On Wednesday, February 19th, 2013, Michigan Peace Team joined Rabbi for Human Rights on a visit to speak with Mayor Abdel Adim of Qasra. Qasra is a Palestinian village which suffers greatly from Israeli military and settler violence and oppression. MPT and RHR visited Mayor Adim to inquire about some recently planted olive trees in the village.
During the visit, Mayor Adim received an alarming call from a fellow villager who reported that Israeli Defense Forces had entered the village with a bulldozer. MPT and RHR accompanied the mayor to the southeastern side of the village where the soldiers guarded a bulldozer as it demolished Qasra’s power lines.
Israeli border guards began pushing at MPT, RHR, and a crowd of local villagers that had gathered. When questioned, the soldiers were unwilling to give any explanations or provide any written orders for the demolition at hand.
As the crowd grew larger, and as aggravation and sorrow escalated, soldiers began firing tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd. Several Palestinians were injured and taken away in ambulance vehicles. It is reported that one man who was injured was denied by occupation forces access to be removed from the scene to receive medical attention. The vehicle attempting to remove the injured man had tear gas canisters fired at it.
Despite Palestinian objection, and the Israel military's failure to provide demolition orders, Israeli forces destroyed part of the electricity network and demolished 36 electricity towers in total on Wednesday.
In the days following this demolition, Qasra villagers have continued to suffer greatly from both nearby Israeli settlers and the Israeli soldiers. Settler attacks and Israeli army invasions have continued to escalate dramatically.
On Thursday, February 20th, settlers invaded the village in the middle of the night, burning six cars belonging to Qasra residents.
On Saturday, February 23, 2013, Qasra residents suffered the joint attacks launched by Israeli forces and settlers. In these attacks, 8 Palestinian civilians were injured, including 3 children.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reports that:
“PCHR condemns the escalation of attacks by Israeli forces and settlers against Qasra village, southeast of Nublus. In this context, PCHR:
1. Reminds the international community that the building of settlements constitutes a war crime under international law; the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, individually or jointly, must assume their legal and moral responsibilities and fulfill their obligation to ensure Israel’s respect for the Convention in the occupied Palestinian territory in accordance with Article (1) of the Convention;
2. Calls upon the international community to pressurize Israel to fulfill its obligations under the international law by putting an end to settlement expansion and dismantling all illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
-MPT Winter Team 2013