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Extremist settler attacks shepherd and brutally abuses flock

28 September 2011  | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

On the 17th of September Israeli colonists attacked a shepherd near Sha’ab el-Butom, resulting in several sheep injured and the arrest of the young shepherd.

Sha’ab el-Butom is a small Bedouin village in South Hebron Hills not even mentioned in most maps, a village that faces daily harassment from the surrounding illegal settlements and outposts composed by the most ideological settlers in the West Bank. On Saturday September 17th of September, Nahel Ahmed Mousa Aburem, a 23 year old shepherd, went as usual down the road with his sheep when one settler accompanied by a soldier from the illegal Abigail settlement approached him, shouting for him to come towards them.

“Why are you here?” they asked, and Ahmed simply answered “This is my land.”

“No! It’s a closed military area!”

Aburem then tried to explain to them that he had permission from the military and the police to stay there and go around with his sheep. It was not a good answer for the settler. With ideology based on extreme interpretation of Judaic law, his reaction was to start beating Ahmad’s sheep with stones and sticks.

3 sheep lost their eyes, one died, another one was pregnant but lost her kid, and four others tried desperately to escape. The soldier was just 10 metres away, and Ahmed asked him help to stop the settler but he didn’t react so he tried to reach the sheep and the settler threw stones at him too and tried to grab his head while Ahmed tried defend himself pushed the settler away.

This was enough to make an Israeli army jeep arrive and bring Aburem to a military base near Susiya and then to the police station in Kiryat Arba where they told him that he wanted to shoot the settler. He had to spend 2 nights in the police station in Kiryat Arba, 2 nights in the detention centre in Jerusalem, referred to as The Russian Compound, 2 other nights in Ramla prison, and then finally one day in Ofer for the supposed court hearing where they actually just gave him conditions and a bill of 5000 shekels needed to be paid for his release. His family paid, while he must meet the condition of signing his name every Tuesday in the Kiryat Arba police station.

Aburem said that he is supposed to have a court hearing by the end of October, but speculated that precarious and manipulative court procedures would play with time and be at the whim of the court.

“In any case” he said “we want to make actions in cooperation with Israeli and International activists in order to resist and keep going back to our land.”