Skip to main content
Menu
From the field
Topics

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

April 2021

18
The control panel of the water system in ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, torched by settlers. 18 Apr. 2021. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem
The control panel of the water system in ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, torched by settlers. 18 Apr. 2021. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem

‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, Nablus District: Settlers torch water system’s control panel, cutting off village supply

On 18 April 2021, towards evening, members of the village council discovered that settlers had damaged the gate leading to the village’s water reservoir, entered the premises and torched the control panel of the water system. As a result of the vandalism, the residents’ water supply was cut off.  

The village council reported the incident to the Palestinian DCO.  

The water reservoir was built with USAID funding on the southern side of the village. Since the beginning of 2020, B’Tselem has documented eight settler attacks on village residents and their property, most recently on 14 February 2021, when settlers attacked a minibus with about 15 passengers as it passed by the reservoir.  

The reservoir is located about 500 meters east of the settlement of Yitzhar, and about 150 meters away from a military watchtower.

 

17

Khirbet Zanutah, south of Hebron: Settlers push Palestinian farmer escorted by Israeli activists and drive his flock out with kicks

On the morning of 17 April 2021, brothers Amin (34) and Bassem (42) al-Khdeirat were out grazing their flock, accompanied by Israeli activists, about 300 meters away from the homes of their community. Suddenly, about five settlers appeared and began shouting at them in order to drive them away. One settler, known to the residents as “Eli,” pushed Bassem al-Khdeirat and the other settlers kicked some of the sheep. The brothers had to gather their flock and leave the area.

The settlers arrived from an outpost that was established on a nearby hill in early April this year, about 100 meters from the community. Since the outpost’s establishment, the residents of Khirbet Zanutah have been suffering repeated harassment and limited access to grazing areas.

The Mount Hebron Regional Council established an industrial area about a kilometer east of the community and installed solar panels in the fields. Israel erected the Separation Barrier about 1.5 kilometers south of the community.

In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash, the shepherds’ sister, Maryam al-Khdeirat (54), described how her brothers and the rest of the community have suffered since the outpost was established:

I live with my brother Amin and help graze the flock my three brothers raise. The flock is the entire community’s source of livelihood. The other women in the village and I milk the sheep, make cheese, gather dry firewood and bring food to our brothers and husbands while they’re grazing the flock. In summer, I grow vegetables for the family in the flatland of the valley near the village.

In early April, a settler set up an outpost on top of the hill opposite our village, about 100 meters away. Since then, our lives have been disrupted and we’ve started worrying about our livelihood and our future. The settler stops us from taking the sheep out to pasture far from the village and uses a drone to watch us. When we graze the flock, he comes over and threatens us with weapons. He also grazes his flock among our crops.

Since the settler attacked my two brothers and threatened them, I haven’t dared go far from the village to gather firewood as I did for years. I have no choice but to boil milk on a camping stove, which costs us a lot of money. A few days ago, while I was boiling the milk, the settlers’ drone hovered over my head and scared me. I’ve also stopped taking food out to my brothers in the pasture, and my nephews are scared to do it, too.

The new outpost limits our movement around the village and our access to pastureland. I now stay in the village and focus on making dairy products. My brother Amin doesn’t go far with the sheep. He grazes them nearby and comes back earlier because there’s nowhere to go. Last week he bought a large amount of fodder. I heard my brothers talking about how much it cost and I know they’re very worried.

We’re used to living in out in the open and moving freely. We were born here and used to lead a good life with a good income. We made a living from our dairy products and relied on the pastureland without buying a lot of fodder. We used dry wood for heating, cooking and boiling milk, and a cistern filled with winter rains to water the flock. Now, that’s also too dangerous because the settlers threaten the shepherds when they go to the cistern and steal the water buckets. I don’t see how we can grow the vegetables we used to rely on in summer. All these things are expensive – fodder, gas, water and vegetables, which we now have to buy.

We don’t know what to do and how we’ll make a living if the outpost stays here and its residents continue attacking us.

