposed again five hours later, as that it would be lifted at 10 a.m. Nevertheless, the villagers reported that it was only at approximately 2 p.m that the soldiers finally left the village, thus ending the curfew. The roadblocks have not been removed.

On July 9th, due to the curfew and the roadblocks installed around the village, the residents of Kifl Haris could not go either to work or pursue any of the plans that would involve travelling out the village. Students from Haris who usually travel to Nablus via Kifl Haris, so avoiding long hours of waiting at the Za’atara check point, could not do so today and consequently missed the early lectures as they arrived in Nablus with a two hour delay.

This incident is part of a practice of collective punishment, forbidden under International Law but blatantly used by the Israeli army.

Report written by: Andjelka
Photo by: Andjelka (see IWPS web site)
Edited by: Maxime
Date report written on: July 9th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 365

Summary: Israeli army enforced curfew on Deir Istiya and detained three young men and a boy
Date of incident: July 11th 2008
Time of incident: Between 3 pm and 11.50 pm
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit district
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On 11th July IWPS received a call at 10.00 pm to say that the Israeli army had not been allowing the residents of Deir Istiya to enter the village due to curfew imposed on the village. When IWPS volunteers reached the village at approximately 10.30 pm, there were 17 people waiting with their animals at the entrance to the village; most of them were farmers who had been waiting since 4 or 5pm to return home from their land in Wadi Qana. At 11pm the soldiers allowed them to enter the village and go home.

In the meantime, IWPS witnessed the Israeli military bringing to the entrance of the village four young men. Two were brothers, aged 19 and 25, while the other two were their friends, aged 14 and 18. All were blindfolded and their hands were bound behind their backs. The Israeli soldiers forced them into a military vehicle before taking them away at approximately 11.15 pm. They refused to tell IWPS volunteers where or why the boys were being taken.

As the military vehicle was leaving Deir Istiya, the traffic into and from the village was being reestablished, while the 5 soldiers who remained would randomly stop the incoming cars and ask the passengers for their ID cards.

After speaking with their family members, IWPS learnt that the boys had been returning from a wedding in the village when the Israeli soldiers stopped them on the street and detained them.

At approximately 11.30pm, one of the boys called his relatives in the village and said that all four of them had been released in Biddya, approximately 10 km away. The soldiers had not told them why they were taken or why they were released. The boys were left to make their own way back to Deir Istya.

At approximately 11.50pm the Israeli soldiers finally left the village.

Report written by: Isabel, Andjelka
Edited by: Maxime
Date report written on: July 12th 2008

Human Rights Report 366

Summary: Settlers prevent farmer reaching his land in Kufr Qalil for almond harvest
Date of incident: July 13th 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 7.30am
Place: Land near Kufr Qalil
Witness/es: Witnesses, IWPS and other international activists
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On Sunday 13th, July IWPS volunteers joined a farmer and his family as they attempted to harvest almonds from their land near Kufr Qalil. The family had spoken with the Nablus District Coordination Office and were told that they could go to their land between 7am and 5pm. Although a ruling in 2006 by the Israeli High Court of Justice stated that Palestinians should be able to access their land freely and do not have to obtain permission, many farmers have to negotiate ‘permission’ with the DCO so that the Israeli military will protect them from attacks by settlers while they are in their fields.

Shortly after 7am, IWPS volunteers and other international activists went with the family to their land which has been split by a road leading to the Bracha settlement. The family and internationals divided into two groups. The first group remained in the field above the road while the second group crossed the road and headed towards the fields below the road. As the second group crossed the road a settler was passing in his car. When he saw the group he began making calls on his mobile phone and shortly afterwards another 2 settlers arrived, one armed with a large rifle.

The armed settler entered the field and approached the group which consisted of 3 women, 3 children and 1 man and told them that they had to leave as they were not allowed to be there. When the settler was told the family had obtained permission from the DCO to be there he said they were only allowed to be in the fields above the road. After several minutes 2 Israeli soldiers arrived and after speaking with the settler, told the group they did not have permission and they must leave. Again the group said they had permission and asked the soldiers to contact the DCO to confirm this but they would not.{image1}

After the group contacted the DCO themselves and confirmed that the family had permission, they made their way towards the road to wait for a representative from the DCO to arrive and confirm the permission with the settlers and the soldiers. When the group reached the road, another settler was waiting and 2 more men arrived who appeared to be from a private security firm employed by the settlement. One was armed with a rifle and one held a video camera. They too told the group they must leave. With 4 men from the settlements surrounding the group, 2 of them armed, the soldiers drove away in their jeep and headed to the first group who had begun the harvest in the fields above the road.

The armed settlers again told the group on the road that they must leave and when the group refused they became aggressive and tried to push one of the young boys and attempted to take a donkey belonging to the family. A representative from the DCO then arrived and confirmed that the family had permission to be in both fields. He would not however ask the settlers to leave so that the group could begin the harvest without harassment

After 10 minutes, the soldiers returned to the first group along with 2 Israeli policemen, and a number of border police The second group then walked down to join the first, as the Israeli police had stated they wanted to ask the elderly Palestinian farmer some questions. Police proceeded to question the man before taking details from his ID. After approximately 5 minutes, the man was allowed to return to the group.

When the elderly farmer returned the family decided that they only wanted to harvest in the fields above the road to avoid further harassment. The group then left the fields below the road and spent the day harvesting almonds in the fields above the road which is what the settlers had demanded originally. Throughout the whole incident neither the DCO representative or the soldiers made any attempt to assist the family despite the fact they had sought and received ‘permission’ to visit their land.

Report written by: Isabel
Photo by: Isabel
Edited by: Maxime
Date report written on: July 13th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 367

Summary: Farmer prevented from reaching his land in Kufr Qalil for second consecutive day
Date of incident: July 14th 2008
Time of incident: Between 7.20am and 11.45am
Place: Land near Kufr Qalil
Witness/es: IWPS, international activists
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On Monday 14th July IWPS volunteers and other international activists again joined a farmer and his family as they tried to access their land in Kufr Qalil for the almond harvest.

At approximately 7.20am the family and internationals split into two groups with the first to work above the road leading into the settlement of Bracha, and the second below it. When the second group made their way to the land below the road, there was already an army jeep and a mini bus full of settlers waiting for them. There was an older man, in his fifties, and eight boys, between ten and thirteen years old, in the minibus. Some of the boys carried long sticks. When they saw the Palestinians and the internationals arrive they rushed towards them but the soldiers positioned their jeep between the Palestinians and the settlers thus preventing them from reaching the group of Palestinians.

After approximately twenty minutes of observing the negotiations between the soldiers and the international activists, the settlers returned to their mini bus only to turn on loud music and drive back to the place where the Palestinians were still waiting to hear whether they would be able to harvest almonds. The fear among them was obvious as all watched the old settler and the young boys getting off the mini bus and starting to dance to the loud music, clapping with their hands. The soldiers did not do anything to halt the intimidating behaviour of the settlers. On the contrary, they seemed to be amused by it and used their mobile phones to take photographs of the “performance”, which ended approximately five minutes later with the “dancers” getting on the mini bus and driving off.

At approximately 8am the Palestinians were told that they could go to the land on both sides of the road and work. After half an hour the soldiers returned and said that the DCO had now decided that the family did not have permission to be below the road and they would have to move to the fields above it. They said that anyone who remained would be arrested. They refused to take any notice of the Israeli High Court of Justice ruling from the year 2006, which states that the military commander must protect the right of Palestinian farmers to work on their land. So the group moved to the fields above and continued to work.

At approximately 11 am, the soldiers again returned with an order in Hebrew declaring all of the land belonging to the family to be a closed military zone. Three policemen also arrived and said that both groups of harvesters had 5 minutes to leave the area or they would be arrested. Two representatives from the DCO also arrived and told the farmer that he would have to visit the DCO office and present papers which proved that the land belonged to him. They stated that once he had done this, the DCO would then supply him with the dates he would be allowed to access his land again.

Everybody left the fields at approximately 11.45 due to the closed military zone order, though the farmers still had many almond trees to harvest.

Report written by: Andjelka, Isabel
Edited by: Maxime
Date report written on: July 14th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 368

Summary: A 44 year old Palestinian women attacked by a female settler at the Zat’ara checkpoint
Date of incident: March 27th 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 9am
Place: Checkpoint Zat’ara, Salfit district
Witness/es: Victim
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On 19th July IWPS volunteers were informed about an incident on 27th March 2008, when a 44 year old Palestinian woman from Izbat at Tabib, Qalqiliya district, an employee of the Ministry of Social Affairs, had been attacked by an Israeli female settler in her late twenties. The victim recounted the following:

At approximately 9am she arrived at the Zat’ara checkpoint on a public transportation van and got off in order to change to another car, which would take her to her work place in Salfit. While waiting at the bus shelter, she saw three female Israeli settlers, who were between 25 and 30 years old, coming towards the shelter where she was sitting. She recognized one of the settler women to be one who had attacked her verbally, at the same place one month earlier, demanding that she leave the shelter which she claimed to be settler-only. Despite feeling nervous, the woman decided to stay in the shelter.

