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Palestinian harvest in Hebron disrupted by settlers and Israeli forces

19 June 2009

On a piece of land located between two Jewish settlements (Kiryat Arba and Givat Ha’Avot) in an area north-east of Hebron, Palestinian farmers attempted to harvest their land. Accompanied by international from ISM and Israeli activists from Tayyoush, Palestinians hoped to participate in an agricultural activity on the al Jabari family land. The group’s objective was to harvest barley and olive tree branches to feed the family livestock.

The land is also the site of a large tent erected by settlers. The tent has been repeatedly demolished by the Israeli army but has been rapidly re-built following each demolition.

After ten minutes of harvesting, two settler women walked into the general vicinity and made calls on their cell-phones. They remained in the area for several minutes before leaving, after which a truck carrying three Israeli soldiers arrived. The soldiers told the group to stop and leave the land in Hebrew. The Palestinian, Israeli and international activists refused and continued to work the land. Another group of soldiers arrived by truck, along with a settler who began filming the group and asking them questions.  About 15 minutes later, another truck of soldiers, settlers and Israeli police arrived (totaling to 10 soldiers, 5 police and 7 settlers). The settlers attempted to provoke the activists with verbal abuse and their cameras.

The settlers and soldiers continued to harass the Palestinians. One settler kicked an international solidarity activist in the leg. Several members of the group continued to try to work. Eventually, the Palestinian farmers chose to leave the area with the crops they had successfully collected.