Today members of Taayush went to help the Jabari family with agricultural work in Hebron. The Jabari home is near the settlement of Kiryat Arba, and not far from the ‘House of Contention’ further inside the city. This location has made the Jabari’s a frequent target for harassment by settlers.
After meeting with the family and drinking coffee, Taayush members, some local Palestinians and a few international volunteers went to a small field nearby owned by the Jabari’s. We quietly collected plants to feed their goats until a group of soldiers, border police, and regular police showed up.
They said we had to leave and they were declaring a ‘Closed Military Zone’ on the area we were working on. While we had been working there had been no problems, there were no settlers present, and we were on the Jabari’s land. Still, the police showed up in force to make us leave.
One settler by the name of Itamar Ben-Gvir came up with the police. Ben-Gvir is a former Kach member and a radical right-wing settler. He was standing with the police, telling them to arrest us, as they were preparing to remove us from the area. After a short time, the border police came forward and started pushing us away from the field. Meanwhile, Ben-Gvir was standing inside the Closed Military Zone, on the Palestinian’s land.
Today’s action by the Israeli soldiers and police seemed particularly unjust. We have a man who needs outsiders to help him safely work on his own land, and when it is done peacefully and without any interaction with settlers, the army and police force them all to leave. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that Palestinians should be permitted to work their own lands, but the IDF and police choose to flout this ruling when it suits them.