As the three young settlers approached the shelter, the one who had harassed her one month earlier opened her shoulder bag, pulled out a baton and hit the Palestinian woman on her knee. While she was left in awful pain, the three settlers ran away and after a few meters got in a car, which had pulled over to take them in the direction of the illegal Israeli settlement of Tappuach.

Due to pain, the injured woman did not continue her journey to Salfit but returned to Qalqiliya where she went to the hospital and had her knee examined. No fracture could be determined, but a hematoma and internal bleeding were found. Thus she was signed off work for eight days. The woman reported that for another two and a half months she was still feeling much pain in her knee and could not walk properly.

After her sick leave she requested her job to be transferred from Salfit, because she was afraid of additional attacks at Zat’ara. Since April she is no longer employed in Salfit.

With the help of the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din she has filed a complaint against the attacker. At the beginning of June she was required to come to the police station in the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel for an identification attempt, but her attacker’s picture was not among those which were shown to her. She has not heard either from the Israeli police or the court authorities since then.

Report written by: Andjelka
Edited by: Isabel
Date report written on: July 19th 2008

Headline: Human Rights Report No. 369

Summary: Three Palestinians injured on their lands close to Far’ata, Qalqiliya district, by a group of settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad, and Israeli soldiers
Date of incident: July 21, 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 6pm
Place: Far’ata, Qalqiliya district
Witness/es: Victims, villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: At approximately 5.30pm on July 21, 2008, two Palestinians farmers from Immatin in the Qalqiliya district were working on their land, in a valley close to Far’ata when they saw five settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad approaching, two on horses, three on foot. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed over towards the farmers from Immatin to help them. Seeing this, the settlers went up the hill, yelling at the Palestinians that they would beat them, throwing stones on them and starting smaller fires. Approximately 15 more masked settlers gradually joined them.

At approximately 6pm some 15 Israeli soldiers arrived. The Palestinian farmers reported that they did not do anything to push the settlers away. When a 54 year old Palestinian farmer approached the soldiers to ask why they were letting the settlers attack the farmers on their lands, a settler came between the soldier and the Palestinian and sprayed the Palestinian with an unknown chemical substance on his arms, hands and in his eyes, which caused them to burn and inflame so that he could not see. Other settlers joined in hitting this Palestinian with a stick on the back of his neck and on the top of his hand. When his 22 year old son tried to stop the settlers from attacking his father, the settler sprayed his arms and hands with the same unknown substance.

According to the victims, the soldiers did nothing to stop the settlers from hitting them. However, they began shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the Palestinians. A 34 year old Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet at the top of his thigh from approximately thirty meters away. After this, a soldier threw a tear gas bomb directly in front of him.

The farmers reported that the fires, some started by the settlers and others started by the heat of the teargas canisters, destroyed 50 olive trees at one location and 10 more at another location, before Palestinian firemen could put them out.

After the confrontation had ended, the injured Palestinians went to the local clinic where they received medical treatment. Both Palestinian men who had been sprayed with the unknown chemical substance reported that the burning sensations caused by the spray had not subsided the following day, more than 20 hours after the initial attack.

Report written by: Danielle and Andjelka
Edited by: Isabel and Kim
Date report written on: July 22nd 2008

Human Rights Report No.370

Summary: Settlers set fires in the olive groves surrounding Immatin village, burning 50 Dunums of land and 130 olive trees.
Date of incident: July 24th, 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 1pm
Place: Immatin, Qalqiliya district
Witness/es: villagers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: At approximately 1pm on July 24th, settlers set fire to fields outside the village of Immatin in the Qalqiliya district. The handful of Palestinians who were in the fields during the attack reported being verbally harassed by the 6-7 settlers before they ignited the fire and left the area. The Palestinians proceeded to alert other Immatin villagers, who helped put out the blaze. The fire fighters were only able to arrive at 2:30pm, but at that time, most of the blaze had been put out. Due to this attack, 5 families lost a total of 50 Dunums of land which contained 130 olive trees.

Both the Israeli army and Police arrived in the village at approximately 1:30pm to allegedly investigate the incident: villagers reported seeing roughly 100 military personnel in the surrounding fields. When IWPS volunteers arrived at 3pm, there were an estimated 30 Israeli army officials left in between the burnt fields and the settler outpost Gilad from where it is thought the settlers came. When asked why they were maintaining a presence in the area, a soldier stated that it was “to de-escalate conflict”. They could not confirm if the settlers who had started the fire had been arrested, or if any suspects were being questioned. They then proceeded to make the Palestinians who had assembled in their fields leave the area.

This is the 2nd attack by settlers on Immatin this week: villagers suspect that the same group of settlers is responsible for both incidents. Fires were also lit today in the neighboring villages of Huwara and Burin, it is suspected but not confirmed that the same group of settlers are responsible.

Report written by: Maxime
Edited by: Isabel
Date report written on: July 24th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 371

Summary: Settlers throw stones at Palestinians and set fires to olive and almond trees surrounding Burin village.
Date of incident: July 27th, 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 6:30pm
Place: Burin, Nablus distric
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: At approximately 6:30pm on July 27th, settlers from the illegal outpost Bracha A attacked two Palestinian shepherds from the village of Burin in the Nablus district. Two Palestinians who were grazing their goats reported that fifteen settlers tried to take some of the goats away. One settler was armed. They threw stones at the Palestinians who managed to run with the goats from the grazing slopes back to the road leading into the village. The shepherds proceeded to alert other villagers and were soon joined by approximately fifteen other boys and men some of whom began throwing stones back at the settlers. Two Palestinian young men reported having been hit by stones. At this point, the settlers ran up the hill and were joined by other settlers totaling approximately thirty. At approximately 6:45pm, they then began setting fire to the olive and almond trees, using petroleum.

According to villagers between 7pm and 7:30pm, approximately thirty soldiers arrived, some down with the Palestinians, others up on the hill with the settlers. The soldiers ordered the Palestinians to leave, pushed them and hit them with their guns. They told the Palestinians that the fire was high and only burnt old trees. Soon after the soldiers arrived, two Palestinian fire trucks arrived. They were not allowed to go up the hill and to put out the fire. The soldiers would neither protect the villagers in order for them to go up the hill to put out the fire.

At approximately 8pm, when the IWPS volunteers arrived, the Burin villagers were still asking the soldiers to accompany them up the hill to put out the fire. The soldiers refused to do so and told the villagers to go back into the village. It was already getting dark so the Palestinians decided to do so and returned into the village. At 9pm, the fire was still visibly burning from afar. This was the 3rd attack by settlers on Burin in a week.

Report written by: Danielle
Edited by: Andjelka
Date report written on: July 29th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 372

Summary: Palestinians held for 3 hours while soldiers check their ID cards
Date of incident: July 29th 2008
Time of incident: Between 11am and 2pm
Place: Near the entrance to Haris
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On 29th July at approximately 11am Israeli soldiers stopped a car travelling from Qalqiliya to Ramallah at a flying checkpoint near the entrance to Haris. The four passengers and the driver were all asked for their IDs. The soldiers returned the driver’s ID to him but kept the other IDs and made the men move into the area of land beneath the Israeli watch tower near the entrance to Haris.

When IWPS volunteers arrived at the scene, the men and their driver had been waiting for approximately half an hour. When asked, the soldiers present said that they were waiting for their commander to check the IDs as three of the men were from Gaza and they should not be in the West Bank.

When the volunteers spoke to the men, they were told that although they were born in Gaza, they have been living in the West Bank for 10 years, they are married to women from the West Bank and they work in Ramallah. Last year they had their IDs transferred so that they are now fully registered in the West Bank.

At approximately 2pm, after sitting for 3 hours with no shade, the soldiers returned the IDs to the men and said that they were free to go. The men then left to continue their journey to Ramallah where they should have started work at 12pm.

Report written by: Isabel
Edited by: Andjelka
Date report written on: July 29th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 373

Summary: Late night incursion in Yasouf, Salfit District
Date of incident: August 13 th 2008
Time of incident: Between 12am and 5.30am
Place: Yasouf
Witness/es: Villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: On 13th August the Israeli army invaded the village of Yasouf in the Salfit District. The villagers reported that at approximately 12am fifteen military vehicles, including Hummers, jeeps and a large armored personnel carrier entered the village. Accompanied by at least three dogs, soldiers began house to house searches. By 5.30am when they left the village, they had caused a serious head injury to a 65 year old woman and ransacked dozens of houses. In several of the houses whole families, including small children, were forced to leave the house and wait outside for at least half an hour while the soldiers were conducting the searches.

