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Shooting, assaulting, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at cars and homes, raiding villages, torching structures and fields, vandalizing property and crops: settlers exercise harsh daily violence against Palestinians, with state support, to drive them out of their land. Launched in early 2020, this blog gives voice to the people exposed to this violence. Background on the topic

October 2021

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One of the trees damaged by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner
One of the trees damaged by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner

Al-Mazra’ah al-Qibliyah, Ramallah District: Settlers steal crop off some 30 olive trees

On 12 October 2021, village residents noticed several settlers harvesting olives in a grove owned by Assad Shreiteh (45) south of the village. When the residents approached the grove, the settlers fled toward the outpost of Haresha, established in 1997 about 100 meters away, taking sacks full of olives with them. When Shreiteh arrived at the grove, he discovered that the settlers had harvested and stolen all the fruit off some 30 olive trees, broken some of the branches and knocked over the water container. Shreiteh reported the damage to the village council, which updated the Palestinian DCO. The next day, Israeli DCO personnel arrived and surveyed the land, without coordinating with Shreiteh or speaking with him.

The plot from which the settlers uprooted and stole the seedlings. Photo courtesy of the farmers
The plot from which the settlers uprooted and stole the seedlings. Photo courtesy of the farmers

Sabastiya, Nablus District: Settlers uproot and steal some 800 fruit tree seedlings and damage fence funded by Oxfam

On 12 October 2021, several families from Sabastiya discovered that settlers had stolen some 600 apricot seedlings and about 200 olive seedlings from their land, which lies about a kilometer southwest of the town and some 100 meters from the settlement of Shavei Shomron. The settlers had also dismantled and stolen a gate erected at the entrance to the plots, and damaged part of the barbed wire fence surrounding them. The land was prepared for cultivation in 2019 with support by Oxfam, after being abandoned due to proximity to the settlement. Oxfam also funded the purchase of the seedlings, fence and gate. Settlers previously damaged seedlings in these groves in January 2020.

A settler in Yihya al-Kurdi’s land. Photo courtesy of the grove owner
A settler in Yihya al-Kurdi’s land. Photo courtesy of the grove owner

Burin, Nablus District: Settler harvests and steals olives from villager’s grove

On 12 October 2021, a village resident filmed settlers harvesting and stealing olives from the grove of another resident, Yihya al-Kurdi (47), which lies about a kilometer east of the village. He updated al-Kurdi, who has been barred access to his land without coordinating with the military since the outpost of Sneh Yaakov was established about 500 meters from it. Al-Kurdi reported the acts to the Palestinian DCO, the Red Cross and several human rights organizations. Later that day, the Israeli DCO contacted him and informed him they had gone to his land and found no one there.

Some of the trees cut down by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner
Some of the trees cut down by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills: Settlers cut down dozens of trees bushes

On 12 October 2021, village resident Hafez al-Harini (50) discovered that settlers had uprooted about 45 olive trees, 27 almond trees, 11 grapevines and 16 sabra bushes from his land.

Burin, Nablus District: Settlement guard expels farmers from their land; the next day, settlers steal their tools

On 12 October 2021, members of the Najar family were harvesting olives on the southern side of the village. A settlement security guard who arrived from the direction of Yitzhar drove them away on the pretext that the harvest days coordinated for them by the military were over. The family members were forced to leave their land, hoping to return the next day to collect their work tools. The next day, a villager documented settlers stealing the tools from the grove from the balcony of his home.

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One of the trees cut down by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner
One of the trees cut down by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the landowner

Far’ata, Qalqiliyah District: Settlers harvest Palestinian grove, cut down trees and start building structure

On 11 October 2021, village resident Ibrahim Salah (68) discovered that settlers had harvested about 50 olive trees and cut down five more trees on his land. Salah’s grove contains some 250 trees, and since the Havat Gilad outpost was established next to it, he and his family members have been allowed to come to the land only twice a year, subject to coordination with the military. Salah reported the damage to the Palestinian DCO and representatives of the Israeli DCO came to the scene. When Salah inspected the land with the DCO officials, they found that the settlers also started building a structure on his land and had dug a pit there. 

