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Jan-01-2011 23:18printcomments

Settler and Military Violence Escalates in South Hebron Hills

Seemingly 'redneck' Israeli 'settlers' ride ATV's through Palestinian camps; running down and killing family dogs.

Homeless Palestinian woman
Hajja Sara is the sister of Haj Khalil who was beaten by settlers two weeks ago. Arson, daily attacks by Zionist settlers; this lawless behavior against Palestinians is a result of Israel's apartheid politics; different laws for Jews and non-Jews.

(HEBRON, Israel) - A few days ago we reported of the December 14 demolition of old and precious water cisterns by the Israeli military in the desert southeast of Hebron.

These actions take place with a clear context; local Palestinian residents do not face only the military ruling their lives, but rather a military-settler conglomerate that is becoming increasingly violent, aggressive and arrogant.

For example, the cistern demolitions were carried out under the pretense that the cisterns (most of which were built before Israel controlled the region) are “unauthorized”.

Who “authorizes” constructions in this remote West Bank region? South Hebron hills are part of “Area C” – the 60% of the West Bank which was kept under complete Israeli control in the Oslo accords.

The intent of this arrangement was temporary, but since the accords collapsed, Israel has been treating “Area C” as part of its own territory – except, that is, for according any rights to its Palestinian inhabitants.

Construction permits in “Area C” are granted by a “Civil Administration” committee manned mostly by ideological settlers. So a key component of the supposed formal authority of the military rule, is in fact directly controlled and manipulated by settler interests.

On December 13 – one day before the above demolitions – 15 settlers attacked the Wadi Ghesh hamlet south of Susya, severely beating Haj Khalil and Ibrahim (who subsequently needed to be hospitalized in Yatta) and causing considerable damage to their tents (see attached photos) – when we called the commander of the military forces in the area “Colonel Guy”, we were not surprised to hear from his manner of reply that he sees the settlers’ attack against the people of Wadi Ghesh as an understandable outburst.

A settler outpost had some sheep missing, allegedly stolen by local Palestinians.

Therefore, according to the ruling military-settler justice, it is perfectly understandable that settlers – whether the same ones or others sympathizing with them – take revenge upon some arbitrarily chosen Palestinian families, and we should just move on, “no harm done”.

Settlers, apparently feeling omnipotent on the ground but fearing geopolitical developments that will eventually curb their power, seem to be rushing to gobble up more Palestinian-owned farm and grazing lands, and lashing out in violence against vulnerable communities.

The military, supposedly apolitical and formally in complete charge of law and order – but in fact completely dominated by settler interests in “Area C” – collaborates willingly.

And so the settler impunity invites more settler violence. Yesterday, Tuesday December 28, at 3:00 a.m., Hajja Sara woke up to the sound of her dogs barking. Coming out of her living tent she saw her two adjacent kitchen tents going up in flames (pictures along side of page).

Then she noticed, on the dirt road, a vehicle starting up and driving towards the nearby Israeli Sussya settlement.

Her son Ahmed woke up and managed to get the gas tanks out of the kitchen before they exploded.

Friends and neighbors began arriving to help. A firefighting vehicle sent from Yatta was held up by soldiers at a checkpoint, and arrived only after the residents had put out the fire themselves. They used a cistern dug last year, which we at the Villages Group had helped dig.

When it was all over it turns out that Hajja Sara’s entire immaculate kitchen had burnt to the ground. The taboun earthen oven located in a nearby tin shack was burnt as well.

Stranger than fiction Order Now

Hajja Sara is the sister of Haj Khalil who was beaten by settlers two weeks ago. She is especially vulnerable, living near the road connecting the settlement with the Israeli-run antique site and the notorious Dalia Har Sinai outpost, an outpost which sees its presence in the area as the continuation of a decade-long feud.

This, by the way, is the same outpost whose settlers claimed the theft of sheep as a pretext to December 13′s attacks.

A year ago Hajja Sara’s family succeeded in preventing a similar arson attempt, but they are the ongoing target for harassment and provocation such as young settlers speed-driving with ATV’s by their tents (two of the family’s dogs were run over during the past month).

The military and police authorities are, of course, well aware of the identity of the natural suspects for both attacks.

Unfortunately, given the track record showing the settlers and military as two arms of the same effort to uproot the local population, and the total impunity accorded to the settlers by the military, there is little hope that any serious investigation will take place.

Instead, we ask you to contact Israeli embassies and consulates to alert them of this escalating wave of government-backed, government-sponsored criminal activity.

Perhaps they will be more cognizant of how this makes Israel look.

Not less important, we continue to support our friends in the region in at this difficult time.

If you would like to help us rebuild Hajja Sara’s kitchen, please contact Ehud at ksehud@gmail.com. Thank you.

Source: The Villages Group: Cooperation in Israel-Palestine




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Riva January 13, 2011 12:50 pm (Pacific time)

You have ALL the facts UPSIDE DOWN and frankly, it's CRUEL!!! The father of the Har Shefi family, the Israeli family of 9 children, was murdered 10 years ago in cold blood. He was known as a very holy man who did not carry a gun and sought peaceful relations with Arabs. Recently his family's flock of 170 sheep which were registered and lawfully this family's property, along with the land which is registered with the government WAS STOLEN by Arabs thereby DISTROYING THEIR ONLY INCOME for such a huge family. Now i ask you, where is the compassion out there for this Israeli family that sought to maintain peaceful relations with their Arab neighbors? Can one EVER count on an Arab family or Arab supporter to actually HELP a family like this even if they are JEWISH. Or, is the hidden agenda REALLY to hate Jews. I believe that until i see these acts of kindness instead of acts of terrorism from Arabs and their supporters, i will continue to believe that this article promotes hatred and violence.

Editor: Riva, I don't know why you examine a story about the tragedy involving the plight of the Palestinians and turn that into a 'people are against the Jews' story.  Yes, Israel is the Jewish state; did I choose that?  I didn't ask Hitler to by a mastermind genocidal bastard and I didn't ask the Israeli people to steal the land of the Arabs who had absolutely nothing to do with the Holocaust.  We are Jewish, Muslim and Christian.  We are human beings.  Yes, of course we have sympathy for every Israeli and it is good to know that a man there tried to help people of another culture.  To infer that someone has a hidden hatred of Jews is a weak aspect of a system of denial for Israel's war crimes.


Daniel Johnson January 2, 2011 1:48 pm (Pacific time)

I can't predict the future for Gaza and Israel, but it seems obvious that the theme of man's inhumanity to man is only playing out at increasingly intense and destructive levels. In the 1940s, the Jews lay down passively and let themselves be killed by the millions. I don't think the Palestinians will follow that example. A tipping point is going to be reached, then all hell is going to break loose. And the Jews (Zionists, really) will, of course, cry anti-Semitism, as if they have just been innocent bystanders all along. At the same time, however, we have to balance this with the extremists among the Middle East Muslims, also going back to the 1940s

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