The injured 65 year old woman lives alone with her 89 year old husband. They have no children. Israeli soldiers forcefully entered their house, breaking their heavy metal double-door. IWPS volunteers were told that one side of the door fell on the woman who was behind it, knocking her unconscious. The soldiers still stepped over her body into the house. Before they left the house approximately 5 minutes later, they had sprinkled some water on her face. When she opened her eyes they said to the husband that she would be all right and left her lying on the floor. A neighbor who rushed in to help the woman reported that the woman was later taken to the nearby hospital in Salfit, and subsequently hospitalized in Nablus, for her injury could not be treated adequately in Salfit. At 1pm she was still in the hospital and her husband’s niece had to come to the house to take care of her uncle.

In one of the houses that was searched, soldiers told family members that they were looking for weapons. In another house, when asked about the reasons for the brutality, an Israeli soldier replied: “This is still nothing compared to what you will be experiencing later”. A family of six who live in a house located not far from the entrance of the village reported to IWPS that their house was searched by eight soldiers, who entered into their rooms with a dog and turned all the wardrobes and cupboards upside down. They added that whenever the soldiers invade the houses in the village, almost monthly, their house is targeted.

Yasouf is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlements and in addition to continuous threats of military invasions and violence, the villagers have been the victims of serious settler violence which the Israeli army has turned a blind eye to and allowed to continue.

Report written by: Andjelka
Edited by: Ellen
Photo by: Andjelka
Date report written on: August 13th 2008

Human Rights Report No 374

Summary: Israeli settlers steal twenty three sheep from a Palestinian farmer from Yasuf
Date of incident: August 4th 2008
Time of incident: Between 7.30am and 9.00am
Place: Yasuf, Salfit District
Witness/es: Villagers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On 13th August 2003 IWPS volunteers were informed that during the early morning of August 4th, settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Tappuah had stolen twenty-three sheep from a 75-year old Palestinian farmer from the village of Yasuf.

The farmer recounted that he and his 13-year old grandson were tending the sheep in a pasture near their home when four armed settlers, descending from the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Tappuah, threatened them with bullets fired into the air, stones thrown directly at them (injuring the old man on the shoulder and hand), and a tractor. As the farmer and his grandson sought shelter, the settlers stole their sheep by herding them towards the settlement. Threatened with murder if they pursued the settlers, the farmer and his grandson retreated.

The farmer then attempted to inform the police of the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel. After waiting several hours, he was permitted to file his complaint, which included a photograph of one of the four settlers, taken on a cellular telephone. The police reportedly promised to call and follow up regarding this case, but have so far failed to do so.

Sheep are the primary source of income for many residents of Yasuf, including this farmer’s family. He was tending sheep for several of his family’s generations when all were stolen; the extended family has now lost their main source of income. The sheep they raise are of a rare and expensive breed and would be difficult if not impossible to replace. Most of the sheep were only two years old; twenty were pregnant and expected to calve soon.

The village of Yasuf is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlements. Villagers regularly experience harassment from both settlers and the Israeli army.

Report written by: Ellen
Edited by: Andjelka
Date report written on: August 13th 2008

Human Rights Report No  375

Summary: 52-year old Palestinian farmer from Haris assaulted on his land next to illegal Israeli settlement of Revava, Salfit District
Date of incident: August 14 th 2008
Time of incident: Between 11am and 2pm
Place: Haris land bordering the illegal Israeli settlement of Revava, Salfit District
Witness/es: Villagers, IWPS volunteers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

At 11am on the 14th of August, a Palestinian farmer from Haris, Salfit district, went to his land, which boarders the illegal Israeli settlement of Revava, to investigate why, two days previously, it had been invaded by Israeli bulldozers.

He recounted that as he was approaching the construction site on his donkey, five armed settlement security officers threatened him with their guns. He asked to speak with their manager. One security officer hit him in the chest with his gun, and he fell from his donkey in pain. Unable to move, he lay on the ground from 11am until 2pm. His family was not permitted to approach him, and thus watched him suffer from under a nearby tree. They reported that Israeli soldiers arrived at the scene after about quarter of an hour and Israeli police about an hour after the attack, at 12 pm.

At approximately 1pm, IWPS volunteers arrived to the scene and witnessed the man as he lay surrounded by soldiers, unassisted and unshielded from the sun.
At around 2pm an Israeli military ambulance arrived and transported him to the gates of Revava, where a Palestinian ambulance had been waiting, unable to enter the settlement.

At approximately 2pm the injured farmer finally received medical treatment in the Salfit Hospital. Later that evening he reported that no fractures had been discovered, but that he was still in much pain.

Report written by: Ellen
Edited by: Andjelka
Photo by: Ellen
Date report written on: August 15th 2008

Human Rights Report No. 376

Summary: Israeli army threatens and physically abuses Kafr ad Dik resident.
Date of incident: August 30th 2008
Time of incident: 2:30-3am
Place: Kafr ad Dik
Witness/es: Residents of Kafr ad Dik

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

On August 30th at 2:30am, Israeli soldiers are reported to have forcibly demanded entrance to a family residence in Kafr ad Dik, Salfit district. One resident of the home reports that first all of his family members’ identity cards were reviewed; next, he was forced to exit the house while the rest of the family was locked inside. Three soldiers demanded from him to give information about a resident of Kafr ad Dik. Refusing to answer, the soldiers beat the man on the back, shoulders and face, and held him at gunpoint; he then revealed the other’s residence. The soldiers eventually left, next forcing entry into the wanted man’s home who was not to be found.

Since the evening of August 30th, the Israeli army returned almost every evening at around prayer time, patrolling the streets and using sound bombs to intimidate residents and thereby preventing them from leaving their homes.

Report written by: Ellen
Edited by: Miriam
Date report written on: September 3rd 2008

Human Rights Report No. 377

Summary: Settlers raid ‘Asira al Qibliya and army imposes curfew on village.
Date of incident: September 13th – September 14th 2008
Time of incident: 6am till 4:30am of the next morning
Place: ‘Asira al Qibliya, Nablus
Witness/es: Residents of ‘Asira al Qibliya and international/Israeli activists

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

In the aftermath of a stabbing incident of a nine year old Jewish-Israeli boy in the settlement of Yitzhar, the Israeli army enforced curfew on the village of ‘Asira al Qibliya (Nablus) on September 13th at approximately 6am (Palestinian time).

At around 7am dozens of settlers started approaching the village, firing in the air, shattering windows and damaging property.
Residents of the village report that neither the Israeli soldiers nor the Israeli police intervened in order to protect the residents or their property from the assaults of the settlers.

The Injuries

During the course of the settler raid and the imposition of curfew, seven residents of ‘Asira al Qibliya were injured. By the time of writing it is still unclear whether the injuries stem from guns fired by the army or by the settlers, who reportedly carried slingshots, air guns and machine guns.
Four injuries were inflicted by live ammunition and were treated in Raffidiyah hospital in Nablus. The remaining three injured persons, among them a 10 year old boy, were hit by rubber bullets, stones and shrapnel, and could be treated by the ambulance and inside the clinic of the village.

Arriving at the main entrance of the village at around 9am, international volunteers witnessed how several attempts of Palestinian ambulances to enter the village and attend to injured persons were prevented by the Israeli army. Only after around 10am were ambulances allowed to pass.

The Demolition

Several houses located at the outskirts of the village (towards the outpost of the settlement) were severely damaged by settlers. International volunteers who arrived at the scene shortly after the settlers had drawn back at approximately 10am bore witness to the outcome of the settlers’ aggression: large numbers of stones hurled at residential homes, shattered windows, broken water canisters and cut water pipes as well as a Palestinian owned car that had been demolished and pushed down a hill.

Detention of Residents

During the course of the riots, a number of residents of ‘Asira al Qibliya were detained and held by the army. One resident reported to IWPS that, when he and four other men tried to defend their homes from settlers’ attacks, the army responded by restraining them, handcuffed and on their knees, for several hours. At least one of their homes was damaged severely by the settlers.
Similarly, when a group of residents tried to prevent the settlers from getting closer to the village, the army apprehended one man and detained him for approximately six hours.
At the opposite side of the village, the army detained six other villagers who were reportedly returning home from work; they were prevented from accessing their homes or families for approximately four hours.

According to several Israeli media articles quoting army spokespeople, not one settler was detained or arrested by the Israeli army or police.

Restriction of Mobility

Throughout the course of the day, the Israeli army blocked all three vehicular access roads into ‘Asira al Qibliya and nearby Madama village. Entrance and exit from ‘Asira al Qibliya itself was closed by the army throughout much of September 13th. Madama village, the main road used to enter ‘Asira al Qibliya by car, was blocked to the north by an earthmount, and to the north-east (towards Burin) by an army checkpoint established inconsistently throughout the day and the night.
Between 2pm and 3pm IWPS volunteers directly witnessed how residents from different villages, including older people and children, were prevented from passing a barrier set up by the military between Madama and Burin. According to those waiting, the soldiers had stopped people, most of them returning to their homes, for approximately two hours.
According to Israeli volunteers, the same procedure of not letting anyone pass was repeated by the army in the early evening.

