Why Kafka lives in Palestine

Amira Hass in Haaretz:

The Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli police in the West Bank will continue trying to convince the High Court of Justice on Monday that the routine of fear in which two elderly farmers live due to attacks by settlers is reasonable and proportionate.

In the name of the IDF and the Israel Police, the State Prosecutor’s Office will try to convince justices Asher Grunis, Esther Hayut and Neal Hendel not to be overly shocked by the descriptions by Rabbis for Human Rights attorneys Quamar Mishirqi-Assad and Avital Sharon. At issue are the attacks on brothers Hammad and Mohammed al-Sleibi, age 78 and 70, from the village of Safa southwest of Bethlehem.

The state will ask that the petition on behalf of the two brothers be rejected, as well as the request that the West Bank law-enforcement authorities protect the welfare, property and work of the brothers and their descendants. For about 50 years, the brothers have been making a living from a 45-dunam plot in Wadi Abu Rish west of the village of Beit Omar. The settlement of Bat Ayin sits on top of a hill about 200 meters from the plot, which is abundant with trees and vines: olives, grapes, dates, apricots, plums, quince, peaches, pomegranates, loquats and almonds.

In September 2005, about 300 goats and their shepherds heading from the settlement entered the plot. In a complaint to the police, the brothers reported damage to their crops, both by the goats and the shepherds’ sticks. They expected protection. Instead, in the following eight months, their trees were damaged at least five times, and the two men were attacked with stones and injured. In 2007, young men heading from the settlement beat Hammad al-Sleibi with an iron rod and stones.

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