HRR 2009

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Human Rights Report No. 391

Summary: Two young men killed by Israelis in Salfit and Qalqiliya districts
Dates of incidents: January 8th & 13th, 2009
Place: Abu Dis; Azzun
Witness/es: local residents and friends

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:

A 16-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man, from the Qalqiliya and Salfit districts respectively, were killed in unrelated incidents in January during Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip.

On January 8th, Ibrahim Abdulkarim Shamlawi, a student at Al-Quds University in Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, but from the village of Haris in the Salfit governorate, was shot dead by soldiers at an Israeli gas station near the Ma’ale Adummim settlement. Mr. Shamlawi was reportedly very angry about the war on Gaza and went out to the gas station, with no identification but with 100 shekels in his pocket and a bottle full of benzene. He proceeded to pour the benzene on the floor of the gas station and then tried to light it. Palestinian employees of the gas station tried to stop him, and succeeded, but soldiers arriving in response the incident shot him dead rather than arresting him, said the deputy governor of Salfit.

Because Mr. Shamlawi was not carrying ID, it took three to four days to identify his body, the deputy governor said. His father in Haris reported him missing after this period, and the Salfit governorate, which had information on the incident, contacted Israeli authorities, who brought photographs of the body to Haris for his father to identify. Following an autopsy performed at an Israeli medical centre, the body was returned to Haris on January 15th and buried the same day.

On the night of January 13th three teenaged boys from Azzun were arrested by the army, allegedly for throwing stones on Road 55, though a cousin of the dead boy claims he was helping a friend look for strayed sheep. After being arrested, the boys had their hands tied behind their backs. A settler on the scene – reportedly from Immanu’el settlement and the son of the former mayor – is said to have then beat to death one of the boys, Nasser Mustafa Daoud Audh, age 16, by hitting him repeatedly over the head with a blunt object. The other two boys were arrested and reportedly taken to the jail at the IDF base near Huwwara, Nablus district.

The cousin said Nasser’s body was taken to Qedumim settlement, where his father went to claim it the following day. He was reportedly asked to sign two forms, both in Hebrew. One was a consent form for organ removal, and the other was said to have been a form agreeing not to press charges against the settler, who was then freed. The father had apparently not understood the nature of the second form when he signed it, as he cannot read Hebrew and it was not explained to him.

Nasser’s body was returned to Azzun on January 15th for burial, following an autopsy and organ removal. However, the Israeli army, returning the body at around 5 p.m., reportedly opened fire with rubber bullets on boys near the entrance of the village who were said to have been throwing stones at the army vehicle. The army also reportedly lobbed tear-gas canisters, and seven boys were said to have been injured in the incident.

The family waited for several hours for Nasser’s body to be returned, as the army then took it away again following the incident. Just before 8 p.m. mourners were told the body would not be returned until the following morning, though it was finally returned to the family after 9 p.m. for the funeral.

Report written by: Beth
Date report written on: January 19, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 392

Summary: Army Incursion in Haris: Setting up a Flying Checkpoint and Roadblock
Dates of incidents: February 24th 2009
Place: Haris
Witness/es: local villagers and 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:

At 6:30pm IWPS was informed that the Israeli Defense Forces had entered Haris in five jeeps. A local villager said that IDF threw a sound bomb which landed in front of his house on the main street. Then eight soldiers came out from the jeep and surrounded himself and three other men who were seated around a fire outside of his house drinking coffee. One soldier abruptly kicked the fire into a neighboring field and announced a curfew ordering them to go into their house. One of the men was preparing to go home in his car. As he was getting into the car the soldiers opened the car door and ordered the driver and passenger, an 11-year-old boy, to go inside the house. The boy was clearly intimidated by the soldiers, shaking and wetting himself. We were also told that two other jeeps drove into Haris and dropped another sound bomb in the village centre. They then announced the curfew and ordered people to go inside their houses.

IWPS volunteers witnessed the IDF set up check point at the main entrance to Haris. The soldiers were preventing Haris residents from leaving the village and non-residents from coming into the village. Many of the Palestinians who needed to leave Haris for work in the nearby Burqan factory for night shift were not able to leave the village.

At 9:10pm a bulldozer on a trailer arrived at the entrance of Haris. The bulldozer made an earth mound at one of the entrances into Haris. Villagers were saying that the IDF was intending to uproot the olive trees alongside the main road to clear the land in order to prevent stone throwing from the village.

One of the soldiers said that the reason for the incursion was a Molotov cocktail which was thrown at a soldier in the centre of Haris which injured a fellow soldier burning his face. Later when IWPS volunteers confirmed the reason with the commander, he said the reason was stone throwing onto the main road.

Report written by: Meg and Maria

Human Rights Report No. 393

Summary: Soldiers Aggressively End Sit-In Protest and Arrest 5 Peace Activists
Dates of incidents: March 8th 2009
Place:
Wadia Rasha

Description of Incidents:

A group of 20 people made up of local villagers, International and Israeli peace activists gathered in the fields of Wadia Rasha to participate in a sit-in protest against the annexation of Palestinian land. The protest was held some distance away from where three bulldozers were clearing the ground for the erection of the future separation wall. The peaceful sit-in protest came to an end after 14 soldiers approached the protesters and decided to declare the fields a closed military zone.

A soldiers’ spokesperson announced a five minute deadline for the activists to leave the area or face arrest. Barely two minutes later, the soldiers aggressively handcuffed and arrested seven Israeli and International activists. Groups of four soldiers ganged around each activist they decided to arrest and IWPS volunteers witnessed two activists being thrown to the ground, beaten with the guns and kicked. One soldier also expressed hateful and racially charged comments. Other activists where pushed away from the site in order to allow for the continuation of the destruction of land and olive trees. A local villager suffered from a suspected heart attack and activists were prohibited from assisting him. The soldiers did not assist him either and the activists called for an ambulance. He was taken to the Qalqilya hospital and is reported to be recovering well.

