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From EAPPI: Settler with Automatic Rifle Threatens Internationals and Shepherds

Update from At-Tuwani and Masafer Yatta August 12th- 20th 2007

Main facts:

Wednesday 15 Settler with automatic rifle threatens internationals and shepherds

Monday 20 Settlers working on a Palestinian field near Susya

The team has been carrying on the school patrol until Thursday 14th besides accompanying shepherds in Humra valley every morning.

Two team members spent two whole days in Sh’ab el Botom with two EAPPI Hebron team members (September 15th and 16th).

Wednesday 15 August 2007
Settler with automatic rifle threatens internationals and shepherds

In the morning three CPTers went out to the shepherds in Khoruba when they heard there was some problem with settlers. When they arrived, a shepherd told them that children from Tuba had been attempting to walk through Khoruba to come to Tuwani, not having gotten the message that there was no summer camp that day. Settlers from Havot Ma’on came out and threatened them with stones but then went inside when the shepherds yelled at them.

6:00pm Shepherds called for them to go out to the field with them while they were grazing their sheep on a hillside below the Mits’pe Yaer outpost. A settler, holding an automatic rifle, from the outpost walked down and stood on the hill yelling at the shepherds to leave with their sheep. Team members videotaped the events. The settler, who was also video taping them, called to them in perfect American English, “Come here to me!” Three times he pointed the gun at the team. The settler did not respond to the team members trying to communicate, whereas he made a phone call. A few minutes later, two brown boot Israeli soldiers came (without a vehicle) and stood with him. The commander spoke to the shepherd (sounded like ordering him to leave.) a CPTer asked the commander, “What’s the problem?”. He did not look at her or respond. Soon the shepherd started taking his sheep down the hill and motioned for the internationals to follow him, so they did. The soldiers and settler then turned and walked up the hill.

Friday 17 August 2007

In the morning two CPTers travel to Khoruba and accompany three shepherds in valley, gradually moving their flock east along north side of valley to a location southeast of the Mit’spe Ya’er outpost. Patrol pickup drove along Roman road and stopped for observation. After a few minutes a jeep with four soldiers arrived and met with patrol. Several Palestinian men from at-Tuwani soon arrive in the area. Following discussion with the patrol, two soldiers approached shepherds to inquire about their presence. Shepherds explained their intention to graze their flocks on family land as they have done for many years. Soldiers hassled shepherds about having no ID. Soldiers returned to jeep, talked on phone and with patrol, took pictures and then patrol drove away. Soldiers appeared content with the situation, then casually withdrew while shepherds begin moving the flock back toward village.

Sunday 19 August 2007

In the morning two CPTers accompanied shepherds with their flocks on the north side of Humra valley. No disturbance. As flock moved from watering site on south side of valley, a young boy alerts shepherds. A white sadden driving on the roman road and stopping across the valley from our location. Drover got out and began blowing the shofar, ram’s horn, a display that lasted a few minutes. Afterward he took a guitar from the hatchback and sat for a while beside the car, playing and singing. Some shouts were exchanged between the entertainer and the villagers. Next he proceeded to again blow the shofar for a minute or so. He retreated to the car and gradually departed, driving back to the east as he had come.

In the morning two CPTers went to monitor a flying checkpoint partway up the road to Karmel. Four soldiers were there in jeep 737, # 610769. Several vehicles passed through without any delay.

At mid-day, an army helicopter flew over village apparently observing and monitoring village activity.

Monday 20 August 2007 Settlers working on a Palestinian field near Susya

5.00 pm The team was required to document settlers working on the Palestinian land along Rd. 317 near the road to Susiya village. A Dove and a CPTer went along with four ISM’ers filmed and engaged with the soldiers and police. A settler named D. was pounding in new fence posts along the edge of the field near the road. Around him were about a dozen other settlers of various ages, possibly his family. Further out in the field a man was working, and someone told us it was a Thai laborer. There were two Israeli military jeeps, #737 with plates: #610769, and #738 with plates 611019. A reservist soldier, who said he was also a lawyer, had a document dated August 9, that he said allowed only D. to be on this land and no one else. He read and explained it to D. The soldiers asked D. to stop the work he was doing. He argued and then stopped. An ISMer said that they were told that there would be a final court decision on this land on Sept 24. The soldiers asked the team to stop filming but they ignored them and continued. Two police jeeps came, one with red license # 22-408-71, and the second was #61104 with license # 22-247-74 . The group of internationals pointed out to the soldiers that the Thai laborer working out in the field violated the document that said only D. could be on the land. The police then went into the field and ordered the Thai worker to leave the field. The police asked for the team passports and wrote down information. The police asked the team to leave, but they stayed until every policeman and settler left the area