22nd March 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Bruqin, Occupied Palestine
On March 20, four settlers from Havat Ma’on illegal outpost attacked, in two different places at the same time, two internationals and seven Palestinian shepherds while grazing flocks on their own land. The settlers were armed with a gun and slingshots.
At 9.58 am a settler with a gun chased two Palestinian shepherds away, while grazing between the Palestinian village of Tuba and Havat Ma’on Israeli illegal outpost. He first shouted at the shepherds and then ran after them for more than two kilometers. The harassment lasted for about one hour, when the shepherds finally arrived to Tuba.
In the meanwhile, at 10.03 am three settler teens fired a petard from the outpost in order to scare the Palestinians who were in Meshaha valley. About 15 minutes later the Israeli Police arrived to the place and spoke to the settlers and the Palestinian shepherds. The police allowed the latter to graze in Meshaha valley, south side of the outpost.
At 10.40 am a masked settler and two children went to the same valley and attacked five Palestinian shepherds, three men and two women. By using slingshots, the attackers threw stones against the shepherds and the internationals, for about five minutes. During the assault the settlers entered Palestinian private land. At a later stage the Israeli police arrived to the place and the attackers ran away. The policeman saw them going back to the outpost but did not try to stop them. One of the Palestinians attacked told the police the event adding that a settler with a gun was still chasing away a Palestinian shepherd from Tuba, on the other side of the outpost. The Israeli police moved to the village of Tuba together with the Palestinian and an international volunteer, while the rest of the Palestinian shepherds successfully grazed their flocks in Meshaha valley until around 12.20 am.
At 11.30 am the police car arrived to Tuba and after five minutes the policeman reached the settler who chased the Palestinian shepherds away. The settler was still close to the Palestinian village. The policeman inquired one of the Palestinians, Ahmed Jundiya, and the settler. After that both of them got in the police car and were driven to Kiryat Arba police station. The two filed a complaint against each other: the settler maintained that the shepherds were on Israeli land and Jundiya proved, thanks to his camera provided by B’tselem organization for human rights, that he was chased away while grazing his flock on Palestinian land.
The Israeli police decided to investigate more in order to define within three months whom that land belongs to. Jundiya could come back home at about 4.30 pm.
Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills face the Israeli occupation with the popular nonviolent resistance.
Operation Dove has maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.