Yusef Daher, coordinator of the Jerusalem Office says: “While media attention is focused on Gaza, we are shedding light on human rights violations that go unnoticed in the West Bank. The communities we serve on the ground need our help because they are attacked by settlers and the Israeli military.”
Daher added: “The WCC Jerusalem Office supports the quest by local churches to build justice and peace, protect vulnerable communities, and advocate for equal human rights in Palestine and Israel.”
While the most recent group of ecumenical accompaniers were evacuated to their home countries due to the war, many of them are still in touch with contacts in the field, gathering information, monitoring the situation closely, and reporting about incidents of violence and human rights violations.
Since their evacuation, ecumenical accompaniers in touch with residents near Bethlehem have reported that residents in Tuqua’ village had to travel via dirt roads because the main roads were closed. A mother and her children were shot at by settlers, but the family managed to escape.
In Kisan village, also near Bethlehem, roads to the village were closed by the Israeli military. Israeli police caught one Palestinian man driving his car on the main road; he was beaten and arrested, and the car was confiscated.
In Kisan the clinic is reporting a shortage of medicine. In Khalayel al-Lawz area settlers burned Palestinian homes and fired at residents.
In Battir village, the main streets were closed and Israeli soldiers threw tear gas canisters at the people. Palestinian residents do have basic supplies, but soldiers are preventing farmers from picking the olives.
“We are going through terrible times; the situation in Bethlehem and the West Bank is very difficult,” said Daoud Nassar, at the Tent of Nations on 27 October. “We were expecting 40 international volunteers to help with olive picking, but all is cancelled. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.”
Ecumenical accompaniers working with people In the South Hebron Hills (Masafer Yatta) area reported that, in the Maghayir al Abeed village, settlers attacked the Palestinians and beat up a man and his wife.
Al-Majaz village, Israeli soldiers opened fire on a group of youth who ran away quickly from the area and ultimately their lives were saved.
In Maghayir Al-‘Abeed, As-Safi Al-Tahta, and Tuba villages, settlers attacked all three villages, creating fear among the population, and they vandalized property including homes, water tanks, and solar panels.
“Today we were nearly killed inside our house,” said one Susiya resident, describing settler attacks on 10 October.