Two Israeli activists and three international activists were detained and taken to Qedumim prison. The Israeli activists were later discharged while the three international activists remain in custody.

Report written by: Maria and Meg

Human Rights Report No. 394

Summary: Israeli army attacks peaceful protesters near Burin
Dates of incidents: Friday 13 March ’09
Place: Burin
Witness/es: Local villagers, IWPS volunteers and a number of international activists

Description of Incidents:

Between 70 and 100 villagers from Burin near Nablus, West Bank marched today to the hillside above the village bordering illegal Israeli settlement of Bracha intending to reach right up to the settlement to plant tress on their land. Purpose of the action was to reclaimed the land.
The villagers, accompanied by 11 of international peace activists including five IWPS volunteers, were met by a 18 strong unit of Israeli soldiers with more of them located on the surrounding hilltops.
Half way through to the planned destination, Israeli soldiers fired sound bombs and tear gas. March stopped briefly but re-organized themselves to advance to achieve the goal, that is to get to the settlement. As the local protestors tried to advance, with internationals in the front, the army went into an offensive without any provocation. They used significant physical violence and offensive and abusive language in order to push protesters back into the village.
A number of internationals were thrown to the ground, kicked, punched and hit with rifle butts and it is fortunate that nobody was seriously injured.
The army tried to prevent demonstrators and the media from recording the violence. The soldiers attacked an Arab TV cameraman while hurling at him racist abuse. In addition they confiscated two video cameras and one digital camera from international peace activists and another camera belonging to another international was broken by the soldiers.
This is the second week the villagers have been protesting against the illegal annexation of their land by Israeli settlers and against the apartheid fence near their village.
The organisers say that the villagers plan to continue the protests until justice is achieved and the land taken from them is reclaimed.
IWPS is concerned about the increasing use of violence by the Israeli Army during peaceful protests and frequent attempts to prevent reporting of those events by destroying and confiscating cameras and other equipment.

Report written by: Rada, Maria and Meg

Human Rights Report No. 395

Summary: Concerns about army provocation of Haris children

Dates of incidents: Saturday 21st March ’09
Place: Haris
Witness/es: Local villagers and IWPS volunteers

Description of Incidents:
On Saturday 20 March at around 11 o’clock the IWPS received a call from a Haris resident worried about a large number of army jeeps parked in front of the primary school in the centre of the village.

Two volunteers went to investigate and found four jeeps in front of the school with three soldiers armed with machine guns standing outside the school gate.

The volunteers approached the soldiers asking for the purpose of their visit but the soldiers refused to communicate and shortly afterwards the jeeps left.

Several residents from the houses near the school said that the jeeps belonged to the Shabak (Israeli Intelligence Service), that initially there were 12 of them and that very high ranking officers were present.

The IWPS has been aware for some time that army jeeps frequently parks in front of the same school, especially during the breaks and at the end of the school day. Residents told us that the army suspects that the children from this school throw stones at the settlers’ cars using a nearby highway built for the illegal settlements of Ari’el, Revava, Qiryat Netafim and Barqan.

Several parents told us that they worry that the presence and behavior of the soldiers might provoke children to throw stones at them which would lead to their arrest and a 3 months prison sentence.

‘It is almost certain that a child will throw a stone at the heavily armed soldiers parading in front of the school’, a parent told us.

Haris is a close knit community of about 2000 inhabitants and children are aware that only two weeks ago 4 boys age 13 to 17 were wrongly arrested in the night raids for the alleged stone throwing at the cars. All of them are now released but the 13-year old was left by the road several kilometers away from Haris and the 17 year old boy spent more that 10 days in detention before he was freed.

This latest army visit was highly unusual because it happened on Saturday, when all schools are closed and Israelis have a day off for Sabbath.

In addition, a villager who happened to be near the school when 12 jeeps arrived said that, because the school gate was locked the soldiers jumped over it and took pictures of each other showing victory signs.

Because we found the timing and the manner of the event intriguing we checked with another witness the detail of the events and they gave us exactly the same information.

It is worrying that soldiers would act in such a provocative manner toward the children and especially in front of senior officers.

The IWPS is concerned about the approach that the Israeli occupying forces take when attempting to detect and punish the stone throwing children. Because it can potentially have serious consequences for the well being and safety of the Haris children and their families and IWPS will raise those concerns with all relevant organizations and individuals.

Author: Rada and Erika

Human Rights Report No. 396

Summary: Army incursion in Haris, over 150 minors and youths arrested
Dates of incidents: Thursday 26th March 2009
Place: Haris
Witness/es: Local villagers and IWPS members

Description of Incidents:
A major military operation took place today in Haris between 2am and 5pm. Around 15 jeeps, 2 border police jeeps and vans belonging to Israeli Intelligence Shabak entered Haris and arrested around 150 people including large number of minors.

A number of people reported injury by the soldiers including several cases of beatings of small children and women. Soldiers also destroyed furniture, appliances, walls and various food products in at least 4 houses.

At 4:30pm most of the people who were arrested were released. At present IWPS is aware of 4 youths all aged 16 who have not been released and whose whereabouts is currently unknown. There are strong indications that more people were taken away and we are hoping to have more accurate figures soon.

At 2 am soldiers and jeeps entered Haris in a major military operation which lasted 15 hours. The soldiers raided most houses in Haris, arresting youths and interrogating them about their friends, family members and the layout of the houses. The IWPS has heard from many parents and adults that soldiers gave them a piece of paper with a number and photographed them holding this paper.

All those arrested were blindfolded, handcuffed and taken to the primary school in Haris. Here they were seated in the classrooms and in the playground and interrogated one by one by Shabak and the military. Those released were given a paper so that other soldiers would not re-arrest them as the arrests continued throughout the day.

