Settler Guards, Army, Confiscate Farmers’ Equipment

19 October 2010

On Monday, October 18th, 2010, at around 3:30pm, settler security guards from Gush Ezion Settlement harassed two Palestinian farmers from Beit Ommar and confiscated their truck and bulldozer. The farmers were on their lands as they attempted to drive a large truck filled with dirt to fill a sink-hole created by sewage dumped by the settlement the day before. An armed settler guard stopped the farmers, hit one of them, and confiscated his identity card. Another guard then proceeded to take the farmers’ bulldozer, which had been used the day before to tow away a bulldozer submerged by sewage from the settlement.

Settler guards do not have the authority to take any property, including the bulldozer and card, from Palestinian farmers. Palestinians and an international activist with the Palestine Solidarity Project and the National Committee came to the area to support the farmers. When the settler guard tried to drive away, still with the farmer’s ID, one of the activists blocked his car and demanded that he give it back. The Israeli army and the DCO also came to the area and refused to give back the property. Soldiers threw two sound bombs at the activists, who would not leave the area until the ID was returned.

After about an hour of argument, the farmers agreed to drive their truck away from the area in exchange for the return of the ID. One of the settler guards physically pushed the farmers into the truck before they drove away. However, the bulldozer was not returned. After the farmers drove the truck to Road 60, the truck was also taken by the army.

The day before on October 17th, settlers from Gush Ezion released thousands of liters of raw sewage onto Beit Ommar farmland, flooding about 70 dunams of grapevines and submerging a bulldozer.