15
The settler and his dogs. Photo courtesy of community residents
The settler and his dogs. Photo courtesy of community residents

Wadi a-Siq, Ramallah District: Settler sets dogs on sheep grazing on community land and threatens shepherds at gunpoint

On 15 April 2021, at around 10:00 A.M., a settler arrived with a gun and two dogs at farmland that lies about a kilometer northwest of the community of Wadi a-Siq and about four kilometers east of Deir Dobwan, in Ramallah District. The settler set his dogs on the flocks of three shepherds from Wadi a-Siq grazing on the land, about 300 meters from the Alon Road. To defend themselves, the shepherds released their own dogs and started throwing stones at the settlers’ dogs to keep them away from the sheep. At one point, the settler went over to one of the farmers and slapped him several times. 

The settler pointed his gun at the shepherds and threatened to shoot them if they did not leave the area. He then headed towards a jeep that was parked by the Alon Road, where two other settlers were waiting for him. 

After the settler left the area, the shepherds examined their flocks and found one sheep dead. After gathering the flocks and returning home, they discovered that six of the ewes had miscarried. 

The settlement of Rimonim was established in 1980 about three kilometers from the site of the attack. Several outposts have been established around it over the years, and their residents graze sheep and cattle in the fields of local Bedouin communities and destroy their crops. 

In the past year, B’Tselem has documented several such attacks around the outposts, in addition to daily harassment of shepherds in an attempt to drive them and their flocks off the land. On 7 April 2021, Rabbi Arik Ascherman documented settlers who were grazing sheep and cattle on cultivated Palestinian fields as they attacked him with clubs. On 12 March 2021, settlers tried to tow away residential shacks belonging to area residents. On 14 April 2020, settlers harassed three Bedouin brothers who were grazing sheep in the area and filed false complaints against them, following which the military detained them for five days.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 17 April 2021, Bashar Ka’abneh (18) from the community of Wadi a-Siq recounted what happened that day: 

Two days ago, in the morning, I was grazing my flock on a hill about half a kilometer away from two other shepherds from the community. I was standing there with my cousin when suddenly, I saw a settler with two dogs that were attacking the sheep. I immediately called one of the shepherds and warned him.  

My cousin and I quickly went down the hill towards the shepherds. I saw one of them trying to chase the dogs away with stones. The sheep started running, and I saw the settler attack one of the shepherds, who’s deaf, and slap him.  

When we reached the shepherds, my dogs and my uncle’s dogs surrounded the settler’s dogs. We tried to drive his dogs out with stones, but the settler pointed his gun at us and shouted, “Leave, leave or I’ll shoot you.” Then he pulled his dogs away, and they drew back towards a white jeep with two more settlers that were waiting for them by the road.  

Then we started moving away with the flock, because we were afraid the settlers would come back and attack us. Meanwhile, we saw the settler stop a police car that was passing by. We don’t know if he filed a complaint against us. We’re used to them attacking us and then filing false complaints against us. The police always believe the settlers’ version, and that’s why we preferred to stay away. The police car tried to reach us but got stuck on the dirt roads and then turned around and drove off.  

Because of the attack, my uncle’s sheep died and three ewes in our flock and three others in my neighbor’s flock miscarried. We pray to God there won’t be any more attacks or damage.

The construction site where Hisham Hamud is building his home, after the settlers' invasion, Jalud, 15 Apr. 2021. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B'Tselem
The construction site where Hisham Hamud is building his home, after the settlers' invasion, Jalud, 15 Apr. 2021. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B'Tselem

Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers invade home under construction, steal equipment and damage structure

On the morning of 15 April 2021, Hisham Hamud (30), a married father of one, discovered that settlers had invaded the building site of his home in the southern part of the village. The settlers stole a cement mixer, damaged equipment and tools, and vandalized the walls of the house and the fence around it. They also broke and uprooted some 15 olive, citrus and almond saplings Hamud had planted a month earlier. Hamud estimates the damage to his property at about NIS 10,000 (~3,080 USD).

