ISM volunteers have been maintaining a presence as Human Rights Observers (HROs) in the tiny Palestinian village of Qawawis (population approx. fifteen), as requested by locals. The vunerable village is often subject to attack and harrassment from nearby Israeli settlers. The following is a brief summary of recent events.
On the 11 of October at 16:35, a car on the settler-only road stoped and a settler took a photo of a villager. At 16:49 an army truck stoped and three soldiers got out. They talked to shepherd and told a HRO that the man had been too close to the settler road.
On the 14th of October at 08:52 an army truck drove into the village via a settler road and approached two shepherds. When a HRO approached the truck with the shepherds a soldier told him to back off because he wanted to talk to the shepherd alone. It seemed that he told the shepherd he is too close to the road and to go nearer the olive trees. The soldier drove away calling the HRO a “fucking faggot”. At 16:00 two army trucks were observed parked on the settler road. After a while they drove off without interfering
On the 15th of October at 07:50 an army truck stoped near a Palestinian shepherd grazing his flock nearby the settler road. A soldier gots out and seems to explain to the shepherd he is too close to the road. A HRO was told “you know they shouldn’t be here?”. The HRO replied that he did not know that. At 10:15 two Israelis drove into village (car licence number was noted). They said they were from a kibbutz and talked to the villagers and the two HROs. They claimed to be organising a tour of the area for their kibbutz. HROs advised that it was not a good idea, as the villagers would think they are settlers. One said “don’t worry, we don’t like the settlers either” and gave the villagers a sack of carrots from “our factory”. One spoke good Arabic and told a villager they had been moved out of Gaza – which would make them settlers too. Their story did not seem to add up. At 13:45 three settlers all of approx. 18 – 20 years of age came into the village. Villagers and two HROs approached them and asked what they were doing. They did not reply and walked around the village in silence. One jumped onto a wall and looked into a garden. At 13:47 one HRO reported the harrassment to the Kyiyat Arba settlement Police. They promised to send first the army and then the police. A few minutes later the settlers left. They were video taped. No military or police ever arrived.
On the 17th of October between 06:00 amd 08:30, several military and police vehicles were observed nearby while shepherds were grazing their flock. Between 10:50 and 11:15 at least 150 cars and 5 busses were obseved heading to Susya settlement. Between 11:00 and 13:00 a watch was kept on the road but no settlers approached.