HRR 2010

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note: in 2010 we had technical problems which made proper human rights reporting difficult. For more information on IWPS activities in the Palestine during 2010 please see wordsfrompalestine.org

Human Rights Report No. 413

Human Rights Summary: Settlers illegal attempt to occupy land owned by Qarawat Bani Hasan and Deir Istiya

Date of incident(s): 01.01.2010
Place: Qarawat Bani Hasan

Witness/es: 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)

On 31st December 2009 IWPS received a call from the Mayor of Qarawat Bani Hasan to participate in a demonstration in solidarity with the residents of their village. The non violent, peaceful demonstration organized by the Municipality took place on January 1 2009, and was in response to increase settler activity in the area.

The Mayor of Qarawat Bani Hasan reported that over the period of the last month armed Israeli Settlers and Israeli military from the illegal outpost of Havot Yair had been harassing and attacking farmers and shepherds who work regularly on land approximately a kilometer from the village centre. The land in the region in question is jointly owned by the villages of Qarawat Bani Hasan and Deir Istyia and hosts an ancient fresh water spring which is regularly utalised by farmers and shepherds from both villages. The Mayor also informed IWPS volunteers that the area is often visited by children from Qarawat Bani Hasan, who have also faced physical abuse by armed Settlers from Havot Yair.

The illegal Settler outpost of Havot Yair is an off shoot of the illegal Israeli colony of Yaqir and was first established in 1999, only to be later evacuated and re-established in 2001. The illegal outpost is located on a hill top, which is one – two kilometers from the valley in which the ancient spring is located.

Seven days ago, villagers notified the Mayor of Qarawat Bani Hasan that the illegal Settlers had begun carrying out significant construction work in the spring area. This included the construction of a road and the digging of additional wells and cisterns (all of which were visible when IWPS visited the area). Villagers reported that the work carried out by the illegal settlers had taken place during the night.

The Mayor informed IWPS volunteers that on December 31st he visited the spring area in order to ascertain what Settler activity was taking place, and to peacefully ask the Settlers to cease illegal construction on his village’s land. According to the Mayor, the illegal Settler he spoke to refused to cease construction and stated that the land was supposedly not being used by the village of Qarawat Bani Hasan and that he (the Settler) was entitled to act on the Ottoman Law, utilized by the Israeli state, to claim “unused” Palestinian land as “state land”.

In response to the illegal Settler activity of their land, the residents of Qarawat Bani Hasan, decided to hold a demonstration in order to re-assert their ownership of the land. Approximately 100 residents of Qarawat Bani Hasan including children, were joined at the rally by the Assistant District Governor of the Salfit region; the Mayor of Deir Istyia; village activists from Deir Istyia, Hares and Marda; and volunteers from the International Women’s Peace Service.

The strong rally marched from the village centre to the spring valley region. The rally was accompanied by a “bagger” (bulldozer/excavator machinery) organised by the Municipality, with the aim of reclaiming and rehabilitating the land in response to the Settler construction activity. Upon reaching the valley and spring area, a noisy but peaceful demonstration ensued, with the bagger clearing a road block erected by the illegal Settlers and refilling the large cistern/well chamber dug up by the Settlers.

Over the coming weeks, the residents of Qarawat Bani Hasan hope to continue work on the rehabilitation of spring valley area and to carry out of range of non-violent peace programs to re-assert their ownership of the land.

IWPS Response:
* To continue contact with the Qarawat Bani Hasan Municipality and to assist in non – violent accompaniment of village residents, farmers and shepherds.

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

Human Rights Report No. 414

Human Rights Summary: Illegal Settlers and Israeli military attack Palestinian non-violent demonstration against settlement expansion

Date of incident(s): 08.01.2010
Place: An Nabi Saleh
Witness/es: 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)

On January 8, villagers from the Palestinian village of An Nabi Saleh (population approx 500), located in the north of the Ramallah district, held its third demonstration in three weeks against creeping settlement expansion and land confiscation by the illegal Israeli settlement of Hallamish (also known as Neve Tzuf). According to the residents of the village, since the settlement was established illegally on land belonging to An Nabi Saleh in 1977, there have been repeated attempts to expand the settlement. In 2009, the village successfully challenged, in the Israeli courts, the expansion of the settlement fence to land immediately alongside settler highway 465. In the past month, however, illegal Settlers residing in Hallamish colony have attempted to re-annex the land alongside the highway, which now divides An Nabi Saleh’s land. In this period, the Settlers have proceeded to build a shelter structure for the purpose of a memorial, on the land, which includes a fresh water spring used by An Nabi Saleh farmers and shepherds.