Night Raid

At approximately 3:30am during the night following these events, the Israeli army forcibly entered approximately four residential homes. According to eyewitnesses, Israeli soldiers isolated the family members into one room of each respective home as they searched through the other rooms. In at least one of the houses, Israeli soldiers left considerable damage while ransacking rooms and throwing furniture outside of the house onto the street. After one hour, at approximately 4:30am, the army left the village center but maintained their presence on the outskirts.

Report written by: Ellen and Miriam
Photos: Active Stills http://www.activestills.org/
Date report written on: September 14th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 378

Summary: Israeli army imposes curfew as settlers raid the village of Kafr ad Dik
Date of incident: September 27th – September 28th 2008
Place: Kafr ad Dik, Salfit
Witness/es: Residents of Kafr ad Dik and IWPS volunteers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:

At approximately 4:00 in the morning on September 27th, the Israeli army entered the Salfit village of Kafr ad Dik and imposed a curfew. According to residents of the village, soldiers forcibly entered a number of homes, but after a few hours left the village. It is unclear whether or not they lifted the curfew.
According to media reports, these events were preceded by an incident west of Kafr ad Dik near the settlement of Ale Zahav, where Palestinian gunmen reportedly opened fire on a settler driving his car.

At approximately 9:30 that evening, around 100 settlers from the nearby settlements Ale Zahav and Pedu’el entered Kafr ad Dik on foot. According to eye witnesses, some of the settlers were accompanied by dogs and some were also armed. Residents of Kafr ad Dik state that five Israeli army jeeps returned to their village at approximately the same time as the settlers entered.
Marching along two parallel roads into Kafr ad Dik, the settlers reportedly hurled stones and rocks at the residents’ homes and cars, causing considerable damage to at least 16 houses and ten vehicles, including six trucks and two tractors. Apart from shattering windows and mirrors, the stones and rocks destroyed two families’ solar panels and hit Kafr ad Dik residents, causing minor injuries.

According to eyewitnesses, the Israeli army did not intervene to deter the settlers’ raid; instead, they renewed curfew at around 10:00 pm to prevent the Palestinians from leaving their houses.
When some residents of Kafr ad Dik challenged the curfew and went outside to defend their property, the Israeli army responded by throwing sound grenades and shooting tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
During these confrontations, at least six people between the ages of 13 and 37 were injured by rubber bullets, sound grenades and physical assaults by soldiers. Three persons had to be taken to Salfit hospital by ambulances.
It is important to note that apart from these physical injuries, a great number of especially older people and young children suffered from severe stress and anxiety, caused by both the settler attack and the army’s actions.

After approximately an hour, the settlers left the village of Kafr ad Dik; according to the Israeli army’s Humanitarian Office, they tried to continue their raid in the nearby village of Al Lubban al Gharbi.
The army maintained its presence in the village until the early morning of September 28th. IWPS volunteers witnessed army jeeps infrequently patrolling the road that was earlier used by the settlers, throwing sound grenades, and firing flares and tear gas at the youth in the streets.

Report written by: Miriam
Edited by: Ellen
Photos: Ellen
Date report written on: September 28th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 379

Summary: Qedumim settlers set fire to Immatin fields
Date of incident: October 3rd 2008
Time of incident: 4 – 6 pm
Place: Immatin, Qalqiliya
Witness/es: Residents of Immatin

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
On October 3rd at around 4:00 pm, approximately fifteen young settlers from the Israeli settlement of Qedumim reportedly started a fire just south of said settlement in the fields of Immatin’s olive groves. The fire burned for two hours, destroying around 100 plants on 10 dunnums of land. Five Immatin families’ olive crops were damaged by the blaze. Apart from loosing whole trees, these families lost additional harvest, as fruits of the surrounding trees suffered from the heat and will not be salvageable this year.

The settlers left as soon as they set the fire.
At around 6:00 pm the residents achieved putting out the blaze.

Report written by: Miriam
Edited by: Ellen
Photos: Ellen
Date report written on: October 3rd, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 1/2008

Summary: Settlers and Army continuously harass Kufr Qadum farmers during the olive harvest
Date of incident: 6-11 October 2008
Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqiliya District
Witness/es: Farmers and Municipality members from Kufr Qadum, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved- we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Farmers of Kufr Qadum have been facing constant harassment from both, the Israeli Army and Israeli settlers from Qedumim and its outposts, since they started harvesting olives this week. Municipality members report that farmers have been driven of their land and prevented from harvesting their olives by the army in different areas around the village, as far as three kilometers from the illegal Settlement of Qedumim. In addition there have been numerous attacks by extremist settlers in the area around Beit Im Eiman (referred to by the settlers as Shvut Ami), where Hill Top Youth keep trying to establish an outpost.

On Saturday, the 11.10.2008 IWPS volunteers accompanied two brothers and their families who have their land about 200-300m from and within sight of Qedumim settlement. They had first tried to go harvesting on Thursday, the 9th of October, but were forced to leave by Israeli soldiers at around 9 a.m., who told them to try again the following day. On Friday morning soldiers again tried to dive them of the land, however the farmers contacted the Palestinian DCL (District Coordination Liason). After about an hour of negotiations the Israeli DCO (District Coordination Office) acknowledged, that the families are in an area that does not require prior coordination with the army and ordered the soldiers not to bother them. However, at 3 O’clock in the afternoon a different group of soldiers returned and forced the family to leave regardless. In the process, they screamed on and cursed the children and the parents, pointed their guns at them and threw harvest equipment and harvested olives to the ground.

On Saturday the same group of soldiers approached the families again at around 9 a.m., after first driving of another family harvesting close by. They ordered the families to leave – though, in presence of the internationals somewhat more polite then the previous day – arguing that it is forbidden to harvest close to the settlement on Saturdays. The international volunteers accompanying the family contacted the Israeli DCO, who again confirmed that they can harvest as long as they do not come closer then 100m to the settlement. However the soldiers on the ground still forced of the families, trying to misinform the DCO about the exact location of the olive grove. After repeated phone calls the DCO send an officer to clarify the situation with the farmers and the soldiers on the ground, again acknowledging the right of the farmers to harvest undisturbed in the area. At about noon all three families started harvesting once more.

As the problems seemed to be solved the international volunteers left at around 1 p.m. for a meeting in the village council, only to be called back about an hour later, as yet another batch of soldiers forced two of the families to leave at gun point, throwing olives and harvest equipment to the ground. The DCO was informed and send yet another officer who once more confirmed that picking is allowed in the area, promising to inform all soldiers about this decision. However the two families did not want to try a third time the same day and only the last family continued picking. They were about to finish their day of work around 16.45, when yet another group of soldiers arrived to tell them to leave. These soldiers refused to talk to the DCO officer on the phone directly, insisting he should follow the “proper” line of army communication and orders, while they pressed the family to hurry with packing up. Getting used to the game and reassured by the presence of internationals, the family took its time packing up and cramming harvest and harvesters into their tiny family car. Even the soldiers had to struggle to keep taking themselves serious watching the little kids sitting on top of the olives in the trunk waving good bye at them.

Back in the village the IWPS volunteers were approached by other farmers returning from their fields close to Beit Im Eiman, an isolated house overlooking the main road that has repeatedly been occupied by extremist Hill Top Youth and evacuated by the Israely army. Two families, including small children, reported that they had been repeatedly attacked by settlers this day, who destroyed several small olive trees, threatened the children and threw stones. The army intervened, driving back the settlers, but then left giving room to the settler to attack again in bigger numbers, up to 40 at one point, before finally bringing the situation under control. Another farmer from the same area, who had his olive grove set on fire by settlers five days ago, has since been prevented by the army from reaching his land to assess the damage.

Report written by: Clara
Edited by: Ellen
Date report written on: October 11th, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 2/2008

Summary: Settlers attack Huwwara residents while harvesting olives near Yitzhar
Date of incident: 11 October 2008
Place: Huwwara, Nablus District
Witness/es: Farmers from Huwwara
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved- we will do our best to furnish you with all relevant information you might need to begin action.

Huwwara residents report that on Saturday, October 11 at approximately 10:30am, about 25 armed settlers from Yitzhar descended from the hilltop and started to throw stones at the Palestinian farmers harvesting their olives on the slope below. Two Palestinians were injured by stones: one in the head and body, who had to be taken to Nablus hospital; the other on the hand After approximately 10 minutes, Israeli soldiers descended from the same hilltop towards the Palestinians, firing their guns into the air. Soldiers and settlers, together, instructed the Palestinian farmers to leave their land. The farmers were held for 1-1.5 hours by the army before being permitted to return to their land. The settlers remained in the area overlooking the olive grove, but at this point were held at bay by the army.

