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Settlers with machine guns and knives attack farmers, destroy crops and sheep

Settler attack on Yanoun leaves 5 injured

Full story and EAPPI appeal to take action/model letter etc below

By EAPPI
July 09, 2012

Locals in the tiny Palestinian village of Yanoun in the West Bank are in still in shock after the latest attack on their community by the neighbouring Itamar settlement. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) from the Yanoun team witnessed first-hand most of Saturday’s violence, which left five Palestinians in hospital.

The attack began mid-afternoon, when three Palestinian farmers working in their fields were set upon by settlers armed with machine guns and knives. The settlers stabbed three of the farmers’ sheep to death. When EAs arrived at the scene at the request of the head of the village, there were also fires burning in two wheat fields and an olive grove. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinians who were trying to reach the area to put out the fires.

Four members of the Bani Jaber family were badly injured, with some allegedly beaten both by soldiers and settlers. EAs were told that the worst-injured, Jawdat Bani Jaber was beaten and stabbed multiple times by settlers, then shot in the face and the foot by Israeli soldiers. He was then denied medical care for three hours. Another Yanoun villager, Jawdat Ibrahim was also reportedly beaten by both soldiers and settlers. In a badly wounded state, he was tied up and abandoned in his fields away from the village. He was not found by his family until the next morning, when he was rushed to hospital in Nablus.

The head of Yanoun village, Rashed Murrar says he fears the attack was designed to drive Palestinians off their wheat fields so they can be taken over by the Itamar settlement. Wheat farming is a vital source of income for the village, which has just 65 inhabitants and is surrounded on three sides by illegal settlement outposts.

Militant settlers from Itamar have a track record of attacking Yanoun residents. In 2002, the entire village was forced to flee and was only able to return due to the intervention of international and Israeli human rights groups. Since 2003, EAPPI has maintained a round-the-clock protective presence in Yanoun, reporting on human rights violations.

EAPPI and the World Council of Churches have consistently called on Israeli authorities to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect Palestinians from settler attacks.



Yanoun: Settlers and soldiers attack village, injuring 5

By Marshall Pinkerton, International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
July 8, 2012

On Saturday 7 July, 2012, the village of Yanoun, located 12km southeast of Nablus, was attacked by illegal settlers from the illegal Itamar settlement. Five Palestinians were injured in the attack and large sections of agricultural land were set ablaze.

The attack began at roughly 2pm. The illegal settlers descended on the village and began setting fire to sections of land and firing on sheep while they were grazing. In the course of the attack on Yanoun, 5 resident of Aqraba, (the neighbouring village) were injured to varying degrees. Two men, Ibrahim Hamid Ibrahim, and Adwan Rajih bini Naber were beaten by settlers, and another, Joudat Hamid Ibrahim was stabbed in the shoulder after being beaten as well. When the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) arrived, they joined in the attacks, injuring two more. Hakimun Ahmed Yusuf Bini Jaber, 42, was shot in the arm with live ammunition by an IOF soldier and Ashraf Adel Hamid Ibrahim, 29, was shot in the back with a tear gas canister when the soldiers attempted to scatter villagers who were to aid the injured.

The villagers who were aiding the injured attempted to carry the injured men to ambulances, but IOF soldiers blocked the roads and refused to let them through. The IOF and illegal settlers also stopped residents from putting out the fires. The first ambulance to leave was reportedly stopped at Huwwara checkpoint en route to a hospital in Nablus. Two of the injured men were taken from the ambulance and held in Israeli custody for an undetermined period of time. The second and third ambulance were not allowed to depart with those wounded for two hours.

After the attacks had stopped, IOF soldiers still held Adwan Rajih Bini Jaber captive, refusing to allow the ambulance carrying him to depart. Illegal settlers stood by heavily armed, protecting the fires that they had set to Palestinian land.

Nearing 6pm, illegal settlers and IOF soldiers once again advanced on the Palestinians, as internationals gathered to show solidarity, which ending in the firing of tear gas canisters and live ammunition into the air.

Yanoun and its residents have been subject to terrorism by illegal settlers from Itamar for many years. On October 19, 2002, there was a temporary mass exodus due to the harassment, drawing parallels with the refugees created in 1948. The villagers returned little by little in the weeks following, with the help of peace activists from Ta’ayush & other groups but the village still suffers from violent attacks regardless.

Marshall Pinkerton is a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).


URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Condemn Settler Attack on Palestinian Farmers in Yanoun & Call for Accountability
From: EAPPI Advocacy Officer
Date: 9 July 2012 08:50
Subject: URGENT ACTION APPEAL: Condemn Settler Attack on Palestinian Farmers in Yanoun & Call for Accountability
To: EAPPI Advocacy Officer

SUMMARY OF EVENTS:

On Saturday, 7 July 2012 at approximately 3:00PM (GMT+2) Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar approached three Palestinian farmers in Yanoun who were harvesting their wheat and grazing their sheep. The settlers were armed with knives and killed three of the farmers’ sheep.

A clash then ensued, in which the settlers and farmers began throwing stones at one-another. When EAs arrived to the scene, three fires were ablaze in the fields, but it was unknown whether the flames were intentionally lit by the settlers or were started by teargas canisters that the Israeli military fired at the farmers. Nonetheless, two wheat fields and one olive grove were burnt, and when other Palestinian farmers arrived at the scene to turn out the flames, Israeli soldiers and police prevented them from reaching the fields by firing more teargas at them.