This is the sixth time B’Tselem has documented damage by settlers to residents of Jalud or to their property in 2021. The settlements of Shilo and Shvut Rachel and the outposts of Ahiya and Esh Kodesh were established about a kilometer from the village. Ahiya was established several hundred meters east of Hamud’s home.  

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi, Hisham Hamud described the damage the settlers caused him:

In early March 2021, we started building our home on a plot belonging to my family. The plot is about two dunams large [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] and lies in the southern part of Jalud, in an area defined as Area B. I’m a construction worker, so I started building the house myself and was able to lay the foundations.

On Thursday morning, 15 April 2021, while the Israelis and the settlers were on holiday because of Independence Day, I went to the building site. When I got there, I was shocked to find it severely damaged. They’d vandalized equipment, tools and the support pillars I was building. The criminals probably came from the east, from the settler farm called “Ahiya” that was established east of my plot, because they broke through the barbed-wire fence I’d put up around the plot and cut a large opening in it from the east, in order to get into the construction site.

The last time I worked at the site, I made three pillars out of planks and fixed them to pour cement into them, but the criminals knocked them down and damaged all three. I was amazed to find a small electric cement mixer I use for construction gone. I bought two cement mixers for 2,200 shekels (~677 USD) just two months ago. I tied one with a chain and bolt to a tree trunk at the construction site, so they couldn’t steal it. Instead, they cut its power cord. The other cement mixer wasn’t locked because I couldn’t find another chain, and they stole it.

They emptied about 30 sacks of cement on the ground and poured about three cubic meters of water on it, making it completely unusable. They also broke the lock on an old refrigerator that I use to store work tools, and stole them. On top of that, they cut, uprooted and broke 15 citrus, almond and olive saplings I’d planted in early March in the garden of my future home.

Here in Jalud, we’re used to extremist settlers carrying out such attacks by now. I have no conflict with residents of the village or of other villages, and the site was fully surrounded by a barbed-wire fence a meter and a half tall. They left a 2.5-meter-wide breach on its eastern side, facing the “Ahiya” farm, which is about 300 meters away. When I was looking for the stolen equipment, I found tools on the road leading there.

I estimate the damage they caused me at almost 10,000 shekels. They did everything in the dark and no one saw them. I work all week in a settlement to support my family, and put some of the money into building this small house for us to live in. Since I got married about 10 years ago, we’ve lived in a rented house in the village.

7

Deir Jarir, Ramallah District: Settlers grazed sheep and cattle in cultivated Palestinian fields. After Rabbi Arik Ascherman filmed them, they assaulted him with clubs.

On 7 April 2021, at around 5:00 P.M., three representatives of the Palestinian Authority’s National Commission against the Wall and the Settlements came to inspect the Ma’ale Ahuvya outpost, which was established on land belonging to the village of Deir Jarir. As they drove up, they found the outpost mostly evacuated but some 10 settlers still on the premises, including women and children. When the settlers noticed the car, some of them began running towards it and swearing at the representatives, who ignored them and kept driving.

As the three drove northeast of the village, they saw Israeli activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman standing by Road 449, filming four settlers who were grazing sheep and cattle in cultivated Palestinian fields. The three representatives stopped and got out of the car, at which point two of the settlers who had run towards them earlier also drove up. The settlers got out of their car, started arguing with the three and called for more settlers.

At that point, the four settlers who were grazing the herds headed towards the road and started shouting at the three representatives, threatening them and Rabbi Ascherman. Meanwhile, three more settlers appeared from the Palestinian fields, masked and armed with clubs. Several settlers drove the Palestinians out with threats. Then the two masked setters began beating Rabbi Ascherman with their clubs all over his body. A few minutes later, the settlers fled the area and the three Palestinian representatives left.

Rabbi Ascherman reported the attack to the Israel Police. Officers who arrived at the scene suggested he file a complaint at the Binyamin police station. He then drove to Jerusalem, where he received medical treatment.

