Last Friday afternoon, a group of activists visited Yassin al-Rifa’i and his family in the village of Anata village, whose lands have been taken over by the settlement of Anatot (also called Almon). The settlers of Anatot have abused the family for years; in repeated attacks, they uproot trees, block water sources, steal agricultural equipment, and harrass and attack the farmers attempting to reach their lands. On Friday afternoon, it was a Palestinian flag that Yassin put up over a tent on his land that gave the settlers of Anatot an excuse for their pogrom. Dozens of settlers, armed with sticks and rocks, brutally attacked Yassin and his family, as well as the activists that accompanied him. The police were present during the pogrom, but stood on the sidelines and did nothing. Three people were hospitalized with serious injuries, three activists were detained for interrogation. Not a single one of the attackers was arrested.
That same evening, forty activists returned to the scene of the pogrom, in order to protest. When we reached the gate of the settlement, we were forbidden enterance, and we remained in front of the locked gate to protest the settlers’ violence and the lack of police resposibility. The settlers of Anatot quickly amassed at the gate: some had participated in the afternoon’s pogrom, some were soldiers and police officers in civilian dress, youths and grown men seething with hatred and hungry for violence. A number of police officers in uniform that were present did nothing to restrain the raging crowd. The settlers demanded that the gates be opened, and under the aegis of the police officers, they charged us, with fists, rocks, and clubs. One of the attackers tried a number of times to stab activists with a knife. When we tried to get away from the place, the attackers chased us, chanting “Death to leftists!” They were accompanied by a group of uniformed police officers. About 10 demonstrators were injured, three of whom were evacuated for medical treatment. Six cars were seriously damaged, and some were totally destroyed. One car door was etched with Starof David. Despite the attack, which was captured by both stills and video cameras, the police did not arrest a single rioter.
It’s not easy to process the meaning of these events. The magnitude of the hatred that the settlers of Anatot – ostensibly non-ideological and non-extremist settlers – showed, and the forgiving and accommodating behavior of the media, are a troubling testimony to the indifference that characterizes Israeli society after years of occupation and repression. We don’t pretend to know how to continue from here. But we feel that the events in Anatot last Friday are – and must be – a watershed moment. We turn to you in hope that we can continue to count on your support and participation in the near future.
Call to action!
Six years ago, the settlers of Anatot decided to move the fence on the southern part of the settlement and to annex private lands owned by residents of the village of Anata. Today their access to their own lands is blocked, thanks to this illegal fence. In Anatot, like in the rest of the settlements, there is no justice and no accountability, and the settlers can do as they please. The violence that took place on Friday is the clear product of the settlement project, the same project advanced and supported by every single government in the past four decades. Its consequences are occupation and repression, theft and land expropriation, the marking dissidents as traitors. This policy is maintained by the courts, the police that are in collusion with the settlers, the media that doesn’t do its job, and an Israeli society that keeps its mouth shut.
We will not remain silent
until the illegal fence is dismantled
and the residents of Anata can reach their lands.
We will not stop until the criminals of Anatot are brought to justice.
In the next few days we will announce our plan of action for Anatot.
In the meantime, help us out.
Share this video of Friday’s pogrom in Anatot
so that as many people as possible can see with their own eyes
the true face of the occupation.
Share the following links and stay tuned for more reports and information as they come in.
The Anatot mob attacks: a watershed moment for Israeli democracy
Incidents in Anatot, September 30, 2011: updates, videos, and call to action!
The Settlement of Anatot – Background to Last Week’s Mob Attack | By Dror Etkes
Israel police turned a blind eye to a lynching | Eyal Raz
Where Solidarity Ends | Sara Benninga
Trying to make sense | Tali Harkavi
The Ugly Face of Occupation | Yael Kenan
Policeman identified among settlers who attacked activists
23 Israelis and Palestinians injured in settler attack outside Jerusalem