In response to the attempts by the Hallamish Settlers to re-annex the land, An Nabi Saleh residents commenced non-violent demonstrations and actions to oppose the settlement expansion in December 2009. Prior to the demonstration on 8th of January, actions were also held on 1 January 2010 and 26 December 2009. These demonstrations included the replanting of olive trees in the area annexed by the illegal settlers.

Around 120 residents of An Nabi Saleh were joined by Israeli anti-occupation activists and internationals from the International Women’s Peace Service and the International Solidarity Movement in a non-violent demonstration, which marched to the land which the Hallamish Settlers have attempted to re-annex. During the course of the demonstration, the residents of An Nabi Saleh successfully blockaded 465, the illegal Settler highway, for more than two hours. Mid-demonstration, one section of the non-violent demonstration also broke off from the highway and successful reached the land re-annexed by Hallamish, tearing down the illegally built Settler structure.

Both sections of the non-violent demonstration, however, were met with force by the Israeli military, who deployed more than 17 jeeps and at least two dozen soldiers to the area. During the course of the two hour demonstration, the Israeli military proceeded to fire up to 100 canisters of teargas, as well as firing rubber steel coated bullets and live ammunition at the un-armed demonstrators. More than 20 residents of the village were injured as a result, including three who were hospitalized. Those hospitalized, included two people injured by rubber bullets, and one teenage boy who received a head injury when he was struck in the head with a tear gas canister.

Many of the non-violent demonstrators were also injured by rocks which were thrown by illegal Settlers from Hallamish from the hillside below the Settlement and above the demonstration. One IWPS volunteer narrowly missed being hit by one of the rocks thrown by the Settlers.

Despite a large presence, the Israeli military did little to stop the illegal Settlers’ violent attack on the unarmed Palestinian demonstration. In one instance, when the Israeli military did attempt to prevent the illegal Settlers from descending the hill in order to reach the non-violent Palestinian demonstration, the illegal Settlers also attacked the soldiers. For several hours after the conclusion of the non-violent Palestinian demonstration, Settler youth repeatedly threw rocks at passing Palestinian vehicles on the road below Hallamish colony.

On 9 January, the day after the non-violent demonstration, residents of An Nabi Saleh informed IWPS volunteers that more 100 olive trees had been cut down and burnt by the Hallamish Settlers on the land that belongs to the village, which the Settlers were trying to re-annex.

IWPS Response:
* To continue contact with the residents and village council of An Nabi Saleh and to assist in non – violent actions to prevent further settlement expansion.

Report written by: Kim
Report edited by: Mona
Date of report: 09.01.10

Human Rights Report No. 415

Human Rights Summary: Settlers destroy olive trees belonging to Deir Istiya

Date of incident(s): 14.01.10
Place: Deir Istiya

Witness/es: 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)

IWPS received a telephone call on the morning of 14th January saying that settlers from Revava settlement were bulldozing Olive trees belonging to the village of Deir Istiya in the Salfit Goverornate. The land, on the North slope of a wadi west of Deir Istiya below Revava, is owned by a 78 year old widower whose children have all gone to Jordan; it has belonged to his family for many generations. The land was clearly well terraced and tended, with trees of many different ages, from replanted trees previously uprooted by settlers to veterans many hundreds of years old. It was the subject of a High Court case in 2005, but no judgement was made.

The IWPS volunteers had been stopped by soldiers on their way to the site. By the time they got there, accompanied by the landowner and the Mayor, the bulldozing, which they could hear as they approached, had stopped. They could see clearly, at the bottom of the wadi whose terraced slopes were covered with olive trees, several new looking caravans, inhabited by settlers, and surrounded by newly cleared, bare red earth, with a wide dirt road leading down from the settlement. A settler was staring at them; large dogs could be heard barking. The villagers were unwilling for the volunteers to get close to the settlers, so they took photographs and listened to the landowner, who was extremely distressed.

