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First-Hand Reports

Settlers Guarded By Israeli Soldiers Continue To Destroy Ba’qaa Valley Crops

By Jerry Levin
Christian Peacemaker Team, Hebron
Hebron, West Bank
April 6, 2004

HEBRON-CPT has learned that ten days ago, the Abdul Jawad Jabber family suffered another ruinous attack on their fields by reportedly forty Israeli settlers, many of them armed. At about noon March 28, the settlers, escorted and guarded by three jeeploads of Israeli soldiers, invaded a Jabber grape arbor at the corner of the settlers-only entrance road to Harsina Settlement and Highway 60 and began to systematically saw down—level with the ground—twenty three grape vines. Some of the vines were thirty years old and about three inches across at the cut.

CPTers learned of the destruction while making a collegial visit to their long time Ba’qaa Valley friends. While sitting on the porch of the Jabber home, overlooking the ruins of the house of one of Abdul Jawad’s middle aged sons, Joudy, and which was demolished by the Israeli Army sixteen months ago, family members sadly told CPTers about their latest ordeal.

Abdul Jawad, the family’s 71-year-old patriarch said that for two hours Jabber men, women, and children were held at bay by gun toting security guards and the Israeli soldiers backing them up, while other settlers went gleefully about their business of attacking the family’s meager livelihood. Abdul Jawad said that a neighbor tried to intervene by approaching the settlers deferentially in order to try to get them to stop. But, he was simply waved off by security guards who pointed their guns threateningly at him.

Abdul Jawad hobbled forlornly into the decimated field to show CPT the extent of the damage. He must use a crutch to get around. Two summers ago, Harsina settlers, on top of a huge wall of large stones that towers menacingly above the house suddenly appeared and began throwing stones down on helpless Jabber grandchildren, just out of infancy, who were playing beneath the wall. (The wall had been built by the settlers on terraced Jabber land confiscated several years ago.) Snatching them up as best he could, Abdul Jawad tried to dash with them to safety, but he tripped on the stony ground and broke his leg.

CPT asked another Jabber son, Atta, whose home across Highway 60 has been demolished twice by the Israeli Army and who maintains fairly close contact with CPT, why no one had told him about this latest indignity. “This was bad,” he said, “but you know, we have had even worse times than this. And what good would it do, if you did know? Who will help us?”

“And by the way,” he said, “Six settlers with guns walked around my house yesterday. Rodina (his wife) was home alone. They just walked around it. But it made Rodina frightened and sick. Today she is still not well.”

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