30 April 2009
On the 30th of April, five farmers from the village of Asira ash-Shamaliya and two international solidarity activists were detained while trying to farm their lands close to an Israeli military camp. Asira ash-Shamaliya is a Palestinian village north of the city of Nablus. An Israeli military camp was built more than ten years ago on the mountain between the village and Nablus. Lands close to the military camp belong to several Palestinian farmers, who until recently have been too afraid to access their lands due to constant army harassment.
At around 9pm, the five farmers and solidarity activists arrived at the fields with a tractor, a donkey, and a horse. As soon as the farmers appeared, an army jeep drove up along the military road which connects the camp to nearby Checkpoint 17. Three soldiers got out and ordered the farmers and internationals to give them their IDs. The farmers were told to tie up their animals, as they were going to held for a long time. The farmers and internationals were then detained along the side of the road for more than half an hour, before being ordered into a jeep.
The seven detainees were driven several kilometers away to the illegal Israeli settlement of Shavei Shomron. The jeep stopped at the entrance to the settlement and the internationals were told that they could leave, but that the Palestinians would be detained for several more hours alongside the road. At around 12:00pm, the farmers were given back their IDs, and the internationals and Palestinians returned to the village in a public taxi. Before leaving, the army told the farmers that it was forbidden for them to return to their lands without permission from the DCO. However, the DCO frequently withholds permission for Palestinians to access their lands close to Israeli settlements or military camps, which are built on stolen Palestinian land.