As they walked back to the road, they were shown blue crosses painted on rocks on the olive terraces which the villagers believe mark what the settlers intend to make the new boundary of ‘their’ settlement. This line was about 150 metres up the hill from the current, illegal boundary marked by overhead power cables. The mayor said that extension to the new boundary will involved the uprooting of several hundred olive trees.

The volunteers heard what sounded like at least two men, and possibly a dog, following them at a distance – trespassing – as they walked back to the road through the village land.

Human Rights Report No. 416

Summary: Women denied permits to access their land on the far side of route 185, south of Jayyous

Date of incident(s): 12.01.10
Place: Jayyous

Witness/es:

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 January 12 IWPS volunteers visited the North Gate of the village of Jayyous at the request of xxxxx. This is an agricultural gate through the illegal Occupation Fence, running alongside the illegal settler road number 185 separating the village from much of its farmland. According to villagers, the gate is opened briefly at 7am, lunchtime and 3pm, only, to allow access to the fields. People going to their fields are regularly required to open sacks of fertiliser, etc. Their lunch is often ‘searched’ by being trampled underfoot. An airport style portable electronic gate is sometimes used for body searches; often without a woman guard to search women going through the gate.

Passage through the gate is permitted only to permit holders. Applications for permits are regularly refused. IWPS volunteers spoke to a woman who in spite of numerous requests had been unable to obtain a permit to access her fields on the far side of the fence/road, where she grew fruit and vegetables. During the two years her land has been tended by her brothers, who also had their own land to work.

The volunteers spoke to her sister who had made 4 applications over 5 months to get a permit. She had several times been made to wait all day, and then to go to the other side of the fence an apply again. Her son had been refused a visa because he had been born in Tulkaram, the nearby town. Eventually she had to rent her land to someone else to work, as land untended for 3 years is seized by the Israeli authorities and declared abandoned, and therefore State land. She said there are about 4,000 people in the village; about 40 women had permits, and 100 men who wanted them did not.

This woman’s house had been entered, the windows smashed [narrowly missing a man in his bed] and tear gas thrown in. The family, including an adult man with a heart condition and several children, were blindfolded and made to wait outside from about 1.30am to 6.30 am. When she protested, a sound bomb was let off. Her little son’s plastic toy gun was confiscated as a ‘forbidden object’. When soldiers went in to search the house and found an empty tear gas canister which had rolled behind some furniture, they were again accused of having forbidden objects in their house..’

We were also told of a young girl whose father was so outraged by soldiers touching her as she went through a checkpoint on her way to school that he stopped her education.

According to villagers, many farmers have had to erect poly tunnels. This is very expensive for them because, quite apart from the cost of construction, they have to pay for the extra water demanded by this more intense form of agriculture.

“Israel allows the Palestinians access to only a fraction of the shared water resources, which lie mostly in the occupied West Bank, while the unlawful Israeli settlements there receive virtually unlimited supplies.” [Israel rations Palestinians to trickle of water, � Amnesty International, 27 October 2009]

Human Rights Report No. 417

Summary: Palestinian farmer attacked by settlers
Date of incidents: 7th February 2010
Place:
Wadi Qana, near Deir Istiya
Witness/es: Deir Istiya 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 incidents started in Wadi Qana, North West of Dier Istya in the Salfit District in the morning of 7th February 2010 when farmers from Deir Istiya saw settlers uproot four olive trees and an almond tree belonging to two families from Deir Istiya.

Following it, at around 12.30 pm a 76 years old farmer and his son-in-law who were working in their citrus grove saw the group of at least 15 settlers approaching them from the East, near Al Bassa spring. The settlers told them to leave the area and started to throw stones at them. The 76 years old farmer was hit on his nose with a stone. He was bleeding heavily and fell to the ground. The settlers then ran away. The farmer’s son-in-law phoned for help and relatives came to the Wadi and took him to the main road, where the Israeli military ambulance took him to the Palestinian ambulance, which transferred him to hospital in Qalqilya. Bruising and swelling on his nose were still evident later in the evening.

During the incidents the Israeli military forces, in jeeps, stationed at the main road at the entrance to Wadi Qana, declared the area a Closed Military Zone.

The incidents were reported to the Palestinian police, the DCO, Yesh Din and the Red Cross International.

There have been several similar incidents recently. Olive trees have been uprooted, farmers threatened and prevented from planting trees [see IWPS human rights reports at www.iwps-pal.org) .