The IWPS members witnessed several of the arrests and we have managed to secure photographic evidence and statements form a number of victims and their relatives.

IWPS also received a report of a man who suffered a back injury due to excessive use of force by the soldiers. The IWPS called for an ambulance which arrived shortly after but was denied entry into Haris by the soldiers, in spite of being urged by the IWPS and the villagers living near by. The reason given was that if a person was injured it would be army’s responsibility to take care of them and provide the ambulance. However, the Israeli ambulance parked nearby was not called by the soldiers to treat the injured man.

Two photojournalists who managed to enter Haris close to the primary school where shortly after escorted by the border police out of the village. In addition, a TV van and two other journalists were denied entry into Haris.

The army incursion finished around 4.30 and the villages fear that it might continue in the near future.

When questioned about the purpose of the incursion, IWPS members were told by the army that they were updating its database of information of Haris residents. Last Saturday 21st March there was another army incursion into Haris where army jeeps and Shabak vans parked in front of the primary school and took photos of the school.

IWPS is concerned about the current wave of arrests of residents of Haris and especially minors and youths. IWPS is also very concerned about the violent behavior of soldiers during the arrests and the use of primary school for detention and interrogation purposes. In addition the media access has repeatedly been denied and there is limited flow information including about the very serious human right abuses mentioned above

Report Written by Rada

Edited by Maria

Human Rights Report No. 397

Summary: Continuous army operations in Haris
Dates of incidents: Wednesday 1st April 2009
Place: Haris
Witness/es: Local villagers and IWPS volunteers

Description of Incidents:
On the night of Wednesday 1st April, shortly after 9 o’clock Haris villagers had yet another army incursion. An army jeep went around Haris and announced the curfew. Local villagers reported that they were violently ordered into their houses by around 10 soldiers who walked through the village on foot and retreated to the wilderness surrounding Hares.

IWPS volunteers went to the main street and saw 4 military jeeps and about a dozen soldiers, but it could safely be assumed that there was more army activity in other parts of Haris.

A local villager said that he believed that this is a part of the strategy to scare, intimidate and provoke Haris inhabitants, which army has intensified in the last couple of months.

On the morning of Thursday 2nd April 2009 it was unclear if the curfew was still in force or not. IWPS volunteers later contacted the DCL and found that the curfew was lifted at midnight but the army failed to inform the Haris villagers .

The village of Haris has been at the receiving end of constant ‘army attention’ and local villagers told IWPS volunteers that they are exhausted form the uncertainty about what the army is going to do next and from staying up till early hours the during frequent incursions.

As we have reported than, at the beginning of March the army blocked all but one road into the village. That is when the soldiers entered the IWPS flat for the first time ever, but fortunately left soon after without taking any further action.

Following that, we continued to receive almost daily reports about army driving to the village primary school during school hours. Haris parents were telling us about their worries that a child might see this as a provocation and throw a stone for which an automatic prison sentence of 3 months is given. Many parents said that they believed that that is exactly what army wanted to happen.

The army activities culminated with a massive raid which also involved the intelligence service (Shabak) and the police on Thursday 26 March. The operation lasted 16 hours and the army declared the village to be a ‘closed military zone’ and detained over 150 Harris man, vast majority of them minors. They were detained in the primary school which army used as an interrogation centre. They took four youths away and released one of them only couple of days ago. The other three young men aged 16 and 17 are still in detention, and the information we have is that they kept in a military prison near Nablus.

Army used violence on both detainees and villagers and have ransacked a number homes during this raid.

The villager who was badly beaten by the soldiers needed an ambulance but the soldiers denied the Palestinian Red Crescent Society medics access to the village. The IWPS visited him after the solders withdrew and we know that since than he repeatedly had to go to the hospital for his injuries.

We took photographs of the horrendous destruction done to contents of the 4 flats during the army search when the only person they detained was a man in his late twenties with learning difficulties.

We made all the information we gathered and the photos available to the specialist organizations such as B’Tselem and Hamoked who we involved to give further specialist support to the victims and their families.

Between mass arrests on the 26th and the last nights curfew there has been no respite for Haris residents. The army jeeps and other vehicles continued to drive around the village during the day and several nights ago the army entered the school around 10 at night and the villagers suspected another wave of arrests and interrogations, which fortunately did no happen.

It is difficult to make sense of what army has been doing in Haris. The official line is always that somebody threw stones at the cars using a motorway Israel build near the village to ensure access to a number of illegal settlements nearby.

Consequently villagers of Haris have to suffer a collective punishment and other serious abuses as those described above which need to be urgently addressed. {image 4}

Report written by: Rada
Edited by: Maria
Date report written on: 1st April 2009

Human Rights Report No.398

Summary: Sheikh Jarrah eviction notices expire tonight at midnight
Dates of incidents: Saturday 4st April 2009
Place: Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Jerusalem

Description of Incidents:
The last in the line of 21 day eviction notices issued by the Israeli courts to the 4 families living in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah is expiring tonight ( Saturday, 4 April) at midnight.

There is still a possibility that the evictions will be carried out within the remaining time and the Palestinian and international supporters of the 3 Hanoon families and the Ghawi family will stay with them until the threat of eviction is over.

Together with the Palestinians supporters, ISM and other internationals, the IWPS had a strong and consistent presence in Sheikh Jarrah from the very beginning of the anti-eviction solidarity action.

Over the period of two weeks two or three IWPS volunteers stayed overnight with the families threatened by eviction. We created a particular bond with one of the families and we continued to keep in touch with them on the days we were not able to stay with them due to the intensity of army and police operations in Haris, where IWPS is based.

All 4 families have already suffered years of stress, uncertainty and homelessness in this decades long dispute. In the eyes of Israeli legal system the dispute is over the ownership of the land their homes are build while for 4 families and their supporters, the evictions are yet another attempt to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from East Jerusalem to allow Israeli settlers to move in.

