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Palestinians organize a picnic protest near Susiya outpost

11 July 2009

On Saturday the 11th of July, solidarity activists of Ta’ayush and inhabitants of Susiya (South Hebron Hills) organized a picnic of resistance next to the outpost of the settlement of Susiya.

Activists from the ISM, Tayyoush and Palestinian residents gathered to non-violently protest the illegal outpost. The action was planned for 8am, but two buses with Tayyoush activists driving from Jerusalem were held for approximately two hours at a checkpoint.

At 10am, around 50 Palestinian, Israeli and international activists gathered near the outpost to have a picnic as a means to challenge ongoing illegal outposts on Palestinian-owned land.

On the way to the land, the activists were stopped by Israeli forces. They were able to walk around the soldiers and set up their picnic near the outpost. Israeli soldiers surrounded the picnic area and began to hassle the activists. They announced a ‘closed military zone’ and demanded that everyone leave the area.

Despite the fact that the land is Palestinian owned, and owners have a right to hold a picnic, Israeli soldiers began to physically push the picnickers away from the area. Upon inquiry of what the purpose of the ‘closed military zone’ order was, soldiers told activists that it was meant to ‘protect’ the settlers. Then Israeli occupation forces arrested three Tayyoush activists, using unnecessary violence against the activists.

The three arrested were released within hours due to lack of charges against them.

The Palestinian residents of Susiya face difficulties in living their lives, due to the violence from nearby Israeli settlers and soldiers. As a result of the maintanance of the illegal settlement of Susiya, (illegal in international law by the Geneva Conventions), Palestinians cannot graze their sheep or harvest their land. Israeli soldiers or settlers frequently harass residents and forbid them from going on their land with ‘closed military zone’ orders.