Wadi Qana is surrounded by 8 Israeli settlements. It has more than 12 natural springs, which used to be very pure water but for the past 15 years has been contaminated by sewage from the settlements, particularly Immanuel. It used to be widely used for recreational purposes by the Palestinians from the whole district, but this is no longer possible because of the pollution and the activities of the settlers.

Report written by: Etna
Report edited by: Mona
Date of report: 7th February 2010

Human Rights Report No. 420

Human Rights Summary: Night time arrests
Date of incidents: On 29 April 2010
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit district

Witnesses: Families of young men 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 Incidents: On 29 April 2010, between 2am to 4am, IOF moved into Deir Istiya village of the Salfit district.  They arrested 5 young men.

Case 1 – Minor male aged 16

Information was given by the arrestee’s mother.

At approximately 2:15 am, Soldiers arrived to the home of family A and instructed all family members to stand outside their home and present their identification cards. The family was forced to stand outside the home for 45 minutes in very cold weather, refusing to let one child use the toilet. The 16 year old son of family A was then taken by the Israeli soldiers, giving the reason that the temporary identification he possessed was insufficient. His mother reported that he was then taken into the army vehicle where he was the only youth present.
This is the second arrest for this minor; At 11 years old he was taken into custody after waiting for 4 hours outside, afterwards being held for 6 hours.

Case 2 – Male aged 20

Information was given by arrestee’s father.

At approximately 2:30 am Israeli soldiers entered the home of family B and told the mother and father that they wanted only to speak with their 20 year old son, and would return him in 5 – 10 minutes. The arrestee’s father told the soldiers he was aware that they had no intention on bringing his son back in just a matter of minutes and did not report having resisted the arrest.

No charge was given nor reason for arrest by the soldiers.

The son of family B has been arrested before in October 2009 and spent 2 weeks in the Ariel settlement jail.

Case 3 – Male aged almost 19

He is the eldest child of the family.

At approximately 2am Israeli soldiers knocked at the door of Family C in the old town area of Deir Istiya, but went away again.  About 40 soldiers returned at 2.45am demanding their 18 year old son.  They surrounded the house and all parts of the interior. They woke all the family including an 8 year old child and forced them down into their small courtyard for three quarters of an hour whilst they searched the house.  They made their arrest, hand-cuffing and blindfolding the young man in front of his family. His mother reported following her son to the military vehicle where they kept him standing like this for half an hour outside the vehicle before driving him away.  No reason was given for the arrest and there has been no subsequent news of his whereabouts.

He has two specific medical problems:  when cold, trouble with his ankle flares up where he was beaten by soldiers; he has problems with his eyes and had an appointment with an eye doctor.

The family had already informed the Red Cross and Tehid al Asra.

This is the third arrest of this youth: he was detained for one month when he was 15 and for eighteen months when he was 17.

Case 4 – Male aged 22

At approximately 3:45 am Israeli soldiers surrounded a home of family D near the center of Deir Istiya. His mother reported that he was not allowed to dress, being taken only in his night clothes and slippers. Soldiers blindfolded and handcuffed the young man in front of his parents and younger siblings.  No charge was given nor reason for arrest by the soldiers.

When his father attempted to follow them, he was threatened with violence if he did not turn back towards the house. According to his mother, the young man was experiencing severe pain in his teeth and had a dental appointment the following day.

Case 5 – Male aged 22

Information was given by the arrestee’s parents.

At approximately 3am an estimated 60-70 soldiers came to the house of family E demanding their 22 year old son.  He was not there but they entered violently, damaging furniture and furnishings.  They woke everyone including 2 children under school age.  They used abusive and threatening language. They took photos of all parts of the house. They pinned down the mother (who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure) with a rifle and they temporarily handcuffed the eldest son, releasing him before they left. Four young adults were locked into a room by soldiers. Under threat of further destruction of  the house in the future and of refusing to give his uncle a work permit for entry into Israel, the captain demanded that their son give himself up at the DCO in Qalqiliya the following day.  He went to the office at about 2pm on the afternoon of the 29th and there has been no subsequent news of his whereabouts.

The young man has stomach problems.

