Bearing Witness

Settlers attack Palestinian house in Hebron – Again !

Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday evening, the latest in a series of attacks in the city.

Nedal Fareed Al-Awawi, a resident of Hebron’s settler-occupied Old City issued an appeal to international human rights organizations to protect him and his family.

He told Ma’an, “My home that is adjacent to the illegal Israeli outpost of Avraham Avinu, and is repeatedly attacked by the Israeli settlers. I fear for my children’s lives because of these vindictive attacks against me after the evacuation from the Ar- Rajabi building.”

Settlers rampaged through Hebron on 4 December when Israeli police and soldiers evicted 250 hard-line settlers from a house belonging to the Ar-Rajabi family. Al-Awawi home was one of the buildings set on fire by the enraged settlers.

Al-Awawi says Israeli police were present at the time of Sunday’s attack, but made no arrests.

“’I saw that settler attack on you, you should file a complaint. Be careful of settlers tonight,’” Al-Awawi says the police told him.

Al-Awawi’s home still smells of smoke from the riots over two weeks ago. During the rampage, one room of the house was completely burned, and the house’s electricity and water connections destroyed. He says settlers assaulted him when he was installing a new water tank on the roof of his home, and destroyed the new tank as well.

Al-Awawi says he has received assistance from the Hebron Municipality and the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee, an organization dedicated to preserving the city’s cultural heritage.

The director of the Rehabilitation Committee, Imad Hamadan said “We hold the Israeli authorities fully responsible for the life of the Palestinian families who are living near the Israeli outposts in the heart of Hebron.”

He called on Israel to comply with the Forth Geneva Convention, which requires the protection of civilians under occupation.

* This article was taken from Maan News Angency @ www.maannews.net

The Al-Awawi home is one of the homes I visited on my trip to Hebron, last  Friday, that had been fire bombed.  It’s the one next to Israel Occupation Force [IOF] watch tower that I posted photos of  – but seemingly again the IOF where unable to stop the attack. It’s quite obvious who they are there to protect, not the legal Palestinian residents of Hebron – but the illegal settlers.

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December 22, 2008 Posted by | Media | , , | Leave a comment

UN: 290 settler-related attacks on Palestinians by November

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Friday that settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank increased this year.

Within the first ten months of 2008, OCHA recorded 290 settler-related incidents targeting Palestinians and their property. This figure, while not comprehensive, “reflects a worrying trend,” the UN office said, “since it surpasses the total recorded by OCHA in each of the previous two years.”

In 2006 OCHA recorded 182 attacks for all 12 months combined, while in 2007 the sum was 243.

Similarly, Palestinian deaths and injuries resulting from settler-related incidents in 2008 exceeded the number of Palestinian casualties in each of the previous two years (131 in 2008, compared to 74 in 2006 and 92 in 2007).

Approximately half of all Palestinian injuries from settler violence each year since 2006 have been made up of children, women and the elderly over 70 years of age, the UN office found.

Some areas of the West Bank suffer far higher levels of settler violence and related activity than others, as well. While incidents were recorded by OCHA in all governorates during the first 10 months of 2008, they were more frequent in Hebron and Nablus, with 42 percent and 21 percent of all incidents, respectively.

This trend was also witnessed in the preceding two years.

A root cause of the phenomenon is Israel’s decades-long policy of facilitating and encouraging the settling of its citizens inside occupied Palestinian territory, defined as transfer of population and prohibited by international humanitarian law.

* This article was taken from www.maannews.net
This report does not include the settler violence that was sparked across the West Bank in December by the eviction of settlers from Al-Rajabi family home, the house of contention, in Hebron.The other thing worth noting about the OCHA report is that the vast majority of settler attacks go unreported as Palestinians know they are rarely investigated, let alone prosecuted. Around 90% of these documented attacks go unprosecuted !

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Media, My Thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

Hebron

 Barak in talks with Hebron settlers, seeking to end crisis.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak will hold last minute talks on Wednesday with right-wing settlers occupying a Palestinian house in the West Bank city of Hebron in hopes of ending two weeks of violence in the city.

Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said he hopes the settlers will leave voluntarily, but said Israel would use force if necessary to remove the settlers.

