Thank you all so much for helping me to come back to Palestine, and for sponsoring young olive trees to be planted in Masafer Yatta in the coming growing season.
I attended the September 6 hearing in the legal case against the Israeli settler who assaulted me in March of this year in the Palestinian village of Tuba, but the judge did not issue a verdict. The court scheduled another hearing for November 2, during which the settler will testify.
During the September 6 hearing both the prosecution and the lawyer for the settler questioned two of the doctors who cared for me after the assault. Lawyers for the settler refused to accept written hospital reports and documentation, and insisted on questioning the doctors at length in an attempt to claim that the injury was not serious. It was not easy for these doctors to travel to the hearing, and I am so grateful to them, both for their wonderful care when I was injured, and again now for their help in insisting on legal consequences for the settler.
The lawyer for the settler also argued that the settler should be released, however as I understand he remains on house arrest in the home of his grandparents.
The US consulate did not attend the hearing, which was held completely in Hebrew, and fairly early in the proceeding the judge forced the human rights lawyer who was accompanying me to leave the room. As a result I know only what the doctors were able to tell me about their testimony, and what the prosecutor told me during a few minutes of conversation after the day- long hearing. I am trying to get a court transcript.
Meanwhile in the area of Masafer Yatta, where the attack on me occurred last March, Palestinians continue to confront escalating attacks by settles, backed up by Israeli soldiers. In one village that I visited last spring, Widade, the violence from settlers has been so relentless and terrifying in these past months that the family has been forced to flee, leaving their home and barns and the livelihood they built over generations. Their sheep have been sold now and all they know has been lost. Settlers have already arrived to destroy everything that remained, and there is now no hope of them returning to their land.
The majority of legal complaints made by Palestinians to the Israeli police against settlers are dismissed before they reach the prosecution stage and legal consequences for settlers involved in assaults on Palestinians are almost unheard of.
At this time, in 2023, Palestinians are facing violent attacks by Israeli settlers at the rate of 2.8 per day in the occupied West Bank. This unrelenting pressure and violence is forcing families to flee, and resulting in the depopulation of villages that will be lost forever.
In addition to attacks on people, settlers continue to burn and slash olive trees, steal sheep and donkeys, vandalize homes, cars and personal belongings and destroy water wells and crops. The Israeli military and police routinely back up the settlers, and refuse to intervene to protect civilians. US taxpayers send Israel 3.8 million dollars per day in aid, the majority of which is received by the military, so when these attacks occur, we own a piece of the violence.
I hope that in response you will consider passing on to a friend this chance to sponsor an olive tree, at a cost of $24 per tree, to be planted here in Masafer Yatta in the coming planting season as an act of solidarity with these families who are struggling every day to hold on to their land.
Please visit https://tiny.one/MadisonOliveGrove
Many many thanks,
Please consider sponsoring one or more olive trees via the Madison-Masafer Yatta Olive Grove project. Thanks to your generous support, the initial goal of 40 trees has been met, and we are on our way to the next goal of 80 trees donated.
If you prefer to donate by mail, you can send a check payable to MRSCP and marked “Olive Grove” to:
P.O. Box 5214
Madison, WI 53705