4

Qusrah, Nablus District: Settlers cut down dozens of olive trees in latest harassment of villagers

On the morning of 4 April 2021, farmer Jawad Hassan (55) discovered that settlers had cut down some 70 olive trees and about 20 cypress and pine trees in his plot, which lies  southeast of the village.

This is the third time since the beginning of 2021 that settlers have attacked residents of Qusrah and damaged their property.

The settlement outposts of Esh Kodesh and Ahiya were established about 1.5 kilometers south of Qusrah.

3

Israeli settlers and soldiers repeatedly attack a-Tamimi family on their farmland, April 2021

In March 2021, B’Tselem documented four cases in which settlers and soldiers repeatedly tried to drive members of the a-Tamimi family and other farmers from the village of Deir Nizam out of their land and damaged their property.

One of the plots owned by the a-Tamimi family lies near the entrance to the village of a-Nabi Saleh and the roading leading to the settlement of Halamish, which was established about 200 meters away. The Zvi Bar Yosef farm outpost was established on the outskirts of the settlement, about 1.5 kilometers from the plot. Since the establishment of the outpost, Palestinian farmers have been suffering from repeated attacks on them and on their property.

Detailed below are three incidents that took place on three consecutive days in early April 2021. In every case, settlers and soldiers assaulted members of the a-Tamimi family working the plot and tried to drive them out.

3 April 2021

On the morning of 3 April 2021, members of the a-Tamimi family and other residents came to put up a fence around the plot, after receiving funding from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. The goal was to protect the crops from the cattle herds that settlers lead onto the land. At around midday, soldiers arrived at the scene and ordered them to stop working. When the farmers demanded the soldiers show an official order prohibiting them from working their land, the soldiers contacted the Israeli DCO to settle the matter. After two hours, the soldiers informed the farmers they could continue working as long as they did not approach the road leading to Halamish, and left the area.

At around 5:00 P.M., about 10 settlers came to the plot from the direction of the Zvi Bar Yosef outpost. The settlers, some of whom were armed, began shouting at the farmers and demanding they leave the area. The farmers refused, and then the settlers moved away and summoned soldiers. Upon arrival, the soldiers demanded the farmers stop working, cursed at them, hurled stun grenades, and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. Even after the farmers left the plot, the soldiers continued hurling stun grenades and firing tear gas canisters. They pepper-sprayed two of the farmers in the face, one of whom was already in his car.

4 April 2021

The next morning, about 15 Deir Nizam residents returned to the plot. While they were working, they saw the settlers who had harassed them the day before standing and watching them from a road overlooking the plot. A short while later, soldiers whom the settlers had summoned, according to witnesses, showed up again and ordered them to stop working until a representative of the Israeli DCO came and instructed them where they were allowed to work. The soldiers then left the area. The farmers waited until evening, but no DCO representative arrived and they eventually went home.

5 April 2021

The following morning, about 10 farmers returned to the plot and continued putting up the fence around it. At around 10:00, soldiers were again called to the scene by settlers according to witnesses. They again ordered the farmers to stop their work. After an argument, it was agreed that the farmers would again wait until Israeli DCO officials decided on the matter. At around midday, a military officer arrived and demanded to see the land ownership documents. The farmers presented him with the documents, but he ordered them to wait until the DCO reached a decision in order to avoid confrontation with the settlers. The officer then left, promising to leave a military jeep there to keep the peace until a decision was made. The farmers consented, but about half an hour later, the military jeep also left the area.

About 10 minutes after the jeep left, some five settlers came from the direction of the road near Halamish, invaded the plot and began uprooting the fence posts the farmers had put up two days earlier. The farmers immediately reported their actions to an Israeli DCO representative, who promised to send soldiers to the area and asked them to wait a few minutes. After waiting several minutes while the settlers continued destroying the fence, with no soldiers in sight, six farmers went over to the settlers, who had meanwhile been joined by about seven more settlers, some of them armed. The settlers starting hitting the farmers and throwing stones at them. The farmers tried to fend them off by throwing stones, until a settler they recognized threatened to shoot and hit two of them with his rifle, one in the shoulder and the other in the head. Two other farmers sustained head injuries from stones thrown by settlers.