Huwwara residents report that ladders and tarps, used to harvest olives, were stolen by the settlers during the attack.

Report written by: Ellen
Date report written on: October 13th, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 3/2008

Summary: Hill Top Youth continue to attack Kufr Qadum farmers during the olive harvest (see also: Olive Harvest Report #1)

Date of incident: 12 October 2008
Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqiliya District
Witness/es: Farmers and Municipality members from Kufr Qadum, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

In response to the Hill Top Youth’s attack of Kufr Qadum farmers on October 11th (Olive Harvest Report #1), the Israeli army destroyed the settler’s tents built atop the hill near Beit Im Eiman (Shvut Ami) during the night between the 11th and 12th. However, the army did not prevent the settlers from returning to the hill.

On the 12th, the Hill Top Youth again attacked the farmers of Kufr Qadum harvesting in the valley below, at about 3pm. The settlers threw stones using sling shots; the farmers called the Israeli police. After about 15 minutes, the police arrived and stopped the settlers from throwing more stones. Approximately three army jeeps and two police vehicles were present on the road when IWPS volunteers arrived at 4:15. The police threatened to arrest the internationals but did not. The settlers remained on the hill, kept by one army jeep that stayed in the area till the farmers finished their harvest for the day at around 5pm.

The mayor of Kufr Qadum points out that none of the people of the Hill Top Youth were arrested or even removed from the area for the stone throwing, in stark contrast to the army’s reaction towards Palestinians throwing stones. When Palestinian youth throw stones, their villages might be invaded to identify and arrest the perpetrators, who then face prison sentences, high fines and an entry to their “security file” that usually leads to a denial of permission to work inside Israel or the settlements or to leave the country.

Report written by: Ellen
Date report written on: October 13th, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 4/2008

Summary: Israeli soldiers force olive harvesters in Kufr Qadum from their land
Date of incident: 13. October 2008
Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqiliya District
Witness/es: Farmers from Kufr Qadum and IWPS volunteers

Israeli soldiers continue to disrupt the olive harvest in the village of Kufr Qadum by harassing and evicting farmers from their land, falsely claiming they are working in closed military zones or areas that require prior coordination with the District Coordination Office (DCO) according to the Israeli authorities.
On Monday the 13th of October IWPS volunteers witnessed two such cases. In the first, soldiers for the third day in a row tried aggressively to force an extended family harvesting near the illegal settlement of Qedumin of their land (see IWPS Olive Harvest Report No 1/2008), claiming that they were in an area where they need a permit to harvest. However, they backed of, when the DCO clarified once more that this is not the case.
In the second case a family was forced of their land close to the recently evicted settlement out post Shvut Ami (Beit Im Eiman) and the newly erected outpost on a hill across the main road. At around 16.00 the soldiers approached the family and aggressively demanded them to leave at once, on the pretext of the area being a closed military zone. IWPS volunteers called the DCO, which clarified that there is no Closed Military Zone in that area and promised repeatedly to call the commander in charge of the soldiers. However, the soldiers told the international volunteers that they “do not care about the DCO”, claiming that the DCO had no authority in the area and continued to intimidate the family. As the family did not want to risk a confrontation that late in the day they left. The same family had been attacked by stone throwing settlers the previous two day (see IWPS Olive Harvest Report No 1/2000).

Report written by: Clara
Date report written on: October 13th, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 5/2008

Summary: Israeli soldiers and settlers disrupt the olive harvest in Kufr Qadu
Date of incident: 14. October 2008
Place: Kufr Qadum, Qalqiliya District
Witness/es: Farmers and Municipality members from Kufr Qadum, IWPS volunteers

Israeli soldiers and settlers continue to disrupt the olive harvest in the village of Kufr Qadum. All lands close to the illegal settlement Qedumim are declared Closed Military Zones for which the army is supposed to assign picking days. However dates were not given yet and last year only a small part of the areas were made accessible for a much to short time, resulting in a huge loss for the effected families.

In addition, as in previous days, the Israeli soldiers also prevented many farmers from picking their olives in areas that are not officially Closed Military Zones by simply claiming they are and intimidating the farmers till they leave.

IWPS and Israeli volunteers for the second day joined families harvesting olives on the slope of a hill occupied by the extremist Hilltop Youth settlers, across the main road from the evicted outpost Shvut Ami (Beit Im Eiman). When the Israeli volunteers arrived, they were hold by the settlement police for about 30 minutes, before the Israeli Dictrict Coordination Office (DCO) clarified that they and the farmers are allowed to pick in the area.

At 12.10 p.m. three settler youth dressed in white descended from the hill and started circling the family with the land highest on the slope. On request of the farmer, IWPS volunteers informed the DCO about the situation and Israeli soldiers arrived within minutes and were later joined by settlement police. However, instead of making the settlers leave, they greeted them with hand shakes. Thus encouraged, the settler youth claimed that the land belonged to them and the Palestinians and ‘leftists’ were trying to provoke them by stealing the olives from their land. In spite of the absurdity of this obvious lie, the soldiers tried to make the Palestinian family and their supporters leave, claiming once more that the area is a closed military zone. The farmers insisted on their right to be on their own land and continued harvesting, while soldiers and settlers watched them. One of the settler youth made a point of wandering around the between the harvesters and the soldiers did nothing to restrain him.

Eventually the police left with some of the soldiers to bring a Closed Military Zone order from the settlement, stating that only the Palestinian farmers are allowed to be on the land under guard of the army, while everyone else would have to leave. At around 2.15 p.m., after some negotiation, the Israeli and international supporters of the farmers complied with the order, but stayed within view till the family finished harvesting. Contrary to the order the settlers were merely made to return to the top of the hill and stayed on the scene the whole time.

Report written by: Clara
Date report written on: October 14th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 380

Summary: Child in nervous shock, one man arrested during army incursion in Deir Istiya
Date of incident: October 12, 2008
Time of incident: about 2 – 3 a.m.
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit District
Witness/es: family members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
Israeli military forces approached a family home in Deir Istiya by throwing sound bombs on the porch at 2 a.m. on October 12th. Family members report that the father opened the front door and saw soldiers whose faces were painted black shouting at him to get out of the house. He tried to tell them that there is a one month old child in the house, hoping they would calm down and tell him what the problem was. The soldiers forced their way in, and forced the parents and their three children to leave the house. Their 7 year old son, who was still asleep, started to cry when he woke up and saw the armed soldiers with blackened faces.

The soldiers said to the father that he is “a terrorist” and that there is “revolution” in the area and that they are going to “explode” the house. They were also calling the family names and yelling obscenities. After keeping the family out for about 10 minutes the soldiers realized that the family father was not the man they were looking for. They then forced the family to stay in one room with the lights turned off. The army then apparently left without having searched the house. A brother of the father, who lives in the neighborhood, approached the home during this time to investigate and was reportedly threatened with death by the soldiers.

About half an hour later the family realized that the 7 year old boy was unconscious. They took him to the village doctor who recommended that they take the boy to the hospital. He stayed unconscious for about 5 hours and was kept in hospital in Nablus for two days, as he was unable to speak or eat and kept vomiting. Doctors diagnosed a “nervous shock”. Even after coming home the child was having difficulty keeping food down. The boy will be kept under observation for one week and doctors expect full recovery to take at least half a year. The family plans to file a complaint with appropriate authorities.

After leaving the first house the soldiers threw sound bombs and stones at the neighbor’s house, breaking a window. The family reports that the soldiers forced their way into the house and forced the family including small children to immediately leave the house under threats and insults. They then handcuffed their brother in law, put a bag over his head and put him into the back of a military jeep. The family states that their brother in law usually lives in Assira Ash-Shamiliyya but came to help his wife’s family with the olive harvest. They say he has not been wanted before and that, as a land surveyor, he moved around the West Bank a lot and regularly crossed military checkpoints without unusual problems. The man is still in detention.

Report written by: Ellen, Razia
Edited by: Beth, Clara
Date report written on: October 26th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 381

Summary: Night time incursion and house searches in Az-Zawiyya village
Date of incident: October 19, 2008
Place: Az-Zawiyya, Salfit District
Witness/es: Residents of Az-Zawiyya, IWPS Harvest Delegation
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
According to reports of Az-Zawiyya village residents the Israeli Army entered village at around 22.30 p.m. on October the 19th 2008 with about 20 military vehicles. Jeeps mainly drove around in the old part of the village with blaring sirens. Several sound bombs were thrown and live rounds fired. Soldiers then announced a curfew via their loudspeakers.

Soldiers then reportedly proceeded to search several homes, frightening families and destroying household items in the process. About 50 men were forced out of their homes and made to stand with their hands up for approximately 15 minutes. Several report having been beaten with sticks. No arrests were made.