The story of the 3 Hanoon brothers is particularly poignant. They came from a refugee family who lost their home in 1948 when Israel was created. Their father was given accommodation they all live in today in 1956, when the oldest of three brothers was 9 years old.

When Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 the Israeli settlers claimed that the land Hanoon brothers’ house was build on belonged to them and that they bought it from the previous owners. The judge ruled in the settlers favor and Hanoon brothers were evicted in 2002.

The Hanoon’s lawyer discovered 2 years ago that the proof of ownership settlers submitted to the court was false and Hanoons moved back into their homes. The lawyer recently managed to get a document dating form 1890 from the Ottoman archives in Istanbul, stating that the land was never sold to the settlers.

As reported by the Israeli daily Haaretz this piece of evidence should not only reverse the eviction of Hanoon brothers but also all previous evictions based on the settlers’ evidence.

In November 2008 another Sheikh Jarrah family was evicted from their home. The father of the family died soon after and his wife Um-Kamel continues to protest against the eviction from the tent erected near her lost home. The tent has become a centre of community mobilization against the evictions of Palestinians with Um-Kamel as a symbol of their determination.

Currently there 3000 Palestinians living in 270 homes in East Jerusalem waiting to be evicted and their houses demolished and taken over by the Israeli occupiers.

The ordeal of Hanoon brothers and the fourth Ghawi family is not over but the evictions have attracted massive publicity including visits from a number of ambassadors and a formal notice by the American General Consul to the Israeli Mayor of Jerusalem that the new US administration was less tolerant to the practice of house demolition and evictions.

Report written by: Rada
Edited by: Maria
Date report written on: 4st April 2009

Human Rights Report No.399

Summary: Second day of Curfew in Haris
Dates of incidents: 15th April 2009
Place: Haris

Description of Incidents:
At 7am, an army jeep drove through the streets of Haris announcing a curfew.
IWPS volunteers where forbidden by soldiers to walk in the direction of the center of the village. IWPS volunteers contacted the Israeli DCO and were told that the curfew would last until 10 am in the morning with the reason given that “last evening children throwing stones on the road”. The curfew halted at 10am only to be reinstated at 8pm until 11pm.

The curfew was again repeated this morning between 6 and 10. At around 9 am this morning IWPS volunteers accompanied a young woman and her mother to an entrance of Haris in order for them to go to university. The soldiers refused them exit. At all entrances into Hairs soldiers were controlling ID’s and no person from Haris could leave Haris.

IWPS is calling for an end to the use of collective punishment which is a clear violation of human rights. Due to the curfew there has been no school and work for two days, no opportunity to go to hospital or for an ambulance to enter Haris.

Report written by: Monique
Edited by: Maria

Human Rights Report No.400

Summary: 14 houses with pending demolition orders in Haris
Dates of incidents: 23rd April 2009
Place: Haris

Description of Incidents:
There are 14 houses in Haris which have been given a house demolition order by the Israeli occupation authorities. The orders have been given on the basis that they were built in Area C without an Israeli permit.

The context of these demolition threats is the virtual impossibility for Palestinians to get a permit to build on their land in the so called Area C, which is under Israeli administration according to the Oslo Agreement. This has particularly severe effects in the Salfit District, where a large proportion of the undeveloped land is defined as Area C as a result of the 21 settlements and numerous settler roads being located in the area.

Given the pressure of population growth, and the impossibility of obtaining building permits for their own land, many families suffer from serious accommodation overcrowding and have no choice but to risk building without the permits.

Haris has a population of 3050 inhabitants. Whilst the centre of Haris is considered Area B, just a short distance away from the center is designated as Area C. Currently Area A covers an area of 550 dunams, which is 40% of its original size. Area B consists of 2850 dunams. About 8500 dunams were taken from Haris villagers by the occupation authorities without their consent or compensation and converted into roads and Illegal Israeli settlements.

The occupation’s worse effect on Haris has been creating unemployment and poverty. Traditionally many families depended on agriculture and on growing olive and almond trees, various spices and herbs. Many people also had a back garden where they grew vegetables.

Now the fields and olive grows have been taken by settlements and what remained become a no mans land because of the separation fences erected by the Israelis or the violence villagers experience when attempting to access their land, especially if it is near the settlement fence.

The occupation has affected the quality of all aspects of life in Haris. Because there is no land to build on ‘legally’, the center of Haris which considered area B is overpopulated and many families are squeezed into inadequate accommodation. Being able to build only ‘upwards’ creates problems with physical access for the elderly and disabled but also it creates problems with access to the natural light which many houses have. The lack of open spaces for threes, for children play areas and community activities is also an issue.

One of the residents who received a demolition order is Nasser Sultan who completed his house in 2008 and moved shortly after with his wife and seven children.

He started building the house in 2004 and Nasser’s family had to work for 15 years to save for the house and in addition he had to borrowing money from friends and relatives that the family still has to pay back. The house is calculated to cost 300,000 NIS.

The demolition order was left on the door of the house by the soldiers in October 2007, as the owner of the house was not present when they came. The order stated that the house would be demolished if the owner fails to present the necessary papers to legalize it to the Israeli Authorities. Nasser has taken the issue to court and the judge unfortunately passed the judgement, decreeing that his house was illegal and had to be demolished. Nasser has spent considerable amount of time and money to secure the papers proving his ownership of the land and the house from different Palestinian and Israeli institutions and to have a map of the house and its location in the village drawn up by a certified surveyor.

Before moving into the condemned house, Nasser lived in a rented a two room flat for his family, which then consisted of five children. With two new children joining the family between 2008 until now, these two rooms are no longer sufficient to meet the growing family needs.

Netham Sultan’s house was completed in 2008. He lives there with his wife and eight children. In December 2008, the Israeli army left a demolition order in front of his house. He contacted a lawyer and the judge ruled the house illegal. Netham has spent 100,000 NIS on the house which includes installing electricity and water systems.

