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Kiryat Arba settlers throw party on privately owned Palestinian land

At 1:40pm a group of international human rights workers received a call from a Palestinian man, Anan Jabouri, who lives on land he owns directly next to Kiryat Arba settlement. Jabouri told a local Palestinian resident, and member of ISM, that a large group of Israeli settlers had set up a tent on his land and were gathering underneath it. He requested that internationals come to his home in order to ensure the settlers would not become violent, and also to potentially make them leave his land since they had no permission to be there.

In fact the Israeli settlers surrounding the Jabouri home have caused many problems for this family in the past, including constructing a tent which they claim to be a “synagogue” despite the Israeli army and Israeli courts having declared the tent illegal multiple times. This tent is located on the Jabouri family’s land and has caused frequent tension between the settlers and the Palestinian land owners.

It was next to this area that the settlers had set up a tarp/awning for multiple people to stand under.

When the human rights workers arrived at the area, at about 2:15pm, they approached a gathering of Israeli settlers around a band playing music, which was taking place on the Jabouri land, and blocking them from working there. A group of Israeli soldiers and Border Police were also present, and any attempt to walk across the land, or in the vicinity of the gathering, resulted in them blocking passage.

The human rights workers attempted, with members of the Jabouri family, to approach the gathering and pressure the soldiers to remove the settlers from the land. The soldiers told Anan Jabouri that the settlers would be finished in about half an hour and would then be forced to leave.

However, the Israeli settler gathering continued for over an hour longer, despite the Jabouri family’s, and human rights workers’, attempt to encourage the soldiers to make the settlers leave the area. In fact when the group of internationals and Jabouri family members, joined by three members of CPT, tried to work on the land, the army kept telling them to stop.

Finally when the settlers decided to leave the area there were many tense moments. The settlers approached Anan Jabouri and tried to make him leave, and also attempted to pressure the soldiers to make him leave the area. Despite this, the majority of the settlers did leave the land, which allowed the human rights workers and the Palestinian family to start working it.

However, the efforts to work all of the land were thwarted by continued presence of about ten settlers which consisted of seven young girls and three adults. This is because the army and police blocked the area around where the settlers were present. This meant in reality a quarter of the land was out of bounds for working.

After this the family managed to bring out sheep and horses to graze the land. This continued peacefully until the son of Anan Jabouri rode the horse outside of the land onto the road. When he returned to the land leading the horse he was met by an army commander who attempted to stop the horse from being led back up onto the grazing point. The son of Anan Jabouri argued with the army commander for a while until the horse eventually broke free from its reigns and ran up the hill. The army commander at this point wanted to arrest Jabouri’s son attempting to put him in the back of the army jeep. This was met by intervention by the human rights workers, who stood in front of the jeep, trying to stop an arrest which seemed to have no reason. The result was that the Israeli police intervened and gave everyone an ultimatum stating that every Palestinian and international must leave the land or the son of Anan Jabouri would be arrested. Anan Jabouri in fear of his son being arrested agreed to leave his land, and his son was released.