In total six Palestinians were injured, and five were hospitalized:

  • Jawdat Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten and stabbed multiple times by settlers, then shot in the face and foot by Israeli soldiers. He was then handcuffed by Israeli soldiers and attacked again by the settlers while the soldiers pursued other Palestinian farmers. After being attacked, the military did not allow a present ambulance take him to a hospital or care for him for approximately 3-hours.
  • Ibrahim Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by a soldier on his head with the butt-stock of an M16 rifle, causing damage to his eye, and was later beaten by settlers while handcuffed.
  • Hakimun Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was shot in the arm at close range by a soldier.
  • Adwan Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by settlers with clubs.
  • Ashraf Bani Jaber: was beaten by a soldier with a club.
  • Jawdat Ibrahim (Hospitalized): was handcuffed, beaten by Israeli soldiers and then released for the settlers to attack as they watched. He was then tied up by the settlers and left on his land; he was found the next morning (Sunday, 8 July 2012).

Rashid, Mayor of Yanoun and long-time EAPPI local contact, expressed fear that settlers initiated the clash to enforce new invisible boundaries, which would defacto confiscate much of the area’s wheat fields to the Itamar Settlement.

ADDITTIONAL INFORMATION:

Yanoun is a small village in Area C of the West Bank, just southeast of Nablus. It has about 65 inhabitants who are dependent upon farming and animal husbandry as their main source of livelihood. The village is surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlement of Itamar and since 1996 the residents of Yanoun have consistently experienced settler harassment and violence, as well as property damage and confiscation.

In October of 2002 the settlers of Itimar forcibly evacuated Yanoun of its inhabitants. International humanitarian agencies and Israeli human rights organizations then came to Yanoun to provide a protective presence with the aim of facilitating the return of the community. These left Yanoun within weeks of the community’s return; however, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) has remained in Yanoun since October 2002. Based in Yanoun Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide a protective presence, monitor, and report on human rights violations in the community, as well as the entire Nablus Governorate and Jordan Valley.

INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW:

The International Court of Justice has stated that the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian persons in Times of War applies to the occupied Palestinian territory.

All Israeli settlements are illegal according to Article 49 the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states, “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.

Article 4
 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states, “Persons protected by the Convention are those who, at a given moment and in any manner whatsoever, find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a Party to the conflict or Occupying Power of which they are not nationals.” Thus, according to International Humanitarian Law, Israel has the duty as an occupying power to protect Palestinians from settler attacks.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE:

We encourage you to:

  • Forward this email to your networks.
  • Inform your representative in parliament about what is happened in Yanoun.
  • Update news/media agencies (radio, TV & print) in your countries about this incident.
  • Contact (Preferably fax) the following officials and call on them to condemn this attack and hold Israeli settlers accountable for the human rights violations that they commit against Palestinian civilians:

o   Your Ambassador and/or Consul General in Israel

§  http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/ForeignInIsrael/Continents

o   The Israeli Ambassador in your country

§  http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/Diplomatic+missions/Web+Sites+of+Israeli+Missions+Abroad.htm

You may use the sample letter below or draft your own:

Dear Ambassador / Consul General / Minister / Judge Advocate General / Lieutenant-General,

I call upon you to condemn Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians and to call for all those who violate human rights in the oPt to be held legally accountable for their actions.

On Saturday, 7 July 2012 at approximately 3:00PM (GMT+2) Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Itamar approached three Palestinian farmers in Yanoun who were harvesting their wheat and grazing their sheep. The settlers were armed with knives and killed three of the farmers’ sheep.

A clash then ensued, in which the settlers and farmers began throwing stones at one-another. Israeli soldiers and police arrived to the scene only to support the settlers’ attack on a defenseless community.

In total six Palestinians were injured, and five were hospitalized:

  • Jawdat Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten and stabbed multiple times by settlers, then shot in the face and foot by Israeli soldiers. He was then handcuffed by Israeli soldiers and attacked again by the settlers while the soldiers pursued other Palestinian farmers. After being attacked, the military did not allow a present ambulance take him to a hospital or care for him for approximately 3-hours.
  • Ibrahim Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by a soldier on his head with the butt-stock of an M16 rifle, causing damage to his eye, and was later beaten by settlers while handcuffed.
  • Hakimun Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was shot in the arm at close range by a soldier.
  • Adwan Bani Jaber (Hospitalized): was beaten by settlers with clubs.
  • Ashraf Bani Jaber: was beaten by a soldier with a club.
  • Jawdat Ibrahim (Hospitalized): was handcuffed, beaten by Israeli soldiers and then released for the settlers to attack as they watched. He was then tied up by the settlers and left on his land; he was found the next morning (Sunday, 8 July 2012).

Though the settlers were the attackers in this clash, the Israeli Military and Police provided them with protection to carry out the attack. The soldiers and officers attacked Palestinians who defended themselves from the settlers, did not attempt to put out the fires that blazed through Palestinians’ fields – nor let anyone else do so, and delayed medical attention for the victims of the attack.

Like the many Israeli settler attacks that take place on an on-going basis across the occupied Palestinian territory, no Israeli settlers were arrested during this attack.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME


Nader Hanna
Advocacy Officer
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine & Israel (EAPPI)
P.O. Box 741
Jerusalem 91000
Tel: +972 2 628 9402
Fax: +972 2 627 4499
Mobile: +972 54 815 7652
E-mail: eappi.advocacy@alqudsnet.com
Skype: eappi.advocacy
Website: www.eappi.org

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