Ahmed Sulayman Kulayb received a demolition order eight years ago. He currently lives in the house with six children, the eldest is four and the youngest one year eight months. He found the demolition order outside his house after returning home from work. The demolition order stated that the house was outside of the map of Haris and was too close to the main street. He started building the house in 1999 and it was completed in 2002 when the family moved in. The house is valued at 150,000 US dollars. The family has gone to court twice in 2001. The first time in Qedumim where they gave all papers of ownership of land and where they were told to go to court in Beit Il. At Beit Il his appeal was refused and the demolition order was confirmed. In 2003 the army returned to his house and told him that they would pull his house down. The media in Israel they reported that his house had been demolished when in fact none of this had happened.

Sami Saleh Shrajed Sultan received a demolition order on 29th November 2006. He currently lives in the house with nine children, the oldest age18 the youngest age three. He received the order by post and reason given for the demolition was that it was built in area C.

The house was started in 2004 and completed in 2007. The family started living in the house measuring 100 square metres in 2006 The house is located at the edge of the village and valued at 90,000 NIS .

The family has involved the lawyer and attended a hearing in Beit Il in 2006 and are still waiting for a decision by the court. Since they delivered the demolition order the army has not returned to their house.

Ram Ayman Ahman Dawoud received two demolition orders in June 2008 and in January 2009. 7 people live in the house. Himself and his wife together with five children the oldest being 20 and youngest one year old. The army gave the demolition order to Ram in person and they took photos of his house. The reason given on the demolition order was that the housed was not built in the centre of the village and was outside the map of village. The building started in May 2008 and was completed in January 2009 which was when the family started living in it. The size of the house is 170 square metres and it is valued at 350,000 NIS. It is located at the edge of Haris. They have engaged a lawyer but have not been to court. The lawyer is trying to postpone the date for as long as possible.

Five houses are currently awaiting the outcome of an appeal against house demolition orders, which took place earlier this year. These houses belong to the Sultan extended family. The first house was finished two years ago at the cost of 300,000 NIS and 12 people live in it.

The second house belongs to Omar Abu Baker and he lives in it with 13 other family members. It is calculated at costing 350,000 NIS. The third house belongs to Farid, who has since passed away but his family still lives there. The value of the house was estimated to be 300,000 NIS.

The fourth house belongs to Hassan Souf and it is still being built. His family, which consist of 15 members currently live in two small rooms in the centre of Haris. The house is calculated at costing 300,000 NIS.

The fifth house belongs to the Fuwad Souf Yusuf family. It consists of 13 people. The house was built 5 years ago and its estimated value is 400,000 NIS.

Building of Aiwan Ahmed’s house started in December 2008 and the work is still in progress. The family, which consists of four members with the youngest child being seven months old, is currently living in a small room measuring four by four metres. Aiwan received the demolition order in January 2009 and since then soldiers have returned to his house to take photos. The demolition order was left on the floor right outside the house in the process of being built. He does not have a lawyer.

Another four houses have also received a demolition order and have contacted a lawyer to act on their behalf. Until they receive the decision from the court, they do not want information on their house in question to be recorded.

Report written by: Maria
Edited by: Rada

Human Rights Report No. 404

Summary: Settlers attack Palestinian vehicle with rocks, wounding four, and set fire to land in Qalqiliya district
Date of incident: June 1st, 2009
Place: Near Jit, Far’ata and Immatin villages, Qalqiliya governorate, West Bank
Witnesses:
Palestinian workers; farmers

Description of Incidents:
On Monday, June 1st, settlers from the Havat Gilad settler outpost in the Qalqiliya district of the West Bank reportedly attacked a minibus transporting 17 Palestinians to their jobs in Israel, critically injuring one. The settlers later burned an estimated 100 dunams of Palestinian land, leaving scorched earth and trees.

At approximately 4:30 a.m. on Monday a busload of 17 Palestinian men, mostly young and all with Israeli work permits, was stopped on the road near the entrance to Qedumim settlement by an estimated 50 settlers, who proceeded to throw rocks at the vehicle. Four workers were injured, one critically, and he remains in hospital.

The workers said Israeli soldiers were just 50 metres away from the settlers at the time of the attack. However, they reported, the soldiers did nothing to stop the settlers, nor did they take subsequent action. One uninjured worker asked soldiers to call an ambulance, but, he reported, they refused and even threatened to shoot him if he did not leave the area, which they had declared a closed military zone.

At around midday the settlers proceeded to burn Palestinian farmland, estimated by Nasser Sedda, the mayor of Jit, to cover 100 dunams and belong to eleven local families. Some of the land was planted with olive trees and with wheat, and an estimated 100 trees were destroyed in the fire. The Israeli army prevented farmers from reaching their land after the fires were set, the mayor reported, and consequently they were not able to extinguish the flames until between 4 and 5 p.m., by which time the damage was extensive.

One farmer with land near the neighbouring village of Immatin said that during last autumn’s olive harvest settlers from Havat Gilad burnt trees on his land. Four dunams of land had also been taken from the 17 dunams he owns for the construction of the outpost, and olive trees destroyed.

Report written by: Beth
Report edited by: Maria
Date of report: June 3-6, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 405

Summary: Army invades Azzun, enters and searches four houses, arrests 16-year-old boy
Date of incident: Early morning hours of June 28, 2009
Place: Azzun, Qalqiliya district
Witnesses: Families living in invaded homes, parents of arrested boy

Description of Incidents:
At 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 28th, the village of Azzun in Qalqiliya governorate was invaded by 120 soldiers looking for a wanted teenager. After entering and ransacking three homes, they entered a fourth through the back door after throwing rocks at the door and adjacent window. There they found the youth for whom they were searching: a 16-year-old high-school student who was apprenticing with his father over the summer months as a carpenter. He was taken into custody by soldiers in his underwear and without shoes. The teen’s parents pleaded with soldiers that he be allowed to get dressed, but the soldiers assured the parents that there was no need as they would only take him for a minute or two and then return him. His family has not seen him since.

