Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Top Ten Reasons Ma’on and Havot Ma’on Have Got to Go:
Reason Number 7: Settlers are Stealing and Damaging Palestinian Property

Donkeys, sheep, crops, even the backpacks of school children aren’t safe from the settlers of Havot Ma’on and Ma’on. Settlers regularly damage and steal property belonging to the Palestinians residents of the South Hebron Hills and, like all over Palestine, the Israeli police refuse to prosecute settlers even when Palestinians present with overwhelming evidence of settler crimes.

Settlers Harvest Palestinian wheat (June 25, 2007)

Settlers have slashed olive trees and burnt crops. They have harvested fields planted by Palestinians, even stolen wheat out of the hands of Palestinians harvesters. This spring, they destroyed a field belonging to a family from At-Tuwani, one of the few with a wheat crop during this drought.

Settlers also regularly target livestock. On 3 occasions in March and April in 2005, Palestinians from At-Tuwani and Mufakara discovered poison on the fields where they graze their sheep. Many sheep became ill and died and for an entire year, farmers in the area were unable to sell their animal products. On March 26 2008, settlers shot two sheep and a goat, narrowly missing their shepherd. On November 15, 2008, 15 Israeli settlers from Havot Maon attacked three Palestinian shepherds and two CPTers accompanying them. During the attack, they hit the internationals with rocks, killed a donkey, and cut the throat of a second donkey. These incidents are more than property damage - they are a calculated effort to force Palestinians off of their land. (Photo: Demonstration against sheep poisoning.)

(Donkey Killed by Settlers, November 15 2008)

Police refuse to prosecute settlers in the South Hebron Hills, the same way that they ignore Palestinian complaints across the West Bank. According to OCHA, 80-90% of the files opened against Israeli settlers following attacks on Palestinians and their property are regularly closed by the Israeli police without prosecution. In light of this lawless behavior, Ma’on and Havot Ma’on have got to go.

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