One of the metal spikes the settler scattered in the grove. Photo courtesy of the landowner
One of the metal spikes the settler scattered in the grove. Photo courtesy of the landowner

Qaryut, Nablus District: Soldiers guard settler as he harvests and steals Palestinian family’s olive crop

On 11 October 2021, Shaher Hazem (53) went, after prior coordination with the military, to his olive grove on the western side of the village. The grove spans about 10 dunams and has 68 fruit-bearing olive trees. When he got there, Hazem was surprised to find a settler, escorted by several soldiers, who told him he had already picked the olives. Hazem inspected the trees and discovered that the settler had indeed harvested almost all of them and had scattered metal spikes in the grove that damaged his tractor tire. He was forced to return home empty-handed. In previous years, Hazem extracted about 600 liters of oil from the grove.  

As the settlement of Eli was established near the grove, the military allows Hazem to access his land only once a year, after prior coordination. Last year, the same settler harvested olive trees on Hazem’s land, cut down five of them and scattered spikes on the ground to sabotage the tractor. 

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Tarqumya, Hebron District: Settlers uproot some 70 olive seedlings

On 8 October 2021, town residents discovered that settlers had uprooted some 70 olive seedlings on their land.    

The settlers after withdrewing from the Khdeirat family’s land. Photo courtesy of the family
The settlers after withdrewing from the Khdeirat family’s land. Photo courtesy of the family

Khirbet Shweikah, South Hebron Hills: Settlers grazing flock in Palestinian’s olive grove attack him and his family

On 8 October 2021, at around 8:00 A.M., villagers noticed that about 15 settlers with dogs were grazing their flocks in an olive grove belonging to Sa’id Khdeirat (50), a resident of Khirbet Zanutah. The grove lies about 1.5 kilometers from Khirbet Shuweika. They notified Khdeirat of the invasion and he immediately set out towards the grove with several family members. When they got there, an armed settler threatened Khdeirat’s son. When the family tried to fend him off, another settler attacked Khdeirat, kicked him in the groin and knocked him to the ground. The family took Khdeirat to the ‘Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron, where he was examined and discharged after several hours. 

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Wael ‘Awis after being hit in the head by a soldier.
Wael ‘Awis after being hit in the head by a soldier.

A-Lubban a-Sharqiyah, Nablus district: Settlers destroy farmland with bulldozers

On 7 October 2021, at around 8:00 A.M., about 10 settlers came with bulldozers to land north of the town and performed work on residents’ farmland. Several dozen residents arrived to defend their land. At the same time, about 20 soldiers arrived and  began firing rubber-coated metal bullets and hurling stun grenades at the residents.  

One of the soldiers attacked town resident Wael ‘Awis (50), hitting him in the head with his rifle butt and injuring him. Four other residents were injured lightly by the “rubber” bullets. The wounded ‘Awis was detained by the military for two hours and then taken by military ambulance to the Ariel police station. 

Settlers and soldiers on Burin farmers’ land. Photo courtesy of the farmers
Settlers and soldiers on Burin farmers’ land. Photo courtesy of the farmers

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Palestinians picking olives

On 7 October 2021, at around 2:30 P.M., about 15 settlers escorted by three soldiers stoned Palestinian farmers who were harvesting olives on their land on the southern side of the village, injuring Muhammad 'Imran (11) in the head. The farmers had come to the area after prior coordination with the military. The soldiers guarding the settlers tried to drive the farmers away, but they refused to leave. After about half an hour, a Border Police force arrived and the settlers withdrew immediately towards the settlement of Yitzhar, which was established near the village. The wounded child was treated on the spot. 

Olive grove in Qawawis. Photo by solidarity activists
Olive grove in Qawawis. Photo by solidarity activists

Qawawis, Masafer Yatta: Settlers pick and steal olives from grove

On 7 October 2021, community resident Jibril Abu ‘Aram (55) noticed several settlers in his olive grove. When he approached them, the settlers fled with sacks full of olives. They put the sacks in a car waiting on a nearby road, got in and drove towards the Mitzpe Yair outpost, established about a kilometer away from the grove. When he reached his grove, Abu ‘Aram found that the settlers had harvested several trees and broken some of their branches.  

