On the night between 11 and 12 July 2021, an Israeli military and police force escorted by representatives of the Palestinian DCO removed a tent set up by settlers about a month earlier on village residents’ private land. About half an hour after the forces left the area, dozens of settlers advanced towards homes in the village located about 300 meters away from where the tent was removed and stoned the Soufan family home. The settlers smashed the sun boiler on the roof of the house and a streetlight and broke several olive trees on a nearby plot belonging to one of the villagers. Members of the Soufan family called village residents, and when they arrived in their cars, the settlers fled.
The following day, the settlers returned and pitched the tent in the same spot from which the other had been removed.
Two days later, on 14 July 2021, farmers from the village discovered that settlers had cut down about 70 olive trees, which were 60 years old, about 200 meters away from the tent.
On 16 July 2021, about 20 settlers stoned the ‘Eid family home on the eastern side of the village while the family members gathered for a festive meal in honor of a wedding. During a confrontation that developed between the family members and village residents who came to their defense and the settlers, a settlement security guard fired several shots at the residents, but no one was hurt. After about an hour, several military jeeps came to the house from the direction of the Havat Gilad outpost, and the soldiers drove the settlers away.
Residents of Burin, which is hemmed in by the settlements of Har Bracha and Yitzhar, have been suffering for years from repeated attacks by settlers.
In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i on 12 July 2021, Randah Soufan (38), a married mother of five from Burin, recounted how the settlers attacked her family home in the dead of night:
At around midnight, I saw several military jeeps and police cars, and also vehicles of the Palestinian DCO that stopped near our house. The forces got out of the vehicles and advanced towards a tent the settlers had set up on village land, about 300 meters away from our home. We assumed that they were there to remove the tent. A short while later, we heard a commotion from the direction of the tent, and then we heard an explosion of a stun grenade.
Twenty or 30 minutes later, I saw about 30 soldiers running, followed by 20 to 30 settlers. The soldiers got into their vehicles and drove away. Immediately afterward, the settlers started throwing stones at our home.
We called relatives and friends from the village. My husband went up to the roof with his two brothers to defend us. I tried to prevent our children, Bahaa (17), ‘Atallah (15), Hanan (19), and Hala (13), from going up to the roof with them, but they insisted and said that they’re unwilling to hide. My youngest son, ‘Abd a-Rahman (9), wet himself out of fear.
I ran to my brother-in-law’s apartment, who lives on the other side of our floor. My sister-in-law Ashwak (24), who’s pregnant and was terrified, and I sat in the living room because it’s far from the windows. I was afraid that Ashwak would give birth early out of stress and fear.
We heard the sun boiler exploding on the roof. The settlers also broke olive trees on a village resident’s land near our house. We called relatives and friends, who started arriving in their cars, and then the settlers drew back, got into their cars, and drove towards the settlement. We breathed a sigh of relief!
The settlers also broke a streetlight near the house. If village residents hadn’t arrived, the damage could’ve been worse. We were on edge until morning. We couldn’t sleep. My youngest stayed awake until about 2:30 A.M. He couldn’t fall asleep from fear, and my heart ached for him.
Early in the morning, at 6 A.M., we saw about 15 settlers pitching the tent again as if nothing had happened. I saw them point to our house several times as they talked to each other. Now I’m afraid because my daughter Hanan is supposed to get married on 23 July 2021, and I fear that if we all leave the house, the settlers will come and attack it.