Soldiers speaking to Az-Zawiyya residents and IWPS Harvest volunteers claimed the whole military operation was conducted in reaction to a young man from the village allegedly throwing a stone or a molotov cocktail onto the nearby settler highway. This is a collective punishment which under the Fourth Geneva Convention constitutes a war crime.

Report written by: Guenter, Clara
Edited by: Kate
Date report written on: October 26th, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 7/2008

Summary: Army prevents Palestinian farmers from entering olive groves on official access day
Date of incident: October 30, 2008
Place: Marda, Salfit district
Witnesses: Farmers and olive-harvest volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved, but we will do our best to furnish you with the information you might require.

Farmers in Marda have been harvesting their olives since September, but are unable to pick from the trees that grow behind the Ari’el security fence. Although the land annexed by the neighbouring Israeli settlement belongs to Marda, the local farmers need a permit to access their land.

The mayor of Marda applied for and was granted permission to cross the fence by the District Coordinating Office (DCO) of Qalqiliya. Two weeks ago Palestinian and Israeli representatives of the DCO visited the site and designated an official date and gate for the Marda farmers to access their trees. Since then the army has installed a substantial razor-wire fence in front of the gate and the fence.

Today, on the assigned day for entry, 13 Palestinian olive pickers and four international volunteers climbed a steep track and arrived at the reinforced gate for a day’s harvesting. Four of the farmers present have trees inside a second ring of fence, which will not be accessible even with today’s permit.

These trees are 80 years old, predating the Ari’el settlement established in the Salfit district of the West Bank in 1981. Farmers have been prevented from tending these trees since the fence went up five years ago. Crops are sometimes stolen by the settlers or are left to spoil as the harvest season passes. One farmer with trees inside the second fence has given up this year and was not amongst the farmers assembled at the gate today.

At 7.45 a.m., a quarter of an hour after the official opening time, a Humvee arrived with four soldiers inside. They seem surprised to see international volunteers there and were evidently not expecting to have to open the gate. Five minutes later a jeep with three more soldiers drove up and there are more discussions. The soldiers were unaware that access had been permitted to farmers and were unable and unequipped to open the gate. They claimed not to know who to contact to confirm the agreement, so the Palestinians called the mayor and the DCO.

The olive pickers, who included a woman and children, had been waiting over an hour before the mayor and the Palestinian representative of the DCO arrived at the gate. They were surprised to see the razor wire, which was not there when they inspected the site two weeks previously. They spoke to the soldiers through the fence and confirmed that access has been officially granted. Unfortunately the razor wire would take two hours to move and the soldiers said they could not arrange this for another two days.

Volunteers called the DCO directly, but the line went dead with the mention of Marda, and no one was available to speak with when volunteers called back.

Despite the disappointment, broken promises and the loss of a day’s harvesting, the Palestinians stayed calm. Voices were never raised against the soldiers, and no one lost their temper. Farmers and volunteers walked back down the hill together, and could only try again on Sunday.

It is crucial to harvest the trees because untended land is confiscated by the Israeli state after a certain number of years. Farmers can’t fertilise or prune the trees in order to produce a decent yield, which lowers the value of their olive harvests. The harvest is important to this village, but if the costly and demoralising obstruction continues, yet another farmer in Marda may give up trying to reclaim his land next year.

Written by: Olive-harvest volunteers in Marda

Date of report: October 30, 2008

Olive Harvest Report No. 8/2008

Summary: Family repeatedly harassed by the Israeli army and exposed to settler violence; father beaten unconscious by soldiers and prevented from receiving aid for over an hour
Date of incident: November 4, 2008
Time of incident: 9:00 to 17:00
Place: Kafr Qaddum, Qalqiliya district
Witness/es: Family members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with the relevant information you might require.

On Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, a family of about 8 was harvesting its land on a slope of Jebel Mohammed north of Kafr Qaddum village, close to the eastern side of a caravan outpost of the Qedumim settlement, when they were approached by Israeli soldiers. Family members report that they already had been harassed the previous day by soldiers and settlers, who tried to take horses and a tractor from them. They say that on Tuesday at about 9 a.m. the soldiers returned in a Hummer jeep, demanding that the family should stay at least 300 meters away from the settler outpost. However, as its entire olive grove is within 300 meters of the outpost, the family refused, while a family working on the adjacent land gave up harvesting for the day and left back to the village.

The men and youth of the family were handcuffed for a while, before the soldiers left. Soldiers kept coming back to the family throughout the day, each time verbally abusing and threatening the family members and interrupting their work on the pretext of their tractor being illegal. A soldier reportedly said, he wanted to have the families horse for his children. The family also had stones thrown at them from a distance by a group of about 20 settlers without the soldiers intervening.

At about 15:30 the Qedumim settlement police arrived on the scene and, according to family members, confirmed that the tractor was not stolen and that the family had the necessary papers for it. However, after the police left, family members said the soldiers prevented the family from leaving with its tractor by blocking it with the Hummer and tried to detain the 54-year-old father, who was driving. When he tried to resist the obviously arbitrary arrest, a soldier beat him over the head with the butt of a rifle. The farmer fell to the ground unconscious and lay there for about an hour as the soldiers prevented them from approaching him. At about 17:00 other farmers coming home from their fields noticed the situation and called for help. A larger number of villagers then arrived on the scene and freed the injured man. He was brought to hospital in Qalqiliya, were he will stay overnight for observation.

Report written by: Clara
Edited by: Beth

Date report written on: November 4th, 2008

Human Rights Report No.382

Summary: Nightly Vandalism in Deir Istiya
Date of incident: November 25th – 26th, 2008
Time of incident: Unknown
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit District
Witness/es: Residents of Deir Istiya, IWPS and MPT volunteers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident:
During the night of November 25th to November 26th, 2008 three private vehicles, a tractor and an ambulance were vandalized by so far unknown persons.

According to the estimation of residents of Deir Istiya, the perpetrators must have entered the village through its main entrance after midnight.

In the morning of November 26th residents of the village found that three private vehicles, all parked along the main road of the village, had slashed tires. Two of the cars were additionally spray-painted with Hebrew letters reading “Death to the Arabs”. The same message and a star of David were reportedly also spray-painted on a parked ambulance further down the same road. Further two tires of a tractor were slashed, leaving damage amounting to 3000 NIS.

Residents suspect either settlers or Israeli army personnel to be responsible for the deed.

The village of Deir Istiya has recently been the target of increased army activity. Apart from daily and nightly patrols, army vehicles are frequently parked at the main entrance of the village and civilians entering or leaving Deir Istiya are being stopped and ordered to show their identification. Approximately two weeks ago the Israeli army imposed a curfew and reportedly threw sound bombs and tear gas on the streets.

Additionally parts of the lands of Deir Istiya are currently unofficially confiscated and used for the expansion of the settlement of Revava. The affected farmers have been repeatedly prevented by settler security to enter their land, which is slowly being turned into a construction site.

Report written by: Miriam
Edited by: Martha
Photos: Miriam
Date report written on: November 26th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 383

Summary: Nightly Vandalism in Deir Istiya, Haris and Kifl Haris
Date of incident: November 25th – 26th, 2008
Time of incident: Unknown
Place: Deir Istiya, Haris and Kifl Haris, Salfit District
Witness/es: Residents of Deir Istiya, Haris and Kifl Haris, IWPS and MPT volunteers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved – we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident: During the night of November 25-26, 2008 a number of private vehicles including a tractor, an ambulance, and a wall of a private home in three Salfit villages were vandalized by unknown persons. Residents said they suspected settlers or Israeli army personnel to be responsible.

Deir Istiya:
As indicated in Human Rights Report No.382 (http://iwps-pal.org/en/articles/article.php?id=1202), on the morning of November 26th, residents of the village found that three private vehicles, all parked along the main road of the village, had slashed tires. Two of the cars were additionally spray-painted with the words “Death to the Arabs” in Hebrew. The same message was spray-painted on a parked ambulance. Two tires of a tractor were also slashed, for estimated damages of 3,000 NIS.

Haris:
In Haris the wall of a private home was spray-painted with a five-pointed star and the name “Hebron” in Hebrew.
According to Haris residents, the tires of seven vehicles parked alongside the main road were slashed and a window was broken.

Kifl Haris:
In Kifl Haris, a village to the east of Haris and south of Deir Istiya, similar acts of vandalism were being reported.

Kifl Haris has been a particular target of settler vandalism before. The village’s Muslim cemetery has been desecrated, with tombstones broken, and graves vandalized and spray-painted with the words “Death to the Arabs” in Hebrew.

The Israeli army in the past has authorized the entry of the settlers into the cemetery and even imposed curfew on the village in order to allow large groups of worshippers to visit the Yeshua Ben Nun tomb, a Jewish holy site in the village. These visits have resulted in other acts of vandalism.

