Israeli Colonists Burn 17 Sheep Belonging to A Palestinian Herder in Khirbet Al Taweel – Aqraba

Israeli Colonists Burn 17 Sheep Belonging to A Palestinian Herder in Khirbet Al Taweel – Aqraba
Violation: The burring of 17 sheep by Israeli colonists near Khirbet Al Taweel
Affected: Mr. Sameer Mohammad Khader Bani Fadel.
Date: 18th of December, 2010.
Even since it occupied the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces have meant to have a tight control on the lands and to devour its natural resources. The main tool used to achieve this goal was to plant Israeli colonies throughout the land as colonists would be (and are) the instrument to implement occupations’ policies.
Violations and attacks by colonists have taken a number of shapes and forms, yet the main goal remained to break the will of the Palestinians. Such attacks included attacking shepherds while in their fields, setting worship places on fire, cutting down trees in addition to land seizure among other forms. The most recent form has targeted sheep – one of the main sources of income for a large number of Palestinian families – while they look around the land for water and food.
On Saturday December 18th, 2010, the 41-years-old Mr. Sameer Mohammad khader Bani Fadel of the town of Aqraba was herding his sheep in Khirbet Al Taweel near the main road leading to the colonies of Jetit and Ma’ale Efrayem. While being present there he saw a group of colonists coming towards him while ordering him to stop. Yet, Mr. Bani Fadel ran away for his life and barely escaped them. The colonists, then, rounded the sheep and placed them in an area surrounded by dry bushes and then set the bushes alight. The ensuing fire resulted in the killing of 12 sheep while 5 more were badly burnt to the degree that they have become useless and unproductive. All told, Mr. Bani Fadel’s losses exceeded 9,000 Jordanian Dinars. The colonists ran away as they have ridden in a vehicle that was waiting for them on the main road.
In an interview with the Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher, Mr. Bani Fadel expressed his sorrow for his loss and indicated the following: ‘ I have 19 sheep. They are my only source of income and I use them to feed my 8-member family. I have lived in Khirbet Al Taweel for a long time in peace and dignity. Yet, since the colonists began roaming in the area, we’ve been living in constant fear as they frequently attack our houses and chase us while herding with our sheep. Even our lands have become inaccessible to us due to occupation restrictions and the expansion of the colonies. Yesterday, these colonists torched my sheep with no mercy. A year ago, they demolished my house and made my family homeless. What do they want from me? Does my house and sheep form a source of threat to their security? They are stealing our land and make our families homeless without anyone questioning them. These are the signs of the times. What human rights are they talking about? ‘

General Information about Khirbet Al Taweel:
The Khirbet is located east of the town of Aqraba, southeast of the City of Nablus. The Khirbet is situated 1.5 kilometer away from the built-up area of the village. Khirbet Al Taweel consists of a number of smaller khirbets that date back to the Islamic and even Roman times. These smaller khirbets include Tel Al Khashabeh, Maras Al Dein and Al Arqan. The Khirbet has a number of old water cisterns which indicates that it was inhabited throughout the ages. Its moderate climate made it very suitable to raise and graze sheep in the area. This, in turn, has encouraged Palestinians of the nearby Aqraba to purchase lands in the Khirbet and to move there.  
The area is used for agricultural purposes as owners plant wheat, barley and some unirrigateable vegetables. Also, the land is used for herding purposes especially in the spring season. Land owners are estimated to have a total of 30,000 sheep in addition to 1,500 cows. As such, the area is considered one of the main food baskets for the Palestinian market in terms of dairy, meat and vegetable products.
The Khirbet has 30,000 dunums used, as mentioned earlier, for agricultural and herding purposes. Around 8,000 dunums are sandy and mountainous area that are not suitable for agriculture. About 15,000 dunums are being used for planting and herding while 7,000 dunums are under the authority of the nearby colonies. Only a small part of the land is classified as Area B while the majority is classified as Area C. Two colonies were partly established on the lands of the Khirbet; Jetit (established in 1973. By the year 2005, there were 191 colonists living there. The total area of the colony is 1720 dunums. It is situated 37 kilometers east of the Green Line), Ma’ale Efrayem (established in 1970. By 2005, there were 1423 colonists living there. Its total area is 4778 dunums) and the extension of the colony of Itamar (established in 1984. Its colonist population in 2005 was 651. Its total area is 7189 dunums. It is situated 28 kilometers east of the Green Line).
As for the residents of the Khibet, they are 500 Palestinians stemming from the main clans of Aqraba; Bani Jaber, Bani Umniya, Adeira, Bani Fadel, Bani Ja’ame in addition to Al Mayadmeh. These Palestinian face varied forms of harassment and violations by the Israeli occupation forces. Examples include chasing herders, confiscating agricultural equipment and bulldozers, withholding ID cards, demolishing bruxes, tents and shelters. The occupation soldiers have also closed most of the entrances leading to the Khirbet in an attempt force its residents to leave while not allowing them to dig water cisterns or to use the agricultural lands.
Israeli colonists have also played an active role in harassing the Palestinians of the Khirbet; colonists from Elon Moreh stole 20 sheep belonging to Mr. Abdullah Abdel Ghanni Bani Jaber in the spring of 2007. The colonists have also killed Palestinian herders while herding their flock near the colony of Elon Moreh.  Those killed include the 58-years-old Mohammad Hamdan Bani Jaber and the 18-year-old Yehya Atteya Bani Umniya
For more information regarding Israeli violations in Khirbet Al Taweel, please refer to the following case studies:


Categories: Settlers Attacks