At that point, several soldiers arrived and hurled stun grenades at the residents, who were forced to flee. Four of the injured farmers received first aid at the medical center in the neighboring village of Beit Rima.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 11 April 2021, Nader Ayoub (45), a US citizen born in the West Bank who had come to visit the a-Tamimi family, recounted how he and his relatives were attacked by settlers on 5 April 2021:

On Monday, 5 April 2021, at around 1:00 P.M., I brought drinks and biscuits to relatives of mine who were working land near the entrance to the village of a-Nabi Saleh. When I got there, they were in the middle of a confrontation with settlers. They were fighting with fists and stones. One of the settlers was armed. He was waving his rifle and threatening to shoot.

The minute I arrived, I saw my uncle on the ground with three settlers lying on top of him, beating him with fists and stones. I tried to help him, and then the settlers attacked me. I tried to defend myself, but one of them attacked me from behind and hit me in the back of my head with a rifle butt. It hurt very much and I felt dizzy. I lost balance and fell over. My uncles came over and got the settlers off me. After a few seconds, I managed to get up enough strength to stand up, but I was still wobbly. My uncle Munir was also injured and was bleeding from the back of the head. We both moved away a bit from the settlers.

I live in the US and was visiting my family in Deir Nizam. It took me one day to witness the settlers’ violence. I was shocked by the military’s cooperation with the criminals, backing them with no justification. I was advised to file a complaint, but I don’t believe it will lead to anything. There’s a Palestinian proverb that says: Who can you complain to when the judge himself is your opponent?

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 11 April 2021, Munir a-Tamimi (50), a married father of five from Deir Nizam, recalled how the soldiers joined in the settlers’ attack on 5 April 2021:

Half an hour later, a military jeep arrived. At first it was one patrol (car), and then four or five other patrols drove up. The soldiers help the settlers drive us out. In the beginning they threw stun grenades straight at us, threatened us and pushed us. They managed to get us to leave and tried unsuccessfully to confiscate Amjad’s camera. We heard the settlers egging them on and lying to them that we’d tried to snatch a weapon. We had to keep our heads down and back away.

We’re exposed to harassment and attacks whenever we work the farmland in this area. B’Tselem has documented some of these attacks, especially recent ones by settlers from the outposts headed by a settler who's well-known among area residents.

Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers with military escort uproot utility pole installed by Palestine Electric Company and attack village resident (71) with stones and club

On 15 October 2020, residents of Jalud discovered that settlers had cut down a utility pole installed by the village council to provide electricity to homes in the southeastern part of the village. One of the homes belongs to Walid Shweiki (71), a father of seven.

On 3 April 2021, workers from the Palestine Electric Company (PEC) came to the spot with council representatives and neighborhood residents in order to install a new pole. At around midday, several settlers arrived from the direction of the Esh Kodesh and Ahiya outposts, established several hundred meters away. The settlers told the residents that the land belongs to them. Some 15 minutes later, about 20 more masked settlers arrived, running. The residents and the PEC workers fled and the settlers attacked Shweiki, who remained alone.

Two soldiers who were escorting the settlers ordered Shweiki to leave and led him away. The settlers uprooted the utility pole and shattered the windshield of a resident’s car parked nearby.

The settlers thereby ensured, with military assistance, that Shweiki and his neighbors would be forced to continue living without electricity.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Walid Shweiki (71) recounted the attack:

While the laborers were working, several settlers came from the direction of the outpost, which is about 300 meters away. One of them said, “What are you doing here? This isn’t your land!” Then an argument developed over who owns the land. The settlers said it’s theirs and that our land is in Saudi Arabia. When they saw we were ignoring them and not leaving, one of them said, “Now we’ll bring more people to get you out of here.” I saw one of them talking on the phone.

