by Palestine Solidarity Project
On September 20, 2006, in the village of Beit Ommar, activists with the Palestine Solidarity Project visited the farmland of Abu Jaber and his brother Abu Sameer. This is the third time that activists with the Project have met with the farmers to document damage done to their land by nearby Israeli colonial settlers.
Three months ago, international activists began meeting with Abu Jaber and Abu Sameer, though attacks on their land date back many years. These activists previously visited the farmers in July and August of this year. On September 15th 2006, five days prior to PSP’s visit, Abu Jaber and Abu Sameer’s land was once again attacked by settlers from Bat Ayin. These attacks have become more frequent as the olive harvest approaches, and presently, the land is attacked nearly twice per week.
Typically, when the settlers come to the land, they cut olive and plum trees, and grape vines. They uproot trees from the earth and throw stakes and plants into nearby bushes. Olives, plums and grapes are picked from the trees and stolen, while some crops are thrown to the ground to decay in the sun or to be eaten by illegally grazing settler livestock.
While at the activist’s last visit similar destruction was photographed, videotaped and documented, on this visit, the damage had increased. More plants had been destroyed, more crops had been stolen and more of the farming infrastructure had been removed and mangled.
For several years prior to the attacks in 2006, Abu Jaber and Abu Sameer have been attempting to litigate against this problem through the Palestinian Land Defense Committee, which joins Israeli and Palestinian lawyers to aid farmers in trouble. As of now, this attempt to seek justice through the Israeli court system has been fruitless. This experience is common for Palestinians seeking to have their grievances addressed through the legal system of the Occupation. The nature of the Occupation creates parallel and unequal legal systems for Palestinians and Israelis seeking to solve their problems through the court. Had Abu Jaber attacked the farm land of the Bat Ayin settlement, the Apartheid court system would have likely fined and imprisoned him, though when the situation is reversed, nothing happens and the racist nature of the Occupation courts is made apparent.
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