Armed Settlers Violently Attack Palestinian Shepherds
Palestinian shepherds from Al Hima are attacked daily by settlers from the new settlement near Givat Salit.
Yesterday settlers on horseback threw stones and beat a shepherd from the Abu Rasmi family. A 12-year-old boy suffered a head injury. The settlers called the army and the soldiers ordered the shepherd to remove his flocks despite the fact that they were grazing on land that is open to everyone. The shepherd was then arrested and detained for four hours at the nearest checkpoint. He was released only after Gai from the Taayush Organization called the police and the Liaison and Coordination Administration. Today Abu Rasmi and his son went to the Palestinian Authority to complain. We heard what had happened from members of the family and saw photographs of the two settlers racing wildly on horseback through the tent area.
Today the shepherds were escorted by members of the EPPI from Jericho. Gai explained that the shepherds and their escorts were once again attacked and were forced to leave the area and go elsewhere. Members of human rights organizations such as Taayush have attempted to accompany the shepherds to the grazing areas to prevent settlers from attacking them as much as possible. Dafna, a member of Machsom Watch, has also gone with them and will do so again.
There is evidently a connection between the settlement near Givat Salit and the one near Um Zuka. Settlers from both settlements harass the shepherds. Kobi, a settler has a group of young boys who are armed and attack the Palestinian shepherds. Evidently they have no license for the weapons they carry. Elias's truck that was in Um Zuka was in Givat Salit. We were told that the settlement is located on Palestinian land.
Six Palestinians were arrested by the Nature and Parks Authority
Photo: Security officers from nearby settlements and rangers fro mthe Nature and Parks Authority cooperate to evict Palestinian shepherds, claiming that they were picking protected plants. (Photo: Annalynn K.)
15:30 - We saw five vehicles on the side of the road near the settlement of Bik'ot: two from the Nature Authority, two belonging to local security officers from Hamra and Bik'ot, and one Palestinian vehicle. There were several young men walking around the vehicles armed with rifles and pistols, and two Palestinians and four youths who were detained for over an hour. The Palestinians were fearful of the armed men and were afraid they would be fined. The entire matter was because the shepherds had picked protected plants. For this severe crime the two security officers from the nearby settlements, the Parks Authority, and the police were all called in! The police issued the shepherds a traffic report for carrying more than five people in their car and all discussed what to do with the dangerous outlaws.
It should be noted that near Um Zuka a Jewish shepherd is allowed to graze his flocks without anyone intervening to check whether his flocks are eating protected plants.
In this way the Parks and Nature Authority is aiding the occupation. We haven't seen any activities to preserve the land in any of the parks in the area.