The first few days of the month of September 2008 have witnessed a sharp increase in the number of attacks carried out by colonists against Palestinians farmers and shepherds in the Governorate of Salfit; on September 4th, 2008 a group of colonists attacked the 72-years old Hajj Ibrahim Khalil Yaseen from the village of Yasuf. They have also stolen 23 of his sheep while he was shepherding in an area called Al Wad northwest of the village. On the 11th of September, 2008 another group of colonists chased away a number of Palestinian farmers from the same village while shepherding with their sheep in the mountains surrounding the village in which a number of illegal outposts are scattered. A number of injuries were reported among the farmers as a result of this incident.
It should be noted that the colonists’ attacks have become familiar events in the village of Yasuf and nearby Palestinian villagers ever since the establishment of the colony on Tappuh on its lands. The story of Hajj Ibrahim Yaseen is a classical example of the collusion between the occupation forces and the colonists to attain the goal of forcing Palestinians out of their lands.
Hajj Ibrahim revealed his story to the Land Research Center’s field worker. It is as follows: ' I have been a shepherd and a farmer since my early days. It is a habit for me to take my sheep early in the morning to graze the land in the region of Al wad which is located 4 kilometers away from the Tappuh B outpost. On the 4th of September, 2008, I was attending my sheep when 2 colonists started throwing stones at me at a distance of 20 meters away. I was injured in my right hand modest injuries. Afterwards, the same colonists opened fire at other shepherds using the agricultural road that is parallel to the area that I was in. Three more colonists appeared from nowhere and started to steer my sheep away towards Tappuh B. The two original colonists provided a cover and a shield for the other sheep thieves. When the youth of the village came for my assistance, they followed the colonists to their outpost. Yet, the colonists opened fire at random to keep the farmers from reaching them. Upon our retreat and arrival into the village, the head of the village council got in contact with the Palestinian Liaison Office who arrived later into the village. I went along with the officers to the entrance of the colony of Tappuh where Israeli military jeeps along with a number of colonists were waiting. Among them was one of the colonists who stole my sheep. I informed the Israeli police and military that one of the colonists who stole my sheep was present with them and that I can identify him. Yet none cared for that as they informed me that I needed to go to the police station in the colony of Ariel to file a complaint. They even mocked me as they took the colonists into one the jeeps and drove into the village looking for sheep stolen from the colonist !!!!!. I got to know later that the colonist has justified his theft of my sheep that shepherds from the village have stolen his sheep a while back and that he simply was taking back what was legally his. The Israeli Police, along with the colonist, searched the village house-to-house despite the appeals and clarifications presented by the residents of the village to the Police. The Police, in turn, mocked the residents and continued their search. As for me, I went to the colony of Ariel to file a complaint against the colonist. I waited at the entrance of the colony for about 4 hours before being allowed in despite the numerous attempts by the Police to make me leave without filing a complaint. Yet, my insistence to get my rights back pushed me to stay. The police department did not take into consideration my old age or ailing heath and told me to forget about it and to go home. Not only did they didn’t follow up on my complaint, they even let the colonist upload my stolen sheep into a truck and drove out of the colony of Tappuh under the police watchful eyes. I knew then that the colonist and the police are in cahoots on the issue of forcing Palestinians out of their lands through depriving them of their livelihoods.'
Yassuf Village: General Information
The village of Yasuf is located 7 kilometers north east of the city of Salfeet. Its population is around 2000 Palestinians living in 260 families. About 87% of the population depends on agriculture and entrepreneurial work as the main source of income. The rest of the population works in the public sector.
The total area of the village is about 8550 dunums of which 1,000 dunums is the built-up area while 300 dunums are used by Israeli occupation for colonial purposes. The colony of Tappuh was established in 1982 north of the village atop 200 dunums of its lands. In addition to the colony, there are two colonial outposts near the village; Rahaleem B (located south of the village) and Tappuh B (located east of the village). The two outposts confiscated around 100 dunums of the lands of the village.