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Palestine: Settler Poison Phenomenon Spreads


Settler Poison Phenomenon Spreads – Pellets found near Tapuach settlement

In a recent escalation of ongoing attacks against Palestinians, Israeli settlers have spread poison on sheep grazing grounds. The Palestinian communities of Yasouf and a number of villages in the south Hebron hills have had their food and livelihood devastated as a result.

On the morning of April 12, 2005, a shepherd from Yasouf village in Salfit was grazing his sheep when he noticed small pink pellets on the ground near the Yasouf roadblock across from the Israeli settlement of Tapuach. The incident was reported to the police, who took the shepherd's testimony and kept the box of pellets. Bir Zeit University found the pink pellets to be wheat seeds boiled in Brodifacoum, a rat poison which the villagers fear is entering their sheeps' milk.

Since March 23rd, Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement outpost of Havat Ma'on in the south Hebron hills have repeatedly poisoned the land of At-Tuwani and Mufakara villages with thousands of bright green pellets of barley boiled in Fluoroacetamide. Unlike Brodifacoum, Fluoroacetamide has no known antidote and has killed 22 sheep in At-Tuwani and left more than 70 ill.

Fluoroacetamide is highly toxic and very soluble; if inhaled or touched it can be harmful to humans, and it can damage the land if dissolved by rain. The poison is banned in many countries and cannot be obtained in Israel without a government permit.

On April 6, villagers of At-Tuwani found pink pellets, identical to those found on Yasouf's land earlier this week. If Tapuach follows Havat Ma'on's lead, more poisonings can be expected. Palestinian shepherds in both areas are already prevented from using the majority of their land due to growing settlements and outposts.

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