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Religious zealots attack shepherd. Soldiers, playing ‘messiah’s donkey,’ back zealots

Israel/Palestine
on 7 Comments

Unfortunately there’s nothing unusual about Salah Sukamel Deweket’s story of being attacked by extremist settlers last week. Deweket was trying to graze his sheep on his land near Huwarra, a major Israeli military checkpoint, when he was attacked. Israeli soldiers supported the settlers.

Salah Sukamel Deweket (Photo by ISM)

Salah Sukamel Deweket (Photo by ISM)

Bracha is an illegal settlement with a hesder yeshiva , a religious extremist community whose students combine Torah study with combat service in the Israeli military.

Here is the exchange between Salah Sukamel Deweket and the soldiers, as reported by the International Solidarity Movement: Settlers from Bracha attack and harass farmer on his land:

The settlers resumed throwing stones at him in full view of soldiers stationed at the Israeli occupation forces checkpoint at Huwwara. The soldiers did nothing but watch as the Palestinian farmer was attacked. As an occupying power the Israeli military are meant to protect all citizens in the territory.

Salah asked the older settler why he had destroyed his wheat. “People who stay in Israeli land have to be good Israeli people”, the settler replied. “If this is Israeli land, where’s Palestinian land?” Salah asked. “There is no Palestinian land” the settler shouted back. The settlers continued to graze their sheep on Salah’s land and then encouraged their sheep to eat the olive trees of another Palestinian farmer who came to protect his land. 

It was only then that army jeeps came to intervene – asking why the Palestinian farmers were there. Salah tried to  explain the problem with the settlers to the army, who told him to take photos and go to DCO [District Coordination Office, a branch of Israeli occupation authority]. Salah then asked the soldiers if they were going to arrest the settlers, to which they said, ”we don’t know, it’s up to the judge.” When the soldiers were asked why they did not come earlier, they replied that it wasn’t their problem. The next day Salah tried to fix his wheat bales but the settlers kept coming and causing problems. Soldiers eventually came and told both Salah and the settlers to leave but said that the Palestinians must leave first.

We’ve recorded exchanges of this nature time and again, in varying degrees– soldiers acting as the Messiah’s donkey, to use a religious phrase for non-religious serving a religious aim.

Where’s the relief? Yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported once again about another ‘investigation‘ of Jewish extremist violence– “pricetag” attacks in East Jerusalem. But however feeble that investigation, the conditions don’t change. 

More from that ISM report:

Palestinians face many attacks by settlers of varying severity. Religious extremists living in illegal settlements attack Palestinian people, lands and crops. Palestinians have almost no means of legal recourse or protection from settler attacks but are routinely targeted by the army in mass arrests in the alleged defence of the Israeli occupation and settlements. Even when Palestinians can contact the DCO, the coordination office can often not solve issues with settlers who generally are treated with impunity under Israeli law. Settlements are illegal under international law under the fourth Geneva convention.

No, nothing changes.

Wheat fields (Photo by ISM)

Salah Sukamel Deweket’s wheat fields (Photo by ISM)

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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7 Responses

  1. amigo
    amigo
    June 17, 2013, 6:00 am

    Meanwhile back at the ranch—http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-price-tag-attacks-cannot-be-compared-to-hamas-terror.premium-1.530205

    PM supports designation as ‘forbidden organization’ but opposes classification as terror, claiming it would increase Israel’s delegitimization and damage its international standing.

    Go figure.

  2. CloakAndDagger
    CloakAndDagger
    June 17, 2013, 6:14 am

    Where’s the relief? Yesterday the Jerusalem Post reported once again about another ‘investigation’ of Jewish extremist violence– “pricetag” attacks in East Jerusalem. But however feeble that investigation, the conditions don’t change.

    Israel can’t bring itself to call pricetag what it is: terrorism.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/cabinet-stops-short-of-defining-price-tag-attacks-as-terror/

    What’s good for the goose doesn’t apply to Israeli ganders. Just read the comments to that article to see how depraved they have become as a nation. I don’t believe redemption is possible for them.

    • annie
      annie
      June 17, 2013, 9:49 am

      Israel can’t bring itself to call pricetag what it is: terrorism.

      how surprising!/not. the jpost ‘investigation’ link mentioned this:

      Last month Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein and members of the IDF, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and the State Attorney’s Office held a meeting to discuss the escalating violence.

      Participants at the meeting discussed harsher steps to deter such incidents, including legally defining “price-tag” incidents as acts of terror, according to sources.

      In the past, Weinstein had opposed such a legal definition, but according to sources, he is weighing shifting that opinion, given that the legal deterrents currently available to police have not been sufficient to halt these crimes.

      gee, after decades they’re considering it! but, just not yet….

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 17, 2013, 1:37 pm

        Livni is quoted in the Palestine papers. “I do not believe in law, especially international law” . A great choice for justice minister.

  3. Shmuel
    Shmuel
    June 17, 2013, 8:34 am

    Soldiers eventually came and told both Salah and the settlers to leave but said that the Palestinians must leave first.

    “Separating the two sides” and closing the area (i.e. to the legal owner as well as the trespassers) is standard practice, which obviously serves the interests of the settlers. The army often refers to such acts of trespassing, vandalism, theft and violence by settlers against Palestinians as “a brawl between shepherds” (k’tatah bein ro’im). Then again, cutting a Palestinian village off from its surroundings is referred to as “crowning” (kittur).

  4. Kate
    Kate
    June 17, 2013, 1:08 pm

    Thank you, Shmuel. I didn’t know those terms. IDF euphemisms are interesting – like ‘cutting the grass’ or ‘mowing the lawn’ for deadly attacks on Gaza.

  5. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    June 17, 2013, 6:44 pm

    illegal settler violence on the increase as another israeli minister admits [Palestinian hopes for two states ‘not possible’, says Israeli minister Bennett] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/naftali-bennett-two-state-solution-hopeless

    something is brooding as israeli arrogance grows day by day i can’t help but feel they are actually scare.

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