Jabri Farm Demonstration 31 August 2007
A group of 40 activists, Palestinians, internationals, Israelis, ISM, CPT, the Children of Abraham and Taayush came to the jabri farm in Hebron for to demonstrate with the family, which faces displacement due to settler expansion. They came to collect hay for the owner’s goats clear the land of rocks and shrubs, and ready the land for planting fruit. A group of 80 settlers turned up to try and prevent the activists from working the land. The settlers stole tools from the activists that put them down so they could rest. A settler leader went looking for tools on the ground and then instructed other settlers the take the tools and hide them in the synagogue (a tent that the settlers illegally erected on the Jabri family’s land). When this happened the military did nothing to intervene. The activists tried to negote the return on the tools with the military but they still did not return the tools. This lead to several scuffles breaking out where settlers punched and kicked the activists. One settler was taken away out of the group of ten that started the malicious attacks. At one point a Palestinian was rugby tackled to the floor with no provocation and had to be taken to hospital for further treatment as his back was badly hurt. This lead to some of the settlers leaving and the situation calmed down for a while.
Settler children shouted abuse and threw stones at the activists as they tried to work. This went on throughout the day. As the activists got closer to the path which cuts the farm land in half, the settlers returned to cause more trouble. With the new arrivals the settlers started to get excited. When it came time for the Israeli activists to leave the settlers felt that they could now start shouting abuse at the Israeli activists. This caused some of the activists to become angry and they returned to the land to talk with the settlers this lead to the military to intervene and get in between the two groups of people, lucky the Palestinians did not get involved with the arguments although there where still on the land. The arguments went on for about 20 minuets.
When we tried to leave again the children started moving large rocks back on to the land which the activist spent all day clearing. As the police and military did nothing to stop this from happening, the activists returned to the farm land and arguments started again. The arguments were all in Hebrew but an Israeli activist translated parts of one of them:
“these kids need to be taken away by social workers. They throw stones at us; they shout abuse at use; and the funny thing is my taxes pay for their [settler children’s] education.”
When we left again the kid started to throw rocks on to the land again. This time the police tried to stop it but it looked more like a game of chase between kid of about 12. The police didn’t know how to act with the children and the children showed them no respect.
An hour later as we were sitting in the Jabri house, a settler came with his dog to scare the goats and cause trouble. As we came to film, he immediately ran up the hill with his dog. He then walked down shouting abuse at us and the few remaining Israelis. He then continued down the hill to tell the police that the Palestinians at the farm had attacked his dog. The police then came up the hill to talk with the Palestinians. There was then 20 minutes of negotiation before the police finally left satisfied that nothing happened. From then on the rest of the afternoon was quiet. A few activists stayed the night to insure that nothing happened.