After 10 or 15 minutes, I saw about 20 masked settlers running towards us from the east. The council head and the other residents ran away and I was left alone with the settlers. It was the first time I’d ever seen anything like it. I wanted to get away from there, too, but I’m elderly and can’t walk fast or run. The settlers ran towards me and started throwing stones at me. One of them hit me with a club and tried to knock me down, but I stayed standing. Another threw a large stone at me and I pushed it away with my hands.

There were two or three soldiers there, and one of them said to me, “Go on, get out of here.” I asked him, “Don’t you see what they’re doing?” He said, again, “Go on, get out of here.” Meanwhile, the settlers kept shouting and throwing stones at me and the soldiers did nothing to them. Two soldiers walked with me for about 60 meters until I was some way away from the settlers. Meanwhile, the settlers uprooted the utility pole and threw it on the ground in front of the soldiers.

I went home and shut the door and the windows. I was scared the settlers would come after me. Then I drove to my family, who were in Jerusalem. Since the settlers cut down the utility pole in October, I’ve had no electricity at home and it’s impossible to live there.

March 2021

20
A fence vandalized by settlers in Bilal Badawi's plot, Qaryut, 20 March 2021
A fence vandalized by settlers in Bilal Badawi's plot, Qaryut, 20 March 2021

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers uproot trees in Palestinian farmer’s plot, planted their own trees in another’s and used soldiers to help them drive him away.

On 20 March 2021, at around 2:00 P.M., Shenar ‘Amer, a 37-year-old married father of five from Qaryut, arrived at a plot of land he leases from another village resident. The plot lies south of the village, several hundred meters from where the settlements of Shilo and Shvut Rachel were built.

When he arrived, ‘Amer saw settlers had planted about 20 citrus trees in the plot and put up metal barrels around them. He began removing the barrels, and then the security coordinator of the settlement of Shilo showed up and told him to leave. In the meantime, a car with three other settlers arrived along with a military jeep. The settlers claimed they owned the land, and the soldiers ordered ‘Amer to present them with ownership documents, which he had not brought with him. Fearful of confronting the settlers and soldiers, ‘Amer had no choice but to return home. The next day, the settlers put the barrels back around the trees they had planted in the plot. ‘Amer asked the plot owner to file a police complaint.

Three days later, Bilal Badawi (44), a father of four, arrived at his plot, which lies about a kilometer southeast of the plot leased by ‘Amer (and about 300 meters from the settlement of Shvut Rachel). When Badawi arrived, he discovered settlers had damaged the fence encircling his plot and uprooted about 50 young olive trees he planted several months earlier. Badawi informed the Shvut Rachel security guard, who arrived at the plot, as well as the Qaryut Village Council and the Palestinian DCO. He also filed a complaint with the Binyamin police.

B’Tselem documented another case of settler interference with farmland belonging to a resident of Qaryut in early March 2021. Residents of Qaryut suffer from repeated settler harassment in this area. Multiple settlements and outposts have been established around the village - Shilo, Shvut Rachel, Eli, Ahiya, Nof Harim, Hayovel, Hakaron and Giv’at Harel.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Shenar ‘Amer recounted the attempted takeover of his plot and how the soldiers had backed the settlers:

I came to the plot I’ve been leasing for years from another village resident. I grow wheat and barley there, and was going to plow that day. When I got there, I saw metal barrels had been put up around about 20 citrus saplings in the plot. I realized right away that settlers had put them up and started removing the barrels and throwing them aside.

Suddenly, the security coordinator of the settlement of Shilo, which is located 300 meters away from the plot, showed up and asked me what I was doing and why I was there. I told him it was my plot, and he told me to get lost or there would be trouble. Meanwhile, three settlers came by car, escorted by a military jeep that had been standing on the Shilo settlement “security road.” One of the settlers said he owned the land. I told him: “No way is this your land! It’s our land!” What I meant was that the land belongs to Palestinians, because someone from the village owns it. I’ve been working in farming with my father since I was a child, and I know all the plots and their owners.