The youth’s parents did not know why he was arrested, but the family has faced a similar experience before. When their eldest son was 12, he was also taken by soldiers who said they would return him after a couple of minutes. Instead, he was imprisoned and released three years later. A second son was reportedly shot to death by soldiers beside Highway 55, which borders Azzun to the north, in March 2003 when he was with two friends. Soldiers (who did not deliver first aid) then left that son’s body outside the District Coordinating Office in Qalqiliya, and the army later claimed the youth had died after he fell and broke his neck.

Report written by: Wendy and Beth
Report edited by: Beth
Date of report: June 30, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 406

Summary: Army invades Azzun, arrests seven youth in night-time raid
Date of incident: Morning hours of July 14, 2009
Place: Azzun, Qalqiliya district
Witnesses: Families of arrested youth

Description of Incidents:
At approximately 1 a.m. on July 14th the village of Azzun in Qalqiliya governorate was invaded by Israeli soldiers, who over the course of three hours entered and searched several homes and arrested seven youth, ages 14 to 16.

Later that morning, at approximately 10 a.m., the army returned to Azzun and seized another youth, age 17, from off the street.

An Azzun resident reported that the army had been looking for another three youth whom they did not find; nor did they find a young man in his early twenties for whom they were also reportedly searching.

Of the seven youth arrested during the night-time raid, one was reported to be age 14, one age 15, and five age 16. To date, none of the eight youth have returned home and are believed to be held at the Israeli military installation near Huwwara, Nablus governorate.

Azzun has been the site of repeated night-time incursions by the Israeli army for many months now, characterized by house searches and the arrests of youth.

Report written by: Beth
Date of report: July 22, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 407

Summary: Settlers destroy olive grove in Burin, Nablus

Date of incident: September 28th 2009
Place: Burin, Nablus
Witnesses: Residents of Burin and international volunteers

Description of Incidents:
On the 28th of September around 25 settlers, presumably from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, attacked olive groves belonging to two farmers from the nearby village of Burin, Nablus region. 97 olive tress were cut down using chainsaws, early in the morning. The damage was discovered by the farmers at around midday, by which time the settlers had already left. Although many farmers in the region report a very poor olive crop this year, the destroyed trees appear to have produced a better than expected number of olives.

On the 29th September international volunteers from ISM, IWPS and MPT arrived to accompany the farmers to the area so they could attempt to retrieve the olives before they died. The army was already on the land by the time farmers arrived and were later joined by settler security.

After half an hour of picking the army ordered that the internationals left the area. Farmers were told that if the international presence continued, they and the farmers would be forced to leave, but that the farmers were free to continue if the international observers left the area. As a result the international observers withdrew to the village, remaining on standby in case of further problems.

The village of Burin is located in the west of Nablus between the two illegal Israel settlements of Har Bracha and Yitzhar. This small village has been subject to constant attacks by settlers with rocks and guns. No settlers have ever been arrested or prosecuted for these actions.

Report written by: Ellie
Edited by: Sam
Photos: Ellie

Human Rights Report No. 408

Summary: Arson on Kafr Qaddum and Immatin Land
Date of incident: Oct 11th 2009
Place: Kafr Qaddum/Immatin Qalqiliya
Witnesses: Residents of Kafr Qaddum and Immatin

Description of Incidents:
On October 11th at approximately 8:00 am, the fire brigade of Qalqiliya was notified of several fires on land belonging to the villages of Kafr Qaddum and Immatin, which are located outside of the Israeli settlement of Qedumim.

When trying to reach the site to extinguish the fire, the fire brigades were denied access to the road leading through part of the settlement. As a consequence the fire brigade, accompanied by people from the two villages, had to try and approach the fire from the other side, delaying any attempt to tackle the fire for approximately three or four hours. The fire was only finally brought under control at around 12:00 am, just before it reached the other side of the land near the main road leading to Nablus.

The fire damaged approximately 25 dunnums of Kafr Qaddum land, including around 160 trees and plants. The extent of the damage on Immatin land could not be assessed yet.

It has been suggested that the arson came as a response to the eviction of the outpost of “Mitzpe Ami”, just a few hours before. The outpost was located only a few hundred meters away from site.

In October 2008, 10 dunnums adjacent to this area and also belonging to Immatin, were burned

Report written by: Miriam
Edited by: Sam

Olive Harvest Report 1/2009

Summary: Israeli soldiers attempt to force Palestinian farmer from his land
Date of incident: Oct 14th 2009
Place: Kafr Qaddum
Witnesses: Farmer from Kafr Qaddum and IWPS volunteers

Article:
On the 14th of October 3 international women joined a farmer and his nephew by the olive harvest nearby the village Kafr Qaddum in the occupied West bank. On the way to his olive grove the farmer explained that it was the fist day he had the permission to go to his land. Although it is his property he’s only once a year and only for a very few days allowed to cultivate his trees and harvest his olives. It is very important to mention that land can be confiscated by the Israeli government if it’s not being cultivated for 3 years, for instance because there was no access to it.

{image1}2009 is not a good harvest year, because of the late winter and rain there are not so many olives as the year before. But when the group arrived on the field everyone was quite surprised. There was almost nothing to pick. After a short while two soldiers appeared and commanded the farmer to leave to another place further away from the outpost situated next to the olive grove. This outpost of the settlement Qedumim is an established and growing one. A discussion started and finally the farmer asked the internationals to intervene. The soldiers are always supposed to show a warrant in order to prove that their order is valid. But this soldiers hadn’t any. After contacting the DCO who confirmed the farmers statement the soldiers kept arguing that everyone has to leave “because this is Jewish land”. They also refused to call the DCO themselves. In the meantime other two soldiers showed up to strengthen the team. The farmer with his assistants still refused to go away. After another phone call the internationals achieved that someone from the DCO came to the olive grove to solve the problem. Finally the soldiers left.
{image2}Continuing the work the farmer discovered in the middle of his grove a little tree which was full of olives. That’s how a tree is supposed to look like. The farmer assumed that his olives were stolen by settlers.

