Far’ata, Qalqiliyah District: Settlers beat farmers with plastic clubs, the same day Israeli DCO finally grants them access to their lands
On Wednesday, 29 April 2020, the Far’ata municipality informed local farmers that the Israeli DCO had given them permission to work their lands for the first time since the harvest season began. The permit was valid for one day only, which was the following day.
The Salman family owns an olive grove stretching over 42 dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters]. The next day, ‘Abdallah Salman arrived at the grove along with his wife, sons and a relative, Baraa Salman (28). Baraa brought his tractor with him, and the family spread out in the plots and started working.
At around 10:30 A.M., ‘Abdallah and Barra finished plowing one plot and made their way to the next one. ‘Abdallah guided the tractor’s path on foot. While he was walking, he noticed the chief of security of Havat Gilad observing them from a nearby hill. The chief of security left, and two settlers armed with black plastic clubs, one of them also masked, suddenly appeared.
The settlers pushed ‘Abdallah to the ground and hit him all over the body, including the head, with their clubs until he lost consciousness. Baraa, who saw what was happening, stopped and got off the tractor. When the settlers detected a new victim, they started beating him as well. After they had their fill, they stopped the attack and fled.
‘Abdallah regained consciousness and Baraa helped him up. Despite their poor physical state, they decided to keep working, as the DCO had only granted them one workday. A few minutes later, the chief of security arrived and claimed that they should have notified the soldiers before moving between the plots. A while later, soldiers and DCO officials who were passing by arrived on the scene and took their statements about the attack.
When the pain became too unbearable, Baraa decided to go home with the tractor and asked his father to take over the plowing. The father joined the family, and they continued working until 3:30 P.M. and then returned home.
‘Abdallah and Baraa were examined at Mahmoud Darwish Hospital in Qalqiliyah and found to have contusions as a result of the beatings. After leaving the hospital, they drove to the Palestinian police in Qalqiliyah to file a complaint.
In a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi, ‘Abdallah Salman described the moments of the attack:
The settlers pushed me. I fell to the ground and they began beating me – on my head, my shoulders and all over my body. I lost consciousness for a short while, and later I found out they’d also attacked Baraa.
A few minutes later, the chief of security showed up in the grove and started making accusations against us. He said we should have notified the soldiers before moving between the plots, so they would come to protect us. I think he knew beforehand that the settlers were about to attack us.
These acts of aggression will only make our attachment to the land stronger. We won't give it up! The settlers want to drive us out to take it over.
The settlement outpost of Havat Gilad was established in 2002 near Far’ata lands.