Affidavit No. 4450/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Hatem Fawzi Muhammad Zuheir, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 901863365, born on 16 June 1970, a farmer and a resident of 'Arraba town, Jenin Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a resident of the town of 'Arraba, which is located approximately 20 kilometres west of the city of Jenin and has a population of about 11,000. I own an area of 60 dunums of agricultural land situated at a distance of about four kilometres west of the town. The land is cultivated with olive trees, containing approximately 350 productive olive trees. My land is located at a distance of at most one kilometre from the  settlement of Mevo Dotan, which is to the north of my land. The settlement was constructed almost 20 years ago and houses about 500 settlers.

What happened with me was that at about 10:30 am on Saturday, 19 October 2008 (I looked at my watch which read 10:30), I, my wife, my cousin Naji Lutfi Zuheir, and a number of my young relatives were on my land and harvesting olive crops during this year's season. At this time, I saw an Israeli military Hummer jeep park at a distance of about 40 metres along the paved road leading to the settlement north of my land.

Then I saw a male settler, who was accompanied by a female settler as well as a young man of about 15 years of age. These settles were walking in front of the jeep when I noticed that the male settler wore a cap on his head which was indicative of religious Israeli settlers, as well as a black and white outfit. He approached us along with three soldiers, who were in the familiar olive-green military uniform. All of those mentioned, including the settler, carried weapons: the soldiers carried long black guns while the settler had a pistol and a small short knife on the right side of his waist.

They came over to us and, immediately upon their arrival, the settler said to us in Hebrew, which I understand well, “Get out of here. This land is ours. It belongs to the city of Mevo Dotan. You are all banned from entering this land. These olives belong to us." I told him that this land was ours, to which he replied severely, “This land is not yours,” and refused to discuss it. The hearts of the women and children were struck with panic and fear, especially given that the settler had two large menacing dogs with him, one black and the other white. So they began to cry. The settler did not hold the dogs with a leash; they just wandered beside him. Having quarrelled with him for a full hour, the settler ordered us to gather all the olive crops that we had harvested, which was about four large sacks. We gathered all of them and put them near the Hummer jeep, according to the settler’s orders. We did so out of fear for the women and children; we were afraid that the dogs might attack us or that the settler might assault us. The Israeli army soldiers did not intervene between us and the settler; they only examined our ID cards. However, they took no action to prevent the settler from confiscating our olive crop. On the contrary, they provided protection to the settler.

We put the olive sacks near the Hummer jeep. After that, the Israeli soldiers and the settler who had demanded we leave our land, chased us towards 'Arraba. Before our eyes, the settler and soldiers accompanying him threw the olive crops on the ground deliberately and provocatively. We did not say a word, out of fear for our lives and the lives of our wives and children. We left the area and returned to our homes. Since then, we have not gone back to our land because that same settler, protected by damaged and cut down olive trees. There are also other plots of land that belong to residents of the town of 'Arraba and are located in the area surrounding the harvest their olive crops.

This is the first time that a settler from the Israeli settlement of Mevo Dotan has assaulted us. In the end, I should state that the aforementioned settler was of about 30 years of age with a white complexion, bearded and religious. As you can see, we cannot harvest our olive crops. We do not even know when we will be able to do so. Take into account that our production of olives and oil is the main source of income for my family.

Simple Dreams Everything is forbidden

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