Report written by: Ella
Edited by: Sam
Date of report: October 14th, 2009

Olive Harvest Report 2/2009

Summary: Olive harvesting inside an Israeli settlement
Date of incident: Oct 20th 2009
Place: Kafr Qaddum
Witnesses: Farmers family from Kafr Qaddum and IWPS volunteers

Description of Incidents:
On Tuesday, the 20th of October two IWPS volunteers accompanied a farmer family from Kafr Qaddum to their olive grove which is situated inside the illegal settlement Qeddumin. This settlement has been expanding in such a way, that it finally swallowed up the olive grove, which is surrounded by the fragmented parts of the settlement.
Half of the farmers’ land was squatted and finally confiscated by a settler, who set up a chicken farm on this spot. He fenced the farm with barbed wire and placed warning signs, reading “Danger!” This picture is completed by a number of chained dogs who guard both the farm and the settlement.

The family accompanied by two internationals had permission to harvest their olives for three days, October 20th being the second day. The Palestinian farmers are only able to access their olive groves for a few days of the year, if they are situated nearby or inside of a settlement. The olive picking was not easy because the settlers had turned the Palestinian olive grove into a waste dump, chucking all the garbage around the trees, including old furniture. Apart from settlers passing by in their cars and shouting at the farmers, the scene remained relatively quiet.

At approximately 1pm, however, a settler security guard suddenly showed up and started shouting at the family. He tried to threaten the farmers by demanding them very loudly to show their ID cards and to leave. After a short while a settler with a huge gun appeared. The farmers called the DCO who promised to ‘protect’ the farmers from settler attacks. The internationals also made some phone calls to check whether the security guard could prevent the olive picking in this area and to contact the Humanitarian Office of the IDF to report the situation.

The security guard approached the two internationals and started screaming at them, demanding of them to show their passports. The internationals refused to cooperate and instead clarified to him that they were not obliged to follow this orders. Due to the aggressive manner of the security guard the situation became more and more tense.

A few minutes later the Israeli DCO appeared and prompted the internationals to leave without showing them any documents to support their demands. Being worried that the farmers wouldn’t have been allowed to continue picking if the internationals had remained, the latter left the scenery to remain in the nearby area.

Report written by: Ellie and Ella
Edited by: Miri and Gaie
Date of report: October 20th, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 409

Summary: Arson in Haris
Date of incident: Oct 28th 2009
Place: Haris, district of Salfit
Witnesses: Residents of Haris and IWPS volunteers

Description of Incidents:
On October 28th at approximately 12:00 pm, IWPS received a phone call from a Haris resident, saying that there was a fire outside her home.
When IWPS volunteers arrived at her house, which is located right at the entrance of the village, they were faced with a big fire, stemming from a burning car which was parked only two metres away from the family home.

One of the family members reported that around 11:45 pm he had heard a car driving up to the house. When he looked out of the window he saw three people getting off the car and running away and getting into a car parked nearby with Israeli plates, and drove away. He reportedly heard them talking Hebrew. Minutes later he realised that the first car, parked in front of his family home, a black VW golf, (older model) without plates, was on fire.

Shortly after the volunteers reached the scene, two army jeeps arrived. Notwithstanding the proximity of the burning car to both the family home and another car, the soldiers made no attempt to douse the flames.

Ten minutes later two more jeeps arrived and a soldier took the fire extinguisher from his jeep and tried to put out the flames but they were too strong.

The police arrived and asked by-standers to go home.
At 12:40 a Palestinian fire engine arrived from Salfit. It had taken more than an hour to get to the fire. The owner of the home had tried to call the fire service from nearby Ariel settlement several times, but they refused to attend the fire. As opposed to the Salfit fire service, which, due to a blocked road has to take a huge detour through Tappuah Junction, the Ariel fire service would have been able to reach the village within 5-10 minutes.

Report written by: Ellie and Gaie
Edited by: Miriam
Photos: Ellie
Date of report: October 29th, 2009

Human Rights Report No. 410

Summary: Israeli military conduct night raids and arrest 3 minors in Deir Istiya
Date of incident(s): 26th November 2009
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit
Witness/es: Families of the young people arrested

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(s)

On 26th November 2009 between 1am and 2.30am three young minors, aged 16 years, were arrested by Israeli military forces in Dier Istiya, Salfit. The arrests were based on the accusation that the young men were involved in stone throwing. Two of the young men arrested are distantly related to each other, and all three of them are in the same class at their school.

Case 1
The youth has already undergone an Israeli court hearing (4th December 2009), and been sentenced to eighty days in prison, as well as NIS 1500 in fine. His family has been informed that he is currently been held at Megiddo military prison north of Tel Aviv. The youth’s sentence also includes 5 year probationary period when he is released. The family has had no contact with their son since the arrest, and can only communicate with him through the lawyer. They have since been given a copy of the court judgment which is in Hebrew.

IWPS volunteers spoke to the father of the youth, who recalls that no damage was done to their house. However their neighbor’s door was broken down by the Israeli military so they could surround the family’s house and the family were intimidated. The father says that at the time of the arrest the family were not given a reason for the arrest. The father recounts approximately eight jeeps being present on the night.

