by ISM Nablus, October 27th
Palestinian farmers were today harvesting olives on their land between the quarry at Huwarra checkpoint and Berakhya settlement. A Palestinian house stands uninhabited in the middle of this area, casting a desolate shadow over the settler bus stop on the road below. The man who used to live there is longing for the day when he can move back to his home but remains pessimistic. The entire land has remained untouched for over 6 years, as Israeli colonists always threaten any Palestinians who dare to even approach it.
Today, however, a family of farmers from Burin decided to brave the Berakhya settlers and set off early this morning to harvest their olive trees. At twelve o’clock, six Israeli colonist men trespassed onto the land and, wielding a knife, proceeded to threaten the Ghazzal family, shouting at them to leave the land immediately. In front of their children, the father and mother were pushed and pulled around by colonists and beaten on the arms and chest.
A volunteer from Rabbis for Human Rights, Zachariah Sadea, was contacted. Upon arrival at the scene at around half past one, he immediately contacted the DCO in Nablus. Frightened by this, the Israeli colonists finally left the land, only to go to the police station in Huwarra military base in order to file a complaint against the family’s 18-year old son, Fatih Ghazzal. Claiming that Fatih had beaten, or threatened to beat up the Israeli colonists, they demanded that he be arrested.
At three o’clock, two Israeli soldiers drove up to the land where the family were harvesting; still recovering from the shock of the colonist attack. The soldiers arrested Fatih, beating him severely over the head as they did so. Zachariah Sadea, explaining to the soldiers that Fatih had not beaten the colonists but in fact had been attacked by them, attempted to physically prevent the arrest and was then also beaten by the soldiers.
Devastated by the kidnapping of Fatih, the family carried the day’s harvest down to the checkpoint to wait for their beloved son and brother. As the rain poured down and friends of the family stopped to commiserate with them before passing through the checkpoint, Fatih was transported from Huwarra to the Ariel colony police station. Finally, the family left the checkpoint, hauling the sacks of olives onto their backs and piling into a taxi in teary-eyed silence.
The RHR volunteer will, as an eye-witness to the colonist attack, testify against their blatantly false accusations. The prospects of success are, however, bleak since a senior military commander is now claiming to have witnessed Fatih’s attack on the colonists, even though he was stationed on the other side of the hill at the time. Fatih is currently still being held at Ariel, awaiting legal assistance from Yesh Din.
For more details contact:
ISM Nablus 0599076568