Settlers Damage Power Pole in Qalqilia, Run Over Shepherd, Kill Sheep in Hebron

QALQILIA, September 2, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday damaged the main power pole that supplies the village of Kuft Qadoom with electricity, causing a power outage that lasted for hours, whereas a settler attempted to run over a Palestinian shepherd and his sheep, injuring the shepherd and killing seven sheep.

Coordinator of the popular resistance committee in the village, Murad Ishtawi, informed WAFA correspondent that this is the second time settlers from the nearby settlement of Kedumim, built illegally on the village’s land, damage the power pole.

Meanwhile, Head of the village council, Hamza Joma’a, said that the settlement guards, along with Israeli soldiers, prevented the council’s electricity technician from accessing the power pole, which he stressed is a step intended to cover up for settlers’ attacks committed against Palestinians.

He further noted that this incident comes as part of settler’s retaliatory measures against the Palestinian locals for holding weekly demonstrations to demand Israel to reopen one of the village’s roads, which Israel has closed for the past 13 years.

In the meantime, an Israeli settler attempted to run over a Palestinian shepherd while he was grazing his sheep in Masafer Yatta to the south of Hebron. However, the shepherd managed to seek shelter, while only sustaining bruises throughout his body. The shepherd was identified as Issa Abu Irram.

The settler also drove his car toward the sheep, killing at least seven, and causing injuries and fractures to three others.

Regarding settlers’ attacks against Palestinians, OCHA, in a weekly report covering the period between August 19 and 24 of 2015, said that five Israeli settler attacks resulting in injury to Palestinians and damages to their property were recorded, including a stone-throwing attack against a 6-year-old child.

Settlements are illegal under international law as they violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of the occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory.

In many cases of settlers’ attacks against Palestinians, forces offer protection to settlers and turn a blind eye to attacks committed against locals.

“The existence of settlements leads to violations of many of the human rights of Palestinians, including the rights to property, equality, an adequate standard of living and freedom of movement. In addition, the radical changes Israel has made to the map of the West Bank preclude any real possibility of establishing an independent, viable Palestinian state as part of the fulfillment of the right to self-determination,” said B’Tselem.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that, “The failure to respect international law, along with the lack of adequate law enforcement vis-à- vis settler violence and takeover of land has led to a state of impunity, which encourages further violence and undermines the physical security and livelihoods of Palestinians.”

In a different OCHA report published in 2012, it reported that, “Over 90% of monitored complaints regarding settler violence filed by Palestinians with the Israeli police in recent years have been closed without indictment.”

“The Israeli authorities repeatedly fail to enforce the rule of law in response to Israeli settlers’ acts of violence against Palestinians. Israeli forces often fail to stop attacks and follow-up afterwards is inadequate or poorly conducted. Measures of the current system, including requiring Palestinians to file complaints at police stations located inside Israeli settlements, actively work against the rule of law by discouraging Palestinians from filing complaints.”