Report written by: Miriam
Edited by: Beth
Photos: Miriam and Judith
Date report written on: November 26th, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 384

Summary: Burqa (Nablus): Men forced to “fingerprint” blank Israeli letterhead during night-time army incursion; three residents injured in weekly demonstration
Date of incidents: November 8, 2008; 1 to 3 a.m. November 21, 2008; 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Place: Burqa, Nablus district
Witness/es: Family members; IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

Several men were forced at gunpoint by Israeli soldiers to fingerprint, by way of signing, blank Israeli letterhead during a series of night-time incursions into the Nablus village of Burqa earlier in this month, family members of the men reported. Also, at a demonstration against the re-establishment of the Homesh outpost on Burqa lands last Friday, three local males, including two teenagers, were injured when Israeli forces opened fire on demonstrators shortly after they had finished praying.

In the early hours of November 8, 2008, over a period of approximately two hours, 15 houses in Burqa were reportedly invaded by soldiers, and nine men forced to fingerprint blank letterhead, while families, including children, were forced outside their homes, and household articles were damaged by soldiers. Approximately 100 sound bombs were reportedly exploded, some shattering windows.

One woman told international volunteers that at approximately 1:15 a.m. eight soldiers invaded her home through a small shop attached to the rear. They yelled for an older man, who was not in the house. The woman reported that soldiers then took her husband, who is 38 years of age, outside to a jeep, placed a gun to his head and tried to force him to sign (by way of fingerprinting) blank letterhead with two Hebrew words imprinted at the top. When the man refused, his wife said, they brought him back inside the house and placed a gun to her head as well. The man then fingerprinted the letterhead. The couple were alone in the house at the time of the incursion; the home was also ransacked and a picture damaged. The soldiers were at the house for three quarters of an hour, the woman said.

Across the street, another woman reported that four soldiers arrived at her house at around 2 a.m. Two adults and five children were in the home at the time. After knocking on the front door, soldiers threw a sound bomb, waking the children. On entering the home they ransacked it and broke items, including valuables, the woman said. The soldiers demanded her husband show his identification, but did not threaten him with a gun. However, outside his home they beat him and likewise forced him to fingerprint the blank letterhead. The woman estimated soldiers were at her house for half an hour.

At another home on the same street, 1,000 shekels were reportedly stolen by soldiers during the same raid, neighbours said. In that home, too, the man was forced to fingerprint a piece of letterhead.

Two teenagers and an older man injured at demonstration

On Friday, November 21st, approximately 40 IDF soldiers gathered on the hilltop outside Burqa near the site of a regular demonstration against the reestablishment of the Homesh Israeli outpost. Demonstrators were prevented from progressing further up the hill toward Homesh by coiled razor wire which blocked the road. Two Israeli families have reportedly recently moved back to Homesh, an outpost illegal by Israeli standards which locals say had been evacuated and demolished two years earlier.

Following speeches, up to 100 demonstrators sat down in the road behind the razor wire, after which the local men prayed. Shortly after they finished, soldiers began to lob tear-gas canisters and shoot at the demonstrators. One young man, aged 18, who was about 20 metres from the soldiers, was hit four times: by rubber bullets in the back, hand and face, and by a tear-gas canister which burned the skin on his shoulder. A 14-year-old was injured when he fell, and a 48-year-old man was hurt as well.

Settlers have been accused recently of burning trees in Burqa, and of killing the five or six sheep belonging to an old woman in the village.

Report written by: Beth
Report edited by: Judith
Date report written on: November 27, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 385

Summary: Two teenagers arrested during night-time raid on Salfit village
Date of incident: November 27, 2008
Time: 1 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Place: Haris, Salfit
Witness/es: Family members
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

Two teenaged boys were arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning in Haris, Salfit following an army incursion into the village on Wednesday.

Late Wednesday afternoon four military vehicles entered the village and drove back and forth for approximately an hour and a half, leaving shortly after 6 p.m. Several boys responded by throwing stones at the vehicles.

Later that night the army came back and arrested two boys from the village. An aunt of the older boy, a 17-year-old student, said Israeli soldiers started to throw dirt through the boy’s father’s bedroom window at about 1 a.m. Two adults and four children, including the arrested teenager, were in the home at the time. The aunt said the family had never been visited by the army before, and she was reluctant to open the door. Eventually she did, and said that soldiers took her brother and her nephew outside the house for questioning, demanding their identification. The 17-year-old was taken away in handcuffs and a blindfold, she said.

The second boy, aged 14 years, was taken from a nearby home. Soldiers arrived at the house around 2 a.m. and stayed for an hour, the boy’s parents reported. Several army vehicles were present, and although soldiers did not enter the house they reportedly pelted the door and windows with rocks. The family of nine – two adults and seven children, ranging in age from two to 14 years – were eventually forced from their home. The mother of the family, who is six months’ pregnant, said that soldiers pushed her. Another four soldiers restrained her husband, she reported, while two more soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded their eldest son (age 14) and took him away.

The father of the 17-year-old boy reported that his son was returned to the family home from Ari’el police station at around 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

An Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson in the Humanitarian office told IWPS that the 14-year-old boy had likewise been taken to Ari’el police station, and then to the IDF base at Huwwara, Nablus district, where he was released because he is a minor. However, two other organizations (Defence for Children International and the Palestinian Prisoners Club) determined that the boy had been taken from Huwwara to Salem prison in Israel. On November 30th he appeared before a military court, charged with throwing stones, and was refused bail. His lawyer (from Defence for Children International) said he would appeal the denial of bail; the boy’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 11, 2009.

Report written by: Beth
Report edited by: Judith and Miriam
Date report written on: November 28, 2008 (updated December 1, 2008)

Human Rights Report No. 386

Summary: Israeli settlers vandalize cars and spray paint religiously offensive slogans on Mosques in five Qalqilya villages and towns
Date of incident: December 4th, 2008
Places: Azzun, Immatin Jinsafut, Kafr Laqif and An-Nabi Elias
Witness/es: Residents
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

In the night from Wednesday the 3rd to Thursday the 4th of December Israeli settlers entered five Palestinian villages and towns in the Qalqilya district to vandalize cars and spray racist and religiously offensive messages on mosques.

In Azzun residents report that the tires of five cars were slashed and the same cars, a fire emergency truck and the mosque were spray painted with stars of David and slogans like “Death to the Arabs”. Other slogans were referring to Hebron and threatened to turn Azzun into another Hebron. Residents say this happened in spite of the Israeli army being present that night in the town.

In Immatin two cars had their tires slashed, windows broken and stars of David sprayed on the front lids.

In Jinsafut, An-Nabi Elias and Kafr Laqif mosques were sprayed with slogans like “Mohammed is a pig”, “Death to the Arabs” and “Greetings from Hebron”. In Kafr Laqif two cars had there tires slashed.

In none of the incidents residents saw the perpetrators; however the slogans indicate that they were committed by radical settlers.

Report written by: Clara
Date report written on: 4. December, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 387

Summary: Widespread settler attacks on Palestinians traveling in the West Bank
Date of incidents: December 4th, 2008
Places: Roads 55 and 60, Huwwaa Checkpoint, main road between Deir Istiya and Haris
Witness/es: Palestinian passengers, IWPS volunteers
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incidents:

In reaction to the eviction of settlers from an occupied house in Hebron, extremist Israeli settlers in the northern West Bank systematically attacked Palestinians traveling on the main roads in Ramallah, Nablus, Salfit and Qalqiliya areas. Groups of settlers gathered in many places along the main roads, throwing stones at Palestinian cars or stopping them and forcing them to turn around. Palestinians reported that the Israeli army, rather than effectively bringing the settlers under control, blocked several main roads for Palestinian traffic. In several cases soldiers present did not intervene to protect Palestinians from settlers attacking.

A woman from Haris reported that the Ramallah-Tulkarem bus she was traveling on was stopped by the Israeli army at about 3.00 p.m. close to Tormus’ayya village / Shilo settlement on Road 60. Quickly more then 100 Palestinian cars were lining up. Settlers approached with rocks, threatening the drivers to turn around. When the bus driver refused, about 8 settlers began throwing stones at it, breaking several windows. None of the passengers were injured, but especially the children were very scared. The Israeli soldiers on the scene did not intervene to stop the settlers. The woman believes that other cars lining up were also attacked. Eventually the bus was able to leave on a back road, but was again stopped by Israeli soldiers at the Ma’ale Levona Junction. Soldiers on the scene said Palestinians could not pass as settlers were throwing rocks further down the road. A large group of settlers, including women, then tried to attack the hold up Palestinians, but were prevent from doing so by the soldiers.

At about 3.30 p.m. settlers stopped all Palestinian cars coming from Qalqiliya direction at the Kafr Laqif Junction of Road 55, close to Qarne Shomron Settlement, threw stones at them and ordered the drivers to turn around. After a while Israeli Police arrived to the scene and enabled the Palestinians to leave. The road was then closed to Palestinian traffic for several hours, while Israeli army, police and settlers stayed on the scene. Palestinian passengers reported to IWPS that, at least while they were present the Israeli police and army did not attempt to arrest any of the settlers.

