Tayasir, Thu 3.12.09, Morning

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Daphna B. (reporting)

Representatives of Yesh Din: Yehudit E, Dror E, Hana B, Muhammad M.

Because of several problems connected with persecution of area residents by "Ongoing IDF Security Coordinators" of the settlements and soldiers, a tour was organized in order to get acquainted with incidents and establish contacts and trust with residents, and to enhance the involvement of Yesh Din in the area. in addition to a general explanation of the closureinfo-icon of the Valley and its isolation from the West Bank, the tour concentrated on problems of denial of water, and more.:

1. Harassment of one of the families, which resides in the area of Hadida (except in winter), close to Beqaot settlement, by soldiers and by Danny, the Coordinator from Beqaot. We met one of the family members and heard his story.

2. We drove to el-Pasael, a small and neglected town whose residents, with the help of "Jordan Valley Solidarity" have built a school from ecological materials by ancient methods (mud bricks, for example), and, with the help of ecological and historical preservation organisations, have succeeded in overturning a demolition order for the school. A day before our tour, they completed building of a small clinic which was today visited by the Palestinian Minister of Health.

3. We drove to Um Zuka Nature Reserve, regarding which we previously  reported the fine of 660 shekels imposed on three Palestinian brothers for grazing their flock and violating the law because the cows did not stick to the marked path. The place is very neglected, lacking any sign of a nature preserve – no pathways, no maintenance, no fences, and no signs. What is there is a marvellous view of the eastern Jordan Valley, on the Jordanian side, and a huge red sign "Firing Zone: Entry Prohibited." A nature reserve that is also a firing zone? Or perhaps it is only another opportunity to drive away the residents and fine them. We stopped for a break on top of a hill with an enchanting view and enjoyed Hana’s snacks – an experience that we don’t usually enjoy in our shifts. Thank you, Hana.

4. Construction of a new neighborhood in Maskiot for evacuees from Gush Katif (in Gaza) and a new neighborhood in Mehola settlement.

5. At Ein Hilwe junction, at the turn to Tayasir, settlers from Maskiot (Palestinians recognized and identified one of them – Abba Musa) stole a few hours ago a donkey that was still feeding an offspring. They were of course very upset, but seriously deliberated whether to allow us to call the police. They did not hide their fear of the police. Dror and I decided to try our luck in the settlement, and we drove there, identified ourselves at the gate, by name only, and entered. In the animal pen there were four donkeys, but none were new mothers. Maybe they had hidden the donkey somewhere else? In the last resort, the Palestinians decided not to inform the police, and to save themselves a vindictive encounter with the settler neighbors. Mohand, the Yesh Din investigator, set an appointment with them and perhaps with him they will find the courage to complain.

6. Meeting with Abu Saker from Hadidia and other notables from the area in order to hear at close quarters about their problems, especially the threats to demolish their homes. Abu Saker’s family members related that one day before Eid el Adha, 250 soldiers came, entered the tents and made a massive and wild search, throwing the family’s belongings in every direction, breaking and destroying. They also screamed obscenities and threats at one of the women who tried to appeal to them, broke the toys of three year old Sumud, then finally departed.

In conclusion – I think that the tour was important. Yesh Din has legal means to act more efficiently on behalf of the region’s inhabitants. Please God we see more of them in the area, which always seems to have been forgotten the human rights organisations.