A volunteer with the Israeli Information Center in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem) documented on film a group of Israeli soldiers abusing a Palestinian shepherd and his sheep, after the soldiers claimed that he refused to remove his herd from the outskirts of Otniel illegal settlement, south of the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
The incident took place on the morning of April 2nd, when a local shepherd, identified as “Abu S.”, in his 60’s, took his flock to graze on land that belongs to Om Al-Amd village; Israeli soldiers arrived at the “scene” and ordered him away from the area, and when he refused one of the soldiers started pushing the shepherd and sheep; fifteen minutes later, the Shepherd and his herd were let go.
While the land in question belongs to the Palestinian village, it is an area where Israeli settlers are planning an expansion. The settlers have solicited the aid of the Israeli military in this expansion effort, by having the soldiers declare the area a ‘closed military zone’ and blocking the Palestinian owners from farming, grazing sheep or otherwise using their land.
The attack on the shepherd is not an isolated incident – over the past several years B’Tselem’s ‘camera project’ has put cameras into the hands of dozens of Palestinians throughout the West Bank, but particularly in the Hebron area, in order to document human rights abuses such as this one.
The camera holders have filmed hundreds of shocking incidents of brutality and violence against Palestinian civilians, carried out by both Israeli soldiers and Israeli settlers living illegally on stolen Palestinian land.