Following constant violence by the residents of the illegal Yitzhar settlement and the Israeli army, which culminated on Saturday 20 September with the murder of 14 year old Suhayb Salin, the terror inflicted on the village of Asira al Qibliya has not abated. For the last 4 nights villagers have reported that at least 2 army jeeps have entered the village releasing sounds bombs between midnight and the early hours of the morning each night before leaving.
In the last month the residents of Yitzhar settlement have been inflicting a reign of terror on the local Palestinian population. Footage taken on a camera supplied by B’Teselm showed settlers and the army attacking residents of the village and vandalising their property. In a statement to the BBC the Israeli army said that they see “the wounding of civilian Palestinians as severe, and will continue to enforce law and order”. Indeed the then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated the attack was “intolerable” and police would be investigating.
International activists visited the village on Friday 26 September and no Israeli police or army officials had interviewed the villagers about the events that took place during the invasion by the Yitzhar settlers.
Suhayb Salin was shot in both legs followed by multiple bullet wounds to his chest by the Israeli army. The army alleged that Suhayb was heading towards the settlement in order to throw a Molotov cocktail, however, no evidence of such a device or any weapons have so far been presented. Amir Salin the brother of Suhayb, was arrested on the evening of Monday 22 September shortly after his brothers funeral and villagers and the family are still awaiting to hear on what charges.
Much of the village’s land populated olive trees, falls near the settlement and with the harvest due to start in the next 2 weeks, collaboration between the army and the settlers to inflict violence on the Palestinian population, requires a strong international presence. The Israeli administration has only allowed 3 days for the farmers to access their lands in an area that requires at least 10 days to harvest. This leaves them open to violent and indeed fatal attacks by settlers during this economically important period for Palestinian farmers and their families, who rely heavily on the annual harvest.