Case 2
The court hearing of the second youth detained on November 26 has been delayed till 16th December 2009. The arrest took place at approximately 1.30am. Approximately ten Israeli soldiers entered the house, while twelve surrounded the location at the time of the arrest. Though no damage was caused to the house, the young man was dragged out of his bed in his pyjamas and the rest of the family of 8 being intimidated and yelled at, with the soldiers behaviour terrifying the younger children, including a 4.5 year old child woken by the havoc created by the soldiers. At the time of his detention, the youth was not allowed to change his clothing and removed from the house wearing only his pyjamas and slippers.

Since his detention, the family has had not been able to have any contact with him. They have tried to pass on some clothing items through an organization but were unsuccessful.

The father recalls the Israeli soldiers behaving badly on the night. The family has been informed that the youth is also currently being held at Megiddo military prison.

Case 3
The third youth was arrested on November 26, between 1 – 2am. The father recalls approximately 20 – 30 Israeli soldiers either inside the house or surrounding it. There were seven family members in the house at the time, including the young mans grandmother. The father recalls no damage being done to the house. He recalls the Israeli soldiers allowing his son to pick up his shoes and jacket. They also didn’t handcuff him, and the father assumes this is because his son is of a smaller build so less intimidating for the Israeli soldiers.

The father believes that the accusation of stone throwing is incorrect, The family found the arrest particularly difficult as it happened the day before Eid ul Adha. They have not had any contact with their son either.

The youth’s Israeli court hearing has also been deferred to the 16th of December 2009. Case 2 and 3 are of the same family decent.

IWPS Response:
• Get an Arabic translated copy of the judgment document for the family
• Sharing this report with other relevant agencies within Palestine and in other parts of the world

Report written by: Mona
Report edited by: Kim
Date of report: 10.12.09

Human Rights Report No. 411

Summary: Expansion of sewage waste and illegal construction on Palestinian lands near Revava Settlement.
Date of incident(s): 23.12.09
Place: Deir Istiya
Witness/es: IWPS

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(s)

IWPS volunteers received a request to visit a Palestinian farmland site next to the Revava Settlement to observe and record the sewage damage to the Palestinian farmlands and its increased expansion over the last couple of years. IWPS volunteers were accompanied on site by one of the Palestinian farmland owners.

The farm owner advised us that the Settlers have been using the strategy of dumping their sewage waste on Palestinian lands since the 1990s. The sewage canal was first noticed in 1998, and has since been expanding. The farm owner is however deeply concerned about the expansion of the sewage canal since June this year.

The sewage waste causes damage to the Palestinian farmers lands in several ways. This includes:

* Trees on the land drying up or dying
* Sewage waste mixing with the natural spring water on the land
* Animals catching diseases from exposure to sewage waste
* The fruits that trees bear grow out to be bitter in taste making them impossible to sell e.g. fig trees

The farmer believes the sewage canal starts from Barqan Industrial Settlement, near Revava settlement.

In addition, to the expansion of the sewage problem, there was also noticeable construction taking place within the settlement area. According to the farmer, prior to Israel’s recent “settlement freeze”, five outpost housing units were located on the outskirt of the settlement. With the announcement of the “settlement freeze”, the number of outpost housing units had increased to 11. Two days prior to IWPS visit to the farmland, farmers from Dier Istiya noticed active construction taking place near the portable housing. Newly dug up land (approximately between 0.5 and 1 kilometer in length) was clearly noticeable at the time of IWPS’ visit to the area.

IWPS Response:
* Contacted Settlement Watch to inform them of the expansion of the sewage cancel and the construction activity.
* IWPS to send a copy of this report to the farm owner

Report written by: Mona
Report edited by: Kim
Date of report: 27.12.09

Human Rights Report No. 412

Summary: Settlers visit Kifl Haris for the Shrine of Yahosha’ Bin Noun

Date of incident(s): 26.12.09
Place: Kifl Haris
Witness/es: ISM and 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(s)
ISM received a request from the Mayor of Kifl Haris to be present in the village on the night of the 27th of December 2009. The Municipality had received news that religious Israeli settlers would be entering the village in mass for pilgrimage to the presumable shrine site of Yahosha’ Bin Noun. The people of Kifl Haris contest that the shrine is in fact that of Yahosha’ Bin Noun.

In previous years the pilgrimage has been attended by approximately a 1000 illegal Settlers, accompanied by a large Israeli military force. In order to facilitate the pilgrimages, the Israeli military would place the entire village under curfew for up to 12 hours from sunset to sunrise the following day. The Settlers presence in the village in the past has resulted in the desecration of a Muslim graveyard and shrine sites, as well as vandalism of village property; including burnt cars; the random breaking windows of Palestinian homes and racist graffiti on shops, cars and the shrine sites. . The pictures of graffiti taken of the shrine site included the Nazi symbol and the racist Kahanist slogan utilised by the outlawed Kach party, “Kahane was right”.

The people of Kifl Haris claim that there is no regularity to when this visit can take place. IWPS and ISM volunteers were informed that the only indicator the village received that the illegal Settlers will be coming into the village is through the increase military presence around their village.

In response to a request by the village leadership, three internationals remained over night in the village. They were joined by two independent media representatives from Ireland and America. The military had closed of the main entrances to the village by 11am, and were not allowing anyone except the residents of Kifl Haris in for the day.

Prominent politicians like Mustafa Barghouti attended the demonstration organized by the village before the expected arrival of the Settlers. Approximately 200 people from the village were a part of the demonstration which included speeches by local politicians. All Internationals present with approximately 20 residents stayed up till 4am waiting the arrival of the Settlers in the main centre of the village.

The DCO had informed the Municipality that the visit by the Settlers had been cancelled around 8pm on the 26th of December 2009. However, due to the army presence at the village entrance internationals remained in the village to monitor the army presence, as well as to provide a presence should the illegal Settlers arrive later in the night. Throughout the course of the night, the Israeli military drove through the village once, making their presence known.

IWPS Response:
Followed up with the village the next day to check if there was any hint of Settlers.*

Report written by: Mona
Report edited by: Kim
Date of report: 01.01.10

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