This is the third arrest of the detainee.  After the first one he was held in Hashahron(?) youth detention centre and after the second he was held in prison in the Negev.  In addition, the family is subjected to regular raids such as this.  The last one was 3 months ago.
Report written by: Marisol and Gwen
Report edited by:   Clara
Date of report: 30th April, 2010

Human Rights Report No. 421

Human Rights Summary: Army presence
Date of incidents: On 17 May through 25 May 2010
Place: Deir Istiya, Salfit district

Witnesses: Families of young men 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 Incidents: On 17 May 2010, between 5:30pm to 6:15pm, IOF soldiers conducted a checkpoint in the entrance of Deir Istiya village in the Salfit district.  They stopped all cars exiting and entering village. On 19 May IOF soldiers conducted a checkpoint in the entrance of Deir Istiya between 4pm to 6pm. On 25 May IOF soldiers accompanied Israeli intelligence officers on foot inside Deir Istiya village.

17 May, 2010 : Upon returning from Ramallah, IWPS volunteers witnessed an IOF jeep and three soldiers conducting a checkpoint in the entrance of Deir Istiya, close to the main road at 5:30 pm. All cars leaving and entering the village were stopped, having the trunk of their cars searched. IWPS volunteer witnessed soldier pointing his gun at the head of an elderly woman sitting in the passenger seat of one car exiting the village. A van with all passengers being young men under 30 was stopped upon entering the village, with one of the young men being made to sit and wait beside the car on the side of the road. IWPS volunteers stood and monitored IOF activities in plain view of the soldiers, who left less that 45 minutes after monitoring began.

25 May, 2010: At approximately 2pm to 3pm, one jeep carrying 4 IOF soldiers and one Israeli intelligence vehicle containing 2 intelligence officers, entered Deir Istiya. The two vehicles stopped in the center of the village, and passengers of all cars exited. Soldiers and intelligence officers then travelled together on foot through Deir Istiya, taking photos of the placards on schools and some offices, which explain regarding the different countries and governmental organizations that helped to establish the schools and offices. Their presence caused unease for children and any residents walking outside on that afternoon, as well as worry on behalf of the municipality as to any possible interference by IOF for the functioning and maintenance of these programs.

Report written by: Marisol
Date of report: 30th May, 2010

Human Rights Report No. 422

Human Rights Summary: Arrests made in demonstration
Date of incidents: On 9 July  2010
Place: An Nabi Salih, Ramallah district

Witnesses: The man who got arrested (later released), 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:

Weekly demonstration reclaiming  access to the village farm  land that is located opposite side of  a settlement, Hallamish (Neve Zuf) started right after the Friday prayer as usual.  People gathered on the top of the hill of the village near the mosque and started to go down the road toward the land.

As soon as the peaceful demonstration, where a number of children and women were present chanting slogans, came in the sight of the Israeli Occupation Forces, the Forces started to fire sounds bombs and tear gas right into the crowd.

One of the organizers of this demonstration went up to the soldiers and protested , saying “why do you do that against children?  Are you crazy?  What is the point of scaring children?”  Soldiers responded by threatening him that they would arrest him and for that he responded “I don’t care”.

After this exchange, 5 to 6 soldiers detained the organizer who had his 3-years old son with him.  He was detained into the army jeep with his son.  His son was extremely distressed and scared and cried all the while he was kept in the jeep until his pre-teen sister came along to fetch him.

The organizer was kept in the jeep and was taken to the Army Point that is an old British Fort in Hallamish settlement for about three hours.  All the while, he was handcuffed behind tightly.  No reason for the arrest was given.  Soldiers said they did not know the reason but because the captain told them to arrest him, they arrested him.

Additionally, at least two Israeli peace activists were also arrested in a very violent manner while they were monitoring the situation.  Moreover, few more arrests attempts were made unsuccessfully on local women who have always been right up in front of the demonstration.

In An Nabi Salih, very young children and girls started to play a significant role in the demonstration since previous Friday when they kept chanting, singing and dancing as well as making human chain around three soldiers, after being given training before hand and properly prepared for that.

As in many villages in the West Bank, IOF seems to be exercising unlawful imposition of limitation on demonstration against its military occupation by denying the peaceful demonstrators to achieve their objectives, such as to reach their own farm land by using unnecessary force including tear gas, sound bombs and bullets (live and rubber coated) when there is  no threat to their own safety.

Report written by: Meg
Report edited by: Marie
Date of report: 9th July, 2010

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