On 2 March 2021, at around 12:30 P.M., father of five Muhammad al-Boum (45) arrived at his plot with his two sons, aged 5 and 12. Al-Boum grows vegetables and olive saplings on the land, which lies on the southern side of the village. Upon arrival, he was surprised to discover the water lines and some of the barbed wire fence he had put up around the plot vandalized, 13 olive saplings cut down, and dozens of vegetable seedlings uprooted.
The settlement of Shilo was built about 500 meters south of the plot.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Muhammad al-Boum spoke about the damage caused by settlers who are trying to drive him off the land:
We went to the plot to pick some spinach. I planted 16 olive saplings there in 2018, and every season I sow vegetable seeds in it, too. This year, I sowed spinach, fava beans, cauliflower, red cabbage and lettuce.
When we arrived, I saw that the iron fence I’d put up around the plot to protect it from wild boars had been cut. When I entered the plot, I discovered that 13 of the olive saplings had been cut down and many of the vegetable seedlings had been uprooted. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I’ve been waiting and looking forward to the trees’ yield. This year or next year, they were supposed to start bearing fruit. The vegetable seedlings had also grown and should have been ready for harvesting in about two weeks. They even cut my irrigation lines.
I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to tell my young son, Hamad, when he asked me who had done it. The plot is close to the settlement of Shilo, and no one but the settlers could have done such a thing. I don’t know what to do or whom I can turn to for help. They left nothing. They ruined three years’ worth of work. I called the village council and took photos of the damage. After that, I couldn’t bear to stay there anymore and went home.
We live and provide for ourselves under difficult conditions, without anyone’s help. We have no roads, no assistance, no compensation. In fact, we put most of our efforts into continuing to work the land and holding on to it, even though we don’t really have the financial means to do that. Holding on to the land so settlers don’t take it over is the most important thing for me. Now I have to plant new olive trees. I’ve lost some of the vegetable crops, and I’ll have to replace the irrigation lines and the fence, too.