[Editorial note: As the media, particularly in the U.S., does not present these stories, it’s important for us to provide information and accounts so that more people can have a deeper understanding of the human rights violations that are occurring in the West Bank and Gaza, and overall for people to have a broader lens on the region. So as we post about violence that occurs in West Jerusalem, so it is our duty to account for human rights violations and violence that goes on, often un- or under-reported, in the West Bank and Gaza.]

crossposted from Learning in Palestine

Last night, the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) (where I am currently volunteering) got a call that Palestinian farmers had been attacked by Settlers on their lands close to Far’ata, Qalqiliya district. We went there to see if internationals could help in some way to stop the attack. By the time we arrived the attack had ended so we visited the Mayor of a neighboring village, the home of a journalist who had witnessed the attack and we also met with the victims. During this time we were served three cups of tea in three different locations and were practically begged to stay the night. Amidst this extreme, but ubiquitous Palestinian hospitality, we took down the following Human Rights Report which the International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS) will send out to hundreds of individuals and organizations. To see many other reports, please visit: http://www.iwps.info/en/index.php

Human Rights Report No. 369

Human Rights Summary: Three Palestinians injured on their lands close to Far’ata, Qalqiliya district by a group of settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad and soldiers
Date of incident: July 21, 2008
Time of incident: Approximately 6pm
Place: Far’ata, Qalqiliya
Witness/es: Victims, villagers

Description of Incident:

At approximately 5.30pm on July 21, 2008, two Palestinians farmers from Immatin in the Qalqiliya district were working on their land, in a valley close to Far’ata when they saw five settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad approaching, two on horses, three on foot. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed over towards the farmers from Immatin to help them. Seeing this, the settlers went up the hill, yelling at the Palestinians that they would beat them, throwing stones on them and starting smaller fires. Approximately 15 more masked settlers gradually joined them.

At approximately 6pm some 15 Israeli soldiers arrived. The Palestinian farmers reported that they did not do anything to push the settlers away. When a 54 year old Palestinian farmer approached the soldiers to ask why they were letting the settlers attack the farmers on their lands, a settler came between the soldier and the Palestinian and sprayed the Palestinian with an unknown chemical substance on his arms, hands and in his eyes, which caused them to burn and inflame so that he could not see. Other settlers joined in hitting this Palestinian with a stick on the back of his neck and on the top of his hand. When his 22 year old son tried to stop the settlers from attacking his father, the settler sprayed his arms and hands with the same unknown substance.

According to the victims, the soldiers did nothing to stop the settlers from hitting them. However, they began shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the Palestinians. A 34 year old Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet at the top of his thigh from approximately thirty meters away. After this, a soldier threw a tear gas bomb directly in front of him.

The farmers reported that the fires, some started by the settlers and others started by the heat of the teargas canisters, destroyed 50 olive trees at one location and 10 more at another location, before Palestinian firemen could put them out.

After the confrontation had ended, the injured Palestinians went to the local clinic where they received medical treatment. Both Palestinian men who had been sprayed with the unknown chemical substance reported that the burning sensations caused by the spray had not subsided the following day, more than 20 hours after the initial attack.

Report written by: Danielle and Andjelka
Edited by: Isabel and Kim
Date report written on: July 22nd 200

The International Women’s Peace Service, Haris, Salfit, Palestine.