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Settlers attempt to prevent farmers working their land in Susiya

On Saturday 26th of July at 15:00 around 10 Palestinian farmers and 20 Israeli and international peace activists went to escort two Palestinians driving tractors in Susiya. The tractors would be escorted to land that they aren’t able to work without such assistance.

While walking towards the land to be farmed the group was stopped by a settler who told one of the Palestinian farmers “your land is there, go there!”. As a result there was an argument between the Palestinian and the settler, however the group was able to continue after a brief interruption. After the second interruption from the same settler the army arrived and attempted to block the group’s progression towards the land where the tractors were meant to arrive. The army however, was unable to stop the procession as they appear to have no jurisdiction over Israeli citizens.

Twenty minutes after the army arrived the tractors began to work the land. This caused the settlers, who were previously arguing with the Palestinian farmers and the Israeli activists to run towards the tractors and block them from working. One settler pointed his gun at a Palestinian farmer working in his tractor to scare him away from his land while others lay in front and behind of the tractors. The two Palestinians driving tractors left soon after, along with the Palestinians fearing arrest and the confiscation of their tractors. The police were called and declared the area a closed military zone for everyone, and all but one Israeli left the land. The Israeli who stayed on the land in protest was later arrested. The settlers who had come onto the land to block the tractors then continued to follow the group up the hill and began to disturb other Palestinians who were grazing their sheep further up the hill. This meant that the police were obliged to follow the settlers up the hill, which resulted in an arrest of a Palestinian at 17:00 for unknown reasons.

This action took part on the first day after a five day closed military zone of all of the farm land in the Susiya region. The closed military had stopped farmers from entering their land and therefore working on it and grazing their sheep. This has forced farmers to buy food for their sheep at their own expense, something which has had a huge negative impact.