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Footage and testimonies! Israeli Activists report about the attempted lynching of Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by Anatot settlers, with Israeli police collaboration
PLEASE CIRCULATE AND POST WIDELY - THE CRIMES WILL NOT END WITHOUT AN
INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN AGAINST ISRAEL`S APARTHEID SYSTEM
1. A preliminary report with two clips and photos was published on Mondoweiss
2. A new (third) and longer clip from the attack was posted on Youtube today:
3. A new report - translated testimonies:
Israeli Activists report about the attempted lynching of Palestinian farmers and
Israeli activists by Anatot settlers, with Israeli police collaboration -
a. Background, as reported by activists:
For four years Yasin Abu Saleh el-Rifai and his wife Iman are fighting an almost
doomed battle to save their land. The plot has belonged to his family, the el-
Rifai family, for generations and it is his land, by inheritance. His
grandfather`s tomb is situated there too. The impressive structure of the tomb
still stands, but the settlers have desecrated it, removing the bones from the
tomb and destroyed the any remains in order to eliminate the evidence.
Unfortunately for him, and for many other residents of Anata, some of them
members of his family, an Israeli settlement by the name of Anatot (aka Almon)
was built on their land in 1982. This settlement has grown over the years and
today its fenced-off area includes hundreds of acres of private, taboo-
registered Palestinian land, which the Palestinian owners cannot access.
A few words about this settlement: the settlers of Anatot are some of the worst
people. It is a secular, extreme right-wing settlement of police officers and
army officers, some of them retired. So the law is with them…and far away from
the public eye they do what they want, a constant rampage. Sicilian Mafia in
Israel of 2011. Netanyahu`s personal driver is also a resident of Anatot.
El-Rifai`s story is somewhat different from the story of the other Palestinian
landowners. He and his wife, an Israeli citizen, formerly Jewish with a `blue`
ID are allowed to enter the settlement and they are not denied access to the
land. This is not the case for the other landowners, who are not Israeli
citizens, and are therefore required to conduct impossible coordination
procedures in order to reach their land and cultivate it.
Their `blue` ID cards have not spared el-Rifai and his wife a great deal of
agony. In recent years Anatot`s settlers have been doing all they can to try to
expel them from their land. The land that appears to be barren in the clip was
once full of olive trees. Settlers ran over el-Rifai`s wife with a mini-tractor,
the two were beaten on several occasions, requiring hospitalization. Yasin was
also stabbed. Their share of misery has also included the uprooting of all fruit
trees on the plot, destruction of agricultural equipment, contamination of the
water well by throwing carcasses and garbage into it, burning the cave which is
located within the confines of the plot, constant uprooting of any newly-planted
trees, threats against the two as well as physical assaults on them. Countless
complaints have been submitted to the police, but nothing has been done to stop
the abuse. El-Rifai and his wife have not given up, and against all odds they
are trying to hold on to their land. Yasin, desperate to find some support,
contact activists through the Internet a few months ago.
b. Activist Tal`s account:
On Friday, a group of Israeli activists from various groups came down to sit
with Yasin on his land, drink coffee, eat something, plant a few symbolic trees,
and raise a Palestinian flag on his plot. We were certainly not looking for
trouble. We were a small group, women and elderly people among us.
As we were sitting there, eating and laughing, Yasin received a call on his
mobile phone, and the settlement`s security officer threatened him that `people
want to come up and beat you to a pulp, if that`s what you want, keep the flag
there`. The phone call was recorded. You can listen to it here:
Afterwards, seven police and military vehicles appeared on the main road. They
stood there for half an hour. Then a few civilian (privately-owned) cars drove
up to them, and there seemed to be an exchange going on. All of a sudden, all
the military vehicles disappeared, except for one police car, and within minutes
tens of private cars gathered on the road. Around 50 people came out of these
cars, led by an army officer and a border police, who were not trying too hard
to stop them...The rest is history. They came up to us, cursed us, beat us with
stoned and clubs and iron rods, plundered. Yasin was thrown to the ground, his
head cracked open with an audible bang (he`s not a young man, and he suffers
from a heart condition and diabetes). He lay motionless on the ground for a few
minutes, his wife holding his head and trying to stop the bleeding. We formed a
protective ring around him, so that the bloodthirsty settlers don`t reach him.
At that time I thought he was dead. I yelled `get an ambulance`, but no one paid
attention. Miri (an activist) saw another activist, Edo, being beaten right next
to a police officer, the settlers taking his camera. The officer was speaking on
his phone. She approached him and said: `They stole Edo`s camera and now they
are hitting him!`. The officer`s nonchalant response was `you`re interrupting my
conversation`. I stood there trying to prevent the attackers from reaching
Yasin. A police officer came and took me away saying he`s doing it to protect
me. None of the officers protected Yasin. None of the attackers were pushed back
or detained. Three of us were arrested on false charges and released later that
evening because there was no case against them. The settlers chased us with
their cars, causing damage to our cars, all the way up to West Jerusalem. Police
officers who drove along, escorting us, did not think something had to be done
about that. An entire spectrum of Anatot settlers, children, youths, women, the
young and the elderly participated in the attempted lynching. No one would have
cared if we had been killed there. Only the police who would have had to account
c. Activist Guy`s account:
Three months ago, we, Taayush activists, received an appeal from the couple.
They were almost desperate and they asked for our help. We came down there,
another activist and I, and we met a lovely couple, whose sole request was not
to be driven off their land and not to suffer physical abuse and damage to
Due to various constraints, it was difficult for us to help at the time, but we
did try to enlist various activists and groups. In recent weeks, activists have
come down a few times and planted new trees, but each time, after a short while
el-Rifai found them uprooted.
Today, Friday 30.9.11, a few of us decided to come and visit the couple. We
numbered around 15 people. we brought work tools with us, such as hoes. Needless
to say, we were welcomed with open arms and much love.
A short time after our arrival, we saw the settlement`s security vehicle stop on
the main road. It seemed that the security officer didn`t like our presence
there and called the police. A Border police team arrived, but they didn`t
intervene or interfere. Gradually, more and more settlers gathered on the main
road, approximately 200 Meters in front of the hill where we were working. By
noon, more than 20 settler cars could be spotted there. Then we saw two of them
going up towards us, and I immediately called the police and alerted them to the
danger. Below us, on the main road, we were able to see a few police cars, but
they didn`t prevent the two settlers from approaching us. When they came near
us, they cursed and threatened us. Other settlers began to go up the hill
towards us, dozens of them...
I called the police again, I warned them that bloodshed was imminent, I begged
them to send the policemen who were present uphill, towards us, but to no avail.
The settlers came up to us, and attacked us. This was simply an attempted
lynching. I was punched a few times, knocked down to the ground, and when
managed to lift myself up, I saw a border police officer. I ran to him and
begged him to protect me, to save me, I practically hung onto him. But they just
kept hitting, not heeding his calls to step back. They broke one of the cameras
which I was holding, snatching it and throwing it to the ground and trampling
over it. More punches and I am screaming and seeing the end. Again, I find
myself on the ground, again lifting myself up and starting to flee, my glasses
are gone and I don`t know where I`m running, and I do see the settlers
approaching me, and screaming at me. I ran towards the road and saw a police
officer. Weeping and distraught, I asked him to save me.
He took me to the car and somehow I along with another activist managed to
escape and exit the settlement.
But what about the rest?
They continued to be beaten, and the attempted lynching went on. Three of us are
still at the hospital, one with a head injury, and I came out of all this,
miraculously, with just one arm broken and lots of bruises.
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