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International Human Rights Workers Try to Enforce Israeli Court Order When the Military Will Not

Shortly after 8:00am an international human rights worker (HRW) rode his bicycle past an area where three settlers were working. The area in question was declared a closed military zone by the army on August 18th which forbade all but one settler man, Musi Doyts, from entering, or working on the property.

The international took some pictures until another HRW arrived with a video camera and began to film the settlers as they worked.

The settlers, Musi Doyts, one Thai worker, and one 16-17 year old boy, were busy erecting a fence on the land, and digging the ground in order to keep the fence level. They also attempted to move large stones that were in the way of the fence off the land, but the internationals intervened by entering the property and sitting on these large stones.

The international human rights workers also intervened by sitting on the fence, which was unrolled on the earth, so that the settlers could not erect it. At 8:46am a military jeep of soldiers arrived, and first began to speak with Musi Doyts and were then approached by the internationals who told them that the settlers were not allowed to work on the land as it was declared a closed military zone some time before. The soldiers however did not even leave the jeep, and remained inside until the police arrived some time later. The soldiers told the internationals that they knew nothing of the closed military zone order, instead asking them arbitrary questions like “where are you from,” and “why are you here.” The internationals then gave up with speaking with the soldiers and resumed filming the settlers who were still working.

After twenty more minutes, with the internationals continuing to intervene, an older settler man with a white beard arrived and immediately approached the internationals: yelling at them to leave the land. He attacked one of the internationals, and tried to break the video camera. The soldiers present did nothing during this attack, which lasted about four minutes.

Finally the violent settler left because the internationals refused to let him intimidate them and a police jeep finally arrived.

The internationals told the police of the military order, but the police said they knew nothing about it and refused to intervene and remove the settlers from the land.

A Palestinian man who works with the internationals began to film the encounter as he had documents from B’tselem allowing him to film without police or military harassment. He was able to translate much of what was said by the police, soldiers, and settlers.

The police began to take the statement of Musi Doyts who accused the internationals of damaging property, trespassing, and throwing stones. He also accused the Palestinian man of trespassing though he had never entered the land.