July 27th, 2007. Around 5:30pm international Human Rights Workers and member of the Christian Peace-Making Team joined a Palestinian man on the land he owned to help him clean it from debris put there by settler vandals and protect him and his livestock while they feed.
Settlers have erected a tent on his land and called it a synagogue seven years ago. This severely handicapped man and his family are normally told to leave the land they own when they try to farm it, or when they let their goats eat from it. The international volunteers showed up to help the family farm their land under the repression they face from soldiers and settlers. We started by removing wood that vandals had nailed to his trees. Settlers with guns saw us do this and called the military. When the military came they told us to stop and the land owner was told he had to prove the land was his. The owner produced Israeli court papers, which proved that the land was indisputably his. The officer reluctantly looked over the papers
However even then we were not allowed to remove the wood because we were told it would look like we were trying to steal it. We began then to cut and collect the grass to take to the goats so they could eat. The police soon showed up, followed later by border police. They kept a heavy presence near us but did nothing to stop the harassment of the settlers. This harassment of course escalated, starting with shouted insults. When international volunteers brought this to the attention of the police, they were told that unless this was caught on film there was nothing they could do. Even with this warning, the police still did nothing to deescalate the harassment from the settlers. The family then let their goats out to eat the grass that grows on the land they own and this proved to be the last straw for the settlers.
An old, well dressed settler exited his settlement using a stick as a walking aid, and giving the impression of frailty asked one of the volunteers where they were from in an aggressive manor and suddenly without provocation attacked two international human rights workers with what proved to be a spiked stick. He first hit one female volunteer across the head, moving on to strike multiple blows to another this time male observer. His arm was left bleeding heavily, leaving blood on both he and the settler.
The police had no choice, in the face of such obvious lawless aggression and knowing that of course this time it would be filmed, but to intervene. They ran up the stairs and prevented the old man from returning to his settlement, and arrested him. The two HRWs and the man who filmed them were taken to the police station, and the old man was arrested. The Palestinians and HRWs were told that the area had to be cleared because the situation was “heated”. The Palestinians and volunteers therefore left the land of the family only to watch Israeli settlers exit the settlement, walk freely through land and socialize with the military and police.
After a few minutes spending at the police station the attacking settler was eventually released by the police with the explanation that they are not going to arrest Israelis during shabbat.