“We were told they had entered a “closed military zone” which happened to be on their own farmlands.” | Handcuffs. cc: wikipedia
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann describes the last week’s unusual events in the Occupied Territories, among them: a demolition of a restaurant in Wallaje, an arbitrary arrest in Yanoun, settlers from Shilo harassed a Palestinian, and something positive: a Palestinian farmer from Farata got access to his lands and could plow.
A relatively quiet week was marred by the demolition last Thursday of a Palestinian restaurant called “al Makhrour” in the Wallajeh area on the outskirts of Beit Jallah. This restaurant was supposed to be the venue that morning for a meeting of a large group of Palestinian and Israeli NGOs regarding land confiscations in Area C with a possible European funding source. It has been postponed because of the dramatic circumstances, though the participants stayed to show solidarity with the owners.
Otherwise things went on in the OPT as usual with very limited access to lands near settlements, broken promises by the current government to obey high court decisions and their own commitments to remove illegally built “outposts” on private Palestinian land such as Migron and the “ulpana” next to Beit El, low grade violence on the roads and arbitrary arrests.
Some examples we dealt with include:
- An arbitrary arrest - The arrest, and later release without charges of one of our village contacts and his cousin in the Yanoun area. This only after the usual round of frustrating calls to the army bureaucracy to find out where the “detained” were being held and what they were being suspected of, as well as insisting they be given water after being informed they had already been held some time without any. We were told they had entered a “closed military zone” which happened to be on their own farmlands. When asked if there were any warning signs, maps, etc to make that clear the officer had no answer.
- Plowing – Our friend Ibrahim of Farata finally reached and worked his land last Friday as promised last week, again after additional interventions on our part. On the other hand, others who did not turn to us in time have probably already given up hopes of plowing at this stage.
- Harassment by Shilo Settlers - A Palestinian motorist driving along road 60 from Ramallah to Nablus earlier this week contacted us because of the damage done to his car – smashed windows, apparently by settlers in the Shilo valley. We instructed him to report the event to the police and the Palestinian DCO, knowing however that the chances of any real aid from those in covering damages and /or dealing with the culprits is very slim. The Palestinian DCO has no power in such circumstances and the police are based in one of the settlements and are themselves settlers. A subsequent conversation with the man informed us of his unwillingness to deal with the Israeli police because of his previous experiences.