Israeli artillery invade & trample Palestinian fields

5 Feb

Report from Breaking the Silence. 4 February 2021 https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il

Today, large-scale IDF Artillery Corps forces entered the Palestinian village of Jinba in the South Hebron Hills. They entered with heavy armored vehicles as part of a training exercise. Jinba is one of a handful of villages in the area that has been designated as ‘Firing Zone 918’. Military maneuvers in the backyard are allowed. Not only allowed – encouraged.

Before the exercise began, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote to the IDF to remind them that in previous exercises in the area, armored vehicles had trampled and destroyed the fields of Palestinian residents of the villages and had caused damage to several buildings, including their homes. Somehow, despite the promises, this morning we saw armored vehicles destroying fields and damaging buildings.

Trampling through fields in the village of Jinba is nothing new, incidentally. Here’s a testimony we received from a Nahal Brigade soldier who served in the area in 2004-05:
“[…] That’s when we got wheat fields, and there was wheat that overflowed beyond the fields, so the instruction that we got, that the platoon commander got, or at least that’s what he said to us, [was] to trample.” (Read the full testimony here: https://bit.ly/2ICgDSi)

Why did the IDF insist on training inside these Palestinian villages? Excellent question. According to the Hebron Hills Regional Council (representing the settlers of the area), it’s not about training, but rather – “It’s one of the ways to enhance [our] governance and our grip on the open space, and to enforce law and order.” The IDF hasn’t trained in the area for seven years. Perhaps training there suddenly became more urgent. Or perhaps it has something to do with the upcoming Supreme Court verdict that will determine if the Palestinians living in Firing Zone 918 are to be evicted.

The exercise continues tomorrow, when more Palestinians will watch as their property is destroyed under the pretext of an exercise. The threat of eviction will still hover over them. And too few politicians will find the time to say a word.
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