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Photos: Three arrested as settlers, soldiers disrupt Hebron olive harvest

Israeli soldiers arrest an International Solidarity Movement volunteer for interfering in the attempted arrest of one of his colleagues who was filming confrontations between settlers, the Al Azzeh family who had just harvested their olives, and the military, October 22, 2012. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

It was the first time Hashem Al Azzeh could harvest his olives in five years. Living directly next door to the Tel Rumeida settlement, which like all West Bank settlements is illegal under international law, he has faced years of harassment and violence from some of Israel’s most ideological settlers. But this year, having coordinated with the proper authorities, he planned to quickly and quietly harvest the few trees standing between his house and the caravans stacked on top of each other to form the Jewish enclave just up the hill.

An International Solidarity Movement volunteer (right) helps Hashem Al Azzeh harvest his family’s olives directly beneath the Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida in the West Bank city of Hebron. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Accompanied by a handful of International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers, and later by his children as they returned home from school, they made relatively short work of the few trees there–many of the olives had already been picked by the settlers. One of the ISMers was an experienced tree pruner who used his skills to trim the neglected trees back into proper shape. Just as he was cutting a few final branches on the last and most ancient olive tree, they were interrupted by the  shouts of settler men charging into the small grove.

Israelis from Tel Rumeida settlement harass Hashem Al Azzeh and his family in front of their home after they’ve harvested their olives. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

From the ISM report:

The situation quickly escalated as settlers pushed the Palestinians in order to try and enter Hasham’s house. Within ten minutes the soldiers arrived and began to separate the Palestinian family and internationals and siding with the Israeli settlers. Arguments continued with both sides yelling “this is my land,” regardless of the fact that Hashem has the deeds to the land. The settlers were also heard shouting “This is not your land, this is the land of the Jewish people.”

Israelis from the Tel Rumeida settlement point an Israeli soldier toward the Al Azzeh family and ISM volunteers who had just completed their modest olive harvest. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

At this point around ten more settlers had come down and joined in, shouting abuse at Hasham and his family. The soldiers pushed the Palestinians and internationals back towards Hasham’s house threatening to arrest anyone who did not obey. The soldiers grabbed a young Palestinian man by the name of Ahmad Al Atrash who was video taping standing behind international activists: pushed him against the wall and zip-tied his arms behind his back.

With Israelis from Tel Rumeida settlement looking from above, Israeli soldiers arrest Ahmad Al-Atrash of B’tselem for filming confrontations between settlers, the Al Azzeh family who had just harvested their olives, and the military. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Then they went after an international activist, trying to arrest him for taking video footage. While [he was] trying to escape they grabbed another of the international activists standing by, put him in a headlock on the ground and arrested him. Jawad Abu Eisheh who had arrived in solidarity with his neighbors was also captured and arrested.

Israeli soldiers arrest an International Solidarity Movement volunteer for interfering in the attempted arrest of one of his colleagues who was filming confrontations between settlers, the Al Azzeh family which had just harvested their olives, and the military. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers arrest Jawwad Abu Eisheh, a neighbor of the Al Azzeh family who had just harvested their olives near the Tel Rumeida settlement. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

Following the arrests, other officers arriving on the scene later acknowledged that the land and trees belonged to the Al Azzeh family, but ordered them to stay off of the property for the rest of the day. The Palestinians and international volunteer were released later that evening after being taken to the police station at the nearby Israeli settlement Kiryat Arba.

With Israelis from Tel Rumeida settlement looking on from above, Israeli soldiers arrest two Palestinians and an international volunteer after confrontations between settlers, the Al Azzeh family who had just harvested their olives, and the military. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

 

The arrests were also captured on video:

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    1. As a way far away person, I think that neither resident Palestinians nor foreigners (non-Israelis) can expect much from the superimposed military system. Only actions against Israeli Jews (activists) might create a ripple; it is harder for the system(s) to deny Jewish rights, although they are often so denied. One must keep making ripples until one becomes a wave.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, these IDF actions attach the hard Torah ideology of the vanguard settlers to the State. The State pretends otherwise, saying it is not directly responsible; but the present event shows, once again, otherwise.

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    2. rsgengland

      I watched the whole tape and I must confess i am a bit underwhelmed by the whole incident .
      A bit of pushing and shoving , a lot of verbals and three arrests .
      No violence ,no assaults ,no blood .
      The violence at clubs and pubs on the weekends is far worse in the UK.
      If this is the best the ISM and PSC can manage , and then they try to call it Israeli brutality , boggles the mind.

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