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Two Palestinians Injured, Five Israeli' Arrested

Two Palestinians Injured and Five Israeli Activists Arrested in
the Village of Turmas’ayya During an Israeli Settler Attack.

Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement outpost near Shilo
surrounded villagers from nearby Turmas’ayya during the yearly
Palestinian olive harvest, attacking two villagers who had been
separated from the rest of the harvest. Talal Gebrara, an elderly
member of the Turmas’ayya municipality, had parked his car and was
walking back to the mountains when he was confronted by a carload of
Israeli settlers, yelling at him in Hebrew. ‘I didn’t know what they
were saying, but I knew they wanted to fight me’. Settlers then
punched him in the head, the blow striking his temple. Talal recalls
that he tried to fight back, but was quickly overwhelmed when two more
carloads of settlers arrived. ‘I am just one old man, and there were
twelve of them, from 25 to 40 years old’. After suffering a few more
blows, Talal ran over to the nearby Israeli military, who had been
standing by, doing nothing to protect him. With the soldiers, he
walked back to his car, and found it had been destroyed by the
settlers – windows and windscreen smashed and all tyres slashed.
Another car parked nearby also had its windscreen and windows smashed
by the settlers.

Villagers also report a woman from the village was then attacked by
settlers as she made her way back from the olive groves towards the
road. Despite having her five small children with her, settlers
reportedly sprayed an unknown burning substance in her face, causing
redness and swelling.

During these attacks, a 90 year old shelter in the olive groves,
belonging to a Palestinian family was torched by unknown persons. Awad
Hazama, whose family owns the shelter and the surrounding lands, was
harvesting olives at the time, but didn’t see the arsonists. He was
accompanied to the lands by Israeli activists, due to the threat of
settler violence, which was suspected due to the recent erection of an
illegal settlement outpost on the lands.

The accompanying Israeli activists saw the flames and moved closer in
order to take photos, when they were set upon by settlers throwing
stones at them. The activists report that they attempted to run away,
but were cornered by a settlement security guard, who, loading a gun
in their faces, demanded they get into his security car, while he
called the police. Quickly, they were surrounded by settlers armed
with clubs and machine guns. The activists, fearing for their lives,
were removed from the situation when they were arrested by Israeli
police officers on unsubstantiated charges of arson.

Activists report that the charges were based on the accusations of one
settler who they claim was not present during the event. The
accusations were levelled at one activist in particular, an elderly
photographer.

Villagers, including the family who own the land and structure, reject
any suggestion that the Israeli activists were involved in the fire.
‘That’s not true. No’, said Talal, who drove the activists to the
olive groves. Many villagers, rather, believe that it was the settlers
who torched the shelter, in order to disrupt the Palestinian olive
harvest.

‘When they make trouble like this, it’s good for them, because
military come and everybody comes and it makes a big problem. Then
next year when we want to go to our lands, they [Israeli DCO] will say
no.’

Currently Palestinians from Turmas’ayya are only allowed to access
these olive groves during olive harvest. They report that if they
attempt to go at other times they are attacked by settlers and driven
away. This is the second incident during Turmas’ayya’s olive harvest
this year, following harassment by settlers on Sunday.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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