View of metal fencing pictured in front of a tall concrete wall.

File photo: Bethlehem. 


Between 12 April-19 May, ecumenical accompaniers documented a high rate of settler violence compared to previous periods. 

In Bethlehem, on 14 May, approximately 15 settlers in three cars conducted a military training at the Arab Al-Rashayida Bedouin community, and they fired at water tanks and animal shelters. Bedouin women believe that the attackers came from a nearby settlement.

On 14 May, a Palestinian woman from Jorat Al-Shama’ was beaten with a stick by three settlers. She was cleaning her land in preparation for planting olive trees when the settlers appeared in a jeep, speaking to her in Arabic and asking her to leave. The woman refused, saying that she was on her own land. She was then beaten, and the settlers followed her and continued to beat her as she tried to escape the scene. Finally, the settlers turned back and went to their car. The womans brother took her to hospital where she was treated for bruises on her stomach. The woman filed a complaint at the Efrat settlement police station, but nothing happened. She also spoke to the Red Cross, the Wall and Settlements Commission, and Palestinian television.

In Jerusalem, on 6 May, approximately 30 settlers broke into Bir Al-Maskoub Bedouin community. The settlers caused damage to at least four houses, and injury to community members including women. The settlers remained onsite for approximately 24 hours and tried to expel the Bedouins. Israeli soldiers intervened, but they only asked the settlers to leave the community. 

In the Jordan Valley, on 17 May, one settler drove a quadbike over a watermelon field in a Palestinian community; and on 16 May, one settler drove a quadbike provocatively through Houmsa Al-Fouqa community, causing fear and panic among the residents. 

On 13 May, a group of women were walking on a road in Ras Ein Al-Auja community, when a settler drove slowly behind them, causing panic, more so when he behaved abusively and disrespectfully towards the women. On another occasion on 16 May, a Palestinian woman happened to be inside her tent in Al-Farisiyah area, while doing laundry, when a settler entered her tent. The woman was frightened, and she yelled at him and asked him to leave, which he did. 

One congregant at the Saint Georges Anglican Church, Jerusalem, said how much the community appreciates having the ecumenical accompaniers back in Jerusalem.

"It's good to have visitors back here!” the ecumenical accompaniers were told during a visit to Bethlehems Arab Educational Institute.