Also on Wednesday Israeli settlers reportedly set fire to a Palestinian house in Hebron, and Israeli forces broke up a pro-Palestinian demonstration in the city.

On Monday night and Tuesday, hundreds of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron, throwing stones and beating residents with clubs while Israeli soldiers and police looked on.

Palestinians and their property were attacked in the Ar-Ras, Wadi Al-Hussain and Al-Ja’bari neighborhoods. Settlers also released dogs to attack the Palestinians. Israeli soldiers also fired tear gas and sonic bombs towards Palestinian houses.

Dozens of Palestinian citizens were injured. Witnesses reported that the settler mob numbered in the hundreds.

Settlers groups have descended upon Hebron over the last two weeks since Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered 13 settler families to leave the Palestinian-owned Ar-Rajabi house, which the Israelis have occupied since 2007. Rumors spread on Monday that the Israeli military was preparing to implement the order.

“It is not about Ar-Rajabi building. Settlers want to occupy Al-Ja’bari and As-Salayma neighborhoods as well as Wadi Al-Hussain, Ar-Ras and the Christian neighborhoods in order to connect Kiryat Arba’ and Kiryat Kharsina settlements with other outposts,” said Munawwar Ja’bary, an elderly woman from Ja’bari neighborhood.

She added, “Men, women and children have been attacked and injured. Our houses have been damaged. We have been prevented from leaving our homes. Our cemeteries and mosques have been desecrated in order to force us to leave, yet we will steadfast whatever they do.”

Several houses and shops were also attacked, especially water reservoirs on tops of the houses. Settlers also attempted to force shops’ doors open using crowbars and hammers. Two houses were partially torched. The windows of four cars were shattered and fire was set to two others.

The violence continued all of Monday night. On Tuesday morning settlers resumed their attacks, pelting Palestinians with stones from the roof of the Ar-Rajabi building.

Witnesses said Israeli police and soldiers stationed in the city did nothing to prevent the attacks, and in some cases facilitated them.

* Article taken from Maan News Agency @ www.maannews.net
 

Would the Israeli Government be holding talks with Palestinians, if they had occupied a settlers house and terrorised the rest of the settlement ?

December 3, 2008 Posted by | Media | , , , , | Leave a comment

Settler Violence

Since the start of the second Intifada in September 2000, the incidence of settler attacks perpetrated against Palestinians has been steadily on the rise. In 2007, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented 76 cases of settler violence resulting in death or injury to Palestinians, a 17 per cent increase over 2006. Over the first four months (January-April) of 2008 alone, OCHA has documented 42 cases of Palestinians killed or injured as a result of settler violence. Included among these cases are one child fatality and five injuries. Sadly, Palestinian children are often the victims of violence at the hands of Israeli settlers. Reports from the 1612 Working Group1 indicate that from May 2007 to March 2008, two children were killed and 31 injured as a result of settler attacks. Of these attacks, one child was killed and five injured in hit-and-run incidents; one child killed and one injured in shooting incidents; and 24 were injured in physical assaults.

According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli army and police have an undeclared policy of leniency and compromise toward settlers who perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory. The army makes little attempt to prevent settler violence, often providing cover and protection for the very settlers who commit these crimes. Israeli authorities often fail to investigate acts of settler violence or bring perpetrators to justice. When cases actually are investigated, they often do not result in indictment or strong penalties. B’Tselem reports that an examination of the human rights organisation Yesh Din reveals that some 90 per cent of investigations opened by the police in 2005 regarding settlers who injured Palestinians or damaged Palestinian property were closed without an indictment being filed.

In cases where settlers are actually prosecuted for crimes committed in the occupied territory, Israel’s Emergency Regulations Law 5727 of 1967 guarantees they are tried before the civil courts and in accordance with Israeli laws. Despite the fact that settlers are living in the occupied Palestinian territory, they are not subject to the same military laws and the military court system as the Palestinians living under occupation. By being subject to the Israeli judicial system, settlers enjoy legal protections and guarantees that are routinely denied to Palestinians in the occupied territory.

* The information in this post was taken from www.palestinemonitor.org 

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Media | , , , | Leave a comment