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One of the trees cut down by the settlers
One of the trees cut down by the settlers

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers cut down four mature olive trees

On 4 October 2021, a farmer discovered that settlers had cut down four mature olive trees on his land, which lies on the western side of the village. The settlement outpost of HaYovel was established several hundred meters from the site.

Deir Jarir, Ramallah District: Settler torch agricultural structure, damaging olive trees in the fire

On 4 October 2021, Anwar Abu Mokho (59) discovered that settlers had torched an agricultural structure he owned, which contained a bed, bedding, buckets, a water container, a closet and cooking utensils. Five 10-year-old olive trees near the structure were damaged in the fire.

Caption: Soldiers detain Burhan Bsharat. Photo courtesy of the witness
Caption: Soldiers detain Burhan Bsharat. Photo courtesy of the witness

Khallet Makhul, Jordan Valley: Settlers attack shepherd and drive his flock away twice; soldiers training in the area detain him

On 4 October 2021, at around 8:00 A.M., three settlers arrived on an ATV at an area east of the community of Khallet Makhul in the northern Jordan Valley. The settlers, who had a drone with them, tried to drive away a flock of sheep that community resident Burhan Bsharat (45) was grazing there, accompanied by several Israeli activists. When Bsharat approached the ATV to try and prevent the settlers from hitting the sheep, one of them pepper-sprayed him in the face. Basharat was forced to go home with the flock.   

The next day, 5 October 2021, Bsharat set out to graze his flock in the same area, accompanied by Israeli activists. Upon arrival, they found a settler at the scene who began shouting at the sheep and pushing them in an attempt to drive them away. Bsharat tried to move several hundred meters away from the settler, but then encountered military forces training in the area. The soldiers detained him and the activists for half an hour, during which Israeli police officers and the guard of the settlement of Hemdat arrived. After an argument, the officers arrested one of the activists. Bsharat was forced once again to take the hungry sheep home without grazing them.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher ‘Aref Daraghmeh that day, Bsharat described the mental and financial toll of the settlers’ violence and the military’s conduct:  

I had no choice but to take my sheep back early to their pens, because I was afraid of being attacked. That means I now have to buy them fodder.  

We suffer constantly from the military and the settlers here. The military claims it’s a closed military zone, but allows the settlers to graze their flocks here. I have no other place to graze mine. Khallet Makhul is now surrounded by settlements and military bases. We have only two square kilometers left and our lives have become miserable.  

Because they’re preventing me from grazing the sheep, I’ll have to buy fodder to feed them. I have a large family that I have to support and meanwhile, I’m just accumulating debts.  

The military helps the settlers and protects them. I think about tomorrow – what will I do, where will I go, and what will happen in the grazing area that day? I live under a lot of stress. I’m always afraid they’ll hurt the flock or me. Today, they sprayed me with pepper spray, but they might do something more serious tomorrow. 

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Settlers harvesting olives in Isma’il’s land. Still from video.
Settlers harvesting olives in Isma’il’s land. Still from video.

Salfit: Settlers steal olives from Palestinian grove in front of police officers

On the morning of 3 October 2021, a town resident noticed settlers picking olives in a grove that belongs to another resident, Khalil Isma’il. The grove is surrounded by the fence of the settlement of Ariel, and Isma’il is required to request permission from the military to reach it. The days allotted to him by the military were scheduled for the following week. When Isma’il learned that settlers were harvesting on his land, he reported the matter to the Palestinian DCO and received permission to go to his grove with a representative of the Salfit Municipality and a representative of the Palestinian DCO. An Israel Police car was waiting for them there. When the three arrived at the grove, a settlers’ car with sacks full of olives inside drove off, without anyone stopping it. Isma’il estimates that the settlers stole about 1,700 kilograms of his olives. About an hour later, Israeli DCO representatives arrived and ordered Isma’il to leave his land and file a complaint at the Ariel police station, which he did. 

