Middle East Monitor / March 27, 2020
Israeli occupation forces demolished a farm building and water well yesterday in Deir Ballut to the west of Salfit, Wafa news agency has reported.
The Governor of Salfit, Abdallah Kmeil, said that Israelis entered Wadi Sarida with a bulldozer which tore down the building and well belonging to Aziz Yusef Abdullah. Kmeil suggested that the Israelis are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis and the resultant lockdown across the occupied West Bank to accelerate the annexation of Palestinian land.
Before the State of Israel was established in Palestine in 1948, villagers in Deir Ballut owned around 10,000 acres of land. In 1967, 20 per cent of this was confiscated by Israel. Since then, like so many other villages in Palestine, Deir Ballut has been subjected to almost continual land theft for illegal settlements, bypass roads and military installations.
According to Abdallah Kmeil, the Israeli occupation forces are also allowing illegal settlers to attack Palestinian civilians, further complicating the efforts to combat the pandemic. While settler attacks in the West Bank are a common occurrence, activists from across the occupied territory have reported a spike in attacks since a state of emergency was declared due to the virus outbreak.
Earlier today, settlers attacked Palestinian herders and other civilians in the village of Al-Tuwani, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Jewish settlers are notorious for their attacks on Palestinians, but assaults on Palestinian farmers and herders have become more frequent over the past few months.
Fo’ad Amour, a local rights activist, told Wafa that settlers accompanied by attack dogs assaulted herders in the village and injured one of them in his abdomen and hand. He has since been moved to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.