The army also blocked Road 55 for Palestinian traffic between Funduq and Jit, forcing shops along the main road in Funuq to close and telling people to stay inside in case settlers came. Residents of Burin report that they were trying to find a way home when they were stopped and attacked in their car by settlers close to Qedumim settlement. A woman was lightly injured on her arm by a stone and the windshield was broken. Israeli soldiers were present at the scene and stood by during the attack without interfering. However, when the driver tried to drive on to escape, they stopped the car and detained the driver. He was then punched and kicked by three soldiers for about 15 minutes, before he was allowed to leave with his passengers. Reportedly another Palestinian man has been taken to hospital in Qalqilya after his car was attacked by settlers close to al-Funduq, though IWPS has so far been unable to confirm this incident. At the time of writing this report this part of the road is still blocked.

At about 5.20 p.m. an IWPS volunteer witnessed the Israeli army holding up several vans with Palestinian workers on their way home at a flying checkpoint at the entrance to Haris village in Salfit district, checking their ID cards and permits to work inside the settlements. The workers stated they had been hold for more then half an hour, before they eventually got their ID cards and permits back and were able to continue their way. At about 5.40 p.m. the IWPS volunteer received a call that there were problems at the checkpoint again and upon arrival found the soldiers pointing their guns at a Palestinian van with a broken windshield. One of the two men driving in the van reported that a stone had been thrown at them by a settler from a car driving in the opposite direction on the main road between Deir Istiya and Haris. The van was allowed to leave shortly after the IWPS volunteer arrived. The army later blocked the road for Palestinian traffic for several hours.

Students from Haris coming back from An-Najah University in Nablus reported that a large number of settlers gathered at Huwwara checkpoint, attacking Palestinians and preventing them from leaving, while Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint hardly intervened to stop them. Many students and other Palestinians had to turn around and leave Nablus through Beit Iba checkpoint at the other side of the city.

Report written by: Clara
Date report written on: 5. December, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 388

Summary: Settlers burn olive groves in Immatin
Date of incident: December 5th, 2008
Time: about 2-4 p.m.
Place: Immatin, Qalqiliya District
Witness/es: Farmers from Immatin
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incident:

At about 2 p.m. on Friday, December 5, 2008, farmers in Immatin, a village in Qalqiliya, noticed a fire had broken out in olive groves several kilometres south of the village. The farmers estimate that the fire spread over an area of 100-150 dunums (1 dunum = 1,000 square meters) before Palestinian firefighters were able to arrive and put it out.

An estimated 150 to 200 olive, almond and fig trees were affected by the fire. While the almond and fig trees were destroyed, most of the olive trees are likely to survive. Farmers checking the damage to their groves surmised that the fire was likely to have been started in two places.

As there was widespread settler violence against Palestinians in the area as well as open calls for a week of “retaliations” after the eviction of extremist settlers from an occupied house in Hebron yesterday, farmers from Immatin believe the fire was set by settlers. They also report that settlers from the Immanu’el settlement and Havad Gilad outpost frequently come to the area on horses, and at about 4 p.m. today five settlers were spotted in the valley beside the groves, moving away from the area towards Immanu’el.

Report written by: Clara
Edited by: Beth
Date report written on: December 5, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 389

Summary: Settlers vandalize home and other property in Ramallah village, burn olive trees
Date of incident: December 5th, 2008
Time: Midnight
Place: Turmus’ayya, Ramallah district
Witness/es: Homeowner, family members, village residents
Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incidents:

At about midnight on Friday, December 5, 2008, settlers — presumably from the neighbouring settlement of Shilo — attacked a family home in Turmus’ayya, a village in Ramallah governorate, breaking windows and damaging a door before screams from the homeowner frightened them away.

Eight people were at home in two adjacent houses: five adults and three children (a six-month-old baby, and two girls, aged 16 and 17 years). Four settlers came from the settler road about 100m above the house that is bypassing the village. Two of them stayed at a distance while the two other threw about 14 rocks at the sunroom of the house and pulled at the curtains inside tearing them apart. The family members feared they were attempting to break into the house and possibly set fire to it.

The homeowner said the attack lasted not much more than five minutes. Israeli soldiers in a jeep were present on the road at the time of the attack but did not interfere. However, about 10 minutes after the attack they drove into Turmus’ayya and circled the village for awhile.

Olive trees belonging to residents of the village were also burnt at about 6 p.m. Thursday evening. The owners have so far been unable to reach the area to assess the damage, as it is close to Shilo Settlement and they are not able to go there with out coordination with the Israeli army.

Earlier, on the night of Monday the 1st to Tuesday the 2nd of December, there was vandalism in Turmus’ayya as in other villages in the West Bank. Similar to those other attacks, a mosque had been spray-painted with the Star of David and insults to Islam (in Hebrew, the words “Hebron”, and then below, “Mohammed is a pig”). At least two cars were vandalized, their tires slashed and a star spray-painted on one.

Militant settlers openly called for a week of retaliations on Thursday after the eviction of settlers from an occupied house in Hebron. Turmus’ayya villagers report that Shilo is a religious settlement, established in 1976, whose settlers cause problems for farmers each year during the olive harvest. On October 15th, 2008, settlers attacked three cars in the olive groves, and three years earlier other cars were attacked on the same date. To date, Turmus’ayya residents have lost at least 2,000 dumdums of land to Shilo settlement and Israeli road construction, according to a village council member.

Report written by: Beth
Edited by: Clara
Date report written on: December 6, 2008

Human Rights Report No. 390

Summary: Israeli army marks Eid al Adha with village incursions, detentions
Dates of incidents: December 8-10, 2008
Places: Marda and Haris (Salfit); Azzun (Qalqiliya)

Witness/es: Villagers

Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved. However, we will do our best to furnish you with the information you may require, on request.

Description of Incidents:

The three-day Muslim festival of Eid al Adha was marked by what seemed an unusually high amount of village incursions and detention of youth by the Israeli Defence Forces in the central West Bank.

On the first day, December 8th, the Israeli army blocked the entrance to the village of Marda for at least an hour, and also entered at around 7 p.m. of one family celebration day in Palestine “Eid al Adha” in. One resident reported that soldiers in three jeeps came to his house, banged on the door and tried to enter, but he and his family – a wife and eight children – were not at home. However, when his wife, her brother, the two youngest children (a four-year-old girl and seven-year-old boy) and a young cousin tried to return to the house, soldiers reportedly threw sound bombs at them. The soldiers also reportedly shouted at the wife’s brother that they would shoot him if he came closer. The children began to cry, and the wife gathered them and hurried them toward her mother-in-law’s house. Another sound bomb was thrown as they were retreating, the wife reported. Soldiers also stopped outside her mother-in-law’s house but did not attempt to enter.

Soldiers were successful in entering another house in Marda; after seeing a young boy looking at them through a window they first used a high-pitched sound to force the family out, then kicked the door open. Three soldiers reportedly entered the first floor of the home, which houses two families comprising four adults and seven children. They were prevented by a male adult from reaching the second floor, where children were sleeping. Residents said the soldiers demanded to know about boys throwing stones, and reportedly pointed guns at the children, who also began to cry. The soldiers did not stay in the house more than a few minutes, family members said.

Late that morning in Azzun, a town in neighbouring Qalqiliya district, the army threw sound bombs and entered one house not far from the entrance. The house had been occupied by the military a half-dozen times in the last two years, and for many hours at a time. This time soldiers demanded to know why one of the sons, in his teens, had run away from soldiers outside. Although they gained access to the house the father prevented them from entering the family’s apartment on the first floor, and after searching elsewhere they left after about 10 minutes. The father said he was sure that if he had not been present in the home at the time, and had not been Hebrew-speaking, the soldiers would have taken his son.

On December 10th, the third day of Eid , army jeeps entered Haris, in the Salfit district, several times during the day. At least one jeep was stationed at the entrance to the village and for at least an hour villagers were prevented from entering or leaving. Jeeps also drove through the town and past its three schools. Jeeps regularly come into the village and drive past the schools, provoking boys to throw stones.

At about 5 p.m. soldiers picked up one boy, aged 13, and detained him for an hour in the jeep, driving him out of the village before bringing him back. The boy reported that the five soldiers in the vehicle blindfolded and handcuffed him, beat him (including on the head), and queried him about his father (unemployed for two years, according to his wife), and about the boys throwing stones. The following day the boy reported his right leg still hurt where he had been kicked, and a finger tip hurt where it had been slammed. There was also a cut on his right hand and evidence of handcuffs around his wrists. He said he was also afraid.

Report written by: Beth and Nikola
Edited by: Nikola and Beth
Date report written: December 8-13, 2008

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