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 6 October 2021, Khalil Isma’il (46), a father of five, described how settlers stole his olives:

When I got to my land, I saw a car that belongs to settlers with sacks of olives they’d harvested off my land inside it. The car left the grove immediately. I told the police officer who was there that he had to stop the car because it had sacks of my olives in it, but he didn’t care and told me that the settler had nothing in there.  

They only let me stay on my land for about an hour. When I checked the grove, the damage was clear. There were olives and broken branches scattered on the ground, and it was obvious the settlers had picked the olives with new devices designed for harvesting. I checked the area they’d harvested – it’s around five dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] of large olive trees. I estimate they stole 1,700 to 2,000 kilograms. They probably started harvesting a few days earlier. The sight broke my heart. I’m still angry and sad.  

The Israel DCO representative asked the police officer if he knew those settlers, and the officer answered that he had the names and details of the four settlers who had been in the grove.  

I went home, took the land deeds  and went to the Israel Police. I gave them video footage and photos clearly showing the settlers stealing the olives, and filed a complaint. Now I’m waiting to be able to go with my family to our land on the day scheduled for us, next Sunday, 10 October 2021, to harvest what’s left after the settlers stole the olives.

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The wall of the Soufan home on which the paint was thrown.
The wall of the Soufan home on which the paint was thrown.

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers throw red paint on wall of home

On the morning of 1 October 2021, members of the Soufan family discovered that settlers had thrown red paint on a wall of their home. The house is located on the southern side of the village, and the settlement of Yitzhar was established about 500 meters away from it. A few months ago, settlers also put up a tent several hundred meters from the house. The Soufan family, along with the other residents of Burin, suffer from repeated settler attacks. 

Beit Hadassah, central Hebron: Settlers clashing with Palestinian youths on street stone nearby home

On 1 October 2021, at around 3:00 P.M., about 10 settlers, some of them masked, gathered on the roof of the Beit Hadassah settlement in central Hebron. They started arguing with young Palestinians who were passing by on the street, and the confrontation escalated into mutual stone-throwing. After the Palestinian youths fled, the settlers noticed Narmin Abu Haya (16), whose parents are B’Tselem volunteers, filming the incident from the window of her home. They began throwing stones at the house, in full view of the soldiers at a nearby guard post. This time, the attack on the Abu Haya home ended without casualties or damage to property

September 2021

28

al-Mufaqarah, Masafer Yatta: Another expulsion attempt - Settlers raid Kh. al-Mufaqarah, attack villagers, crack toddler’s skull, and cause heavy property damage

On 29 Aug. 2021, dozens of settlers raided the community of al-Mufaqarah, stoned residents and homes, and damaged property. The attack, one of the most severe recalled by residents, injured several villagers, including a toddler whose skull was fractured. Soldiers who came to the scene fired tear gas canisters at community residents, many of whom suffered gas inhalation. Only after an hour did the settlers leave the area and move to the nearby village of a-Tuwani, where they attacked a house with stones and injured residents trying to defend it. In the past year, settler attacks in Safar Yatta have intensified, as part of Israel's policy of expelling Palestinians and taking over their lands. Read more. View photo blog

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Faraj Tamimi (a-Zaru) after his release. Photo by Manal al-Ja’bari, B’Tselem
Faraj Tamimi (a-Zaru) after his release. Photo by Manal al-Ja’bari, B’Tselem

Central Hebron: Soldiers attack Palestinians complaining of settler violence and arrest one for allegedly assaulting them

On 25 Sep. 2020, settler teens attacked members of the Tamimi family on the family’s land in Hebron. Relatives notified soldiers at a nearby military post, only to be attacked by them. One was arrested, taken to a military base, beaten again, questioned by the police – only after the soldiers – accused of assaulting soldiers and throwing stones, and released on bail. Yet another day under occupation: leisure time ending in fleeing violent teens, and complaining to soldiers ending in severe violence, false arrest and paying hundreds of dollars. Read more 

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This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of B'Tselem and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.