The settler and I got into an argument and eventually, the soldiers demanded I show them ownership papers, which, of course, I didn’t have on me. It never crossed my mind to bring the papers to plow. I had to go because I was scared and I was facing the settlers, the security coordinator, the settlement and the soldiers all alone.

I told the owner of the plot what had happened and asked him to file a complaint, out of concern that the settlers would take over the land and deny us access to it.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Bilal Badawi spoke about the damage the settlers had done to his fence and about the trees they uprooted:

I came to the plot to tend to the olive trees I planted in November 2020. At the time, I bought 75 five-year-old trees, and I put a fence up around the plot to protect them from settler aggression and wild animals. I discovered the fence had been cut in several spots and that some of the tree trunks had been broken and others had been uprooted. I froze on the spot and didn’t know what to do. Two days before that, on 21 March 2021, I went there and saw footprints and signs that someone had tried to damage the chicken wire fence.

While I was standing there, the security coordinator of the settlement of Shvut Rachel drove up and asked me what happened. After I told him, he left. I called the council and told them what happened, and then two members of the council came to the plot. I filed a complaint with the Palestinian DCO and went to file a complaint with the Israeli police too, at the Binyamin station, even though I know they won’t take it seriously. I still wanted what happened to be documented.

If a Palestinian tried to get into the settlement security area, they would have turned the world upside down. He’d be caught or maybe even shot. But they belittle anything the settlers do to the Palestinians and don’t consider it important at all.

19
Hamad Krishan's cars on fire after being torched by settlers. Beit Iksa, 19 March 2021. Photo by Hamad Krishan
Hamad Krishan's cars on fire after being torched by settlers. Beit Iksa, 19 March 2021. Photo by Hamad Krishan

Beit Iksa, al-Quds District: Settlers torch cars belonging to local resident and graffiti wall

On 19 March 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., Hammad Krishan, a 46-year-old father of eight, was woken by noise outside his house. When he went outside, he saw both his cars, which were parked out front, on fire. Krishan called the Palestinian fire department, but it took them more than half an hour to arrive, as they had to coordinate passage through the checkpoint at the entrance to the village. The Israel Police arrived and collected statements from Krishan and other residents. After a sweep of the area, the residents and the police found “Regards from Ahuvia” spray-painted on a wall in the village.

Since 16-year-old Israeli Ahuvia Sandak died during a police chase near the settlement of Kochav Hashachar on 21 December 2020, the number of violent settler attacks against Palestinians – a matter of routine in the West Bank – has sharply risen.

The Palestinian village of Beit Iksa is located northwest of Jerusalem, inside the West Bank and just outside Jerusalem’s municipal borders. In 2010, the military put up a permanent checkpoint at the only entrance to the village, and have since allowed entry into the village only to individuals whose IDs indicate they are registered as local residents or by special permit.

17
An engineering tool sweeps the ground in the land of Nu'man Samhan, Ras Karkar, 17.3.2021. Photo: Courtesy of the witness
An engineering tool sweeps the ground in the land of Nu'man Samhan, Ras Karkar, 17.3.2021. Photo: Courtesy of the witness

Ras Karkar, Ramallah District: Settlers rake farmer’s land, uproot mature olive trees and sabotage well

On the morning of 17 March 2021, farmer Nu’man Samhan (65), a father of one, discovered that settlers had raked five dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] of his land, uprooted 15 olive trees that were about 50 years old and damaged a well there.

The settlement outpost of Zayit Ra’anan was established near the plot, which is surrounded by the outpost fence. The military only allows Samhan to access his plot twice a year, during the plowing and harvest seasons, and only after prior coordination with the Israeli DCO.

Last year, on 9 September 2020, Samhan discovered that settlers had raked parts of his land and damaged about 20 mature olive trees. A week later, they returned and destroyed another 170 trees, in order to prepare Samhan’s land for running sewer pipes through it to serve area outposts.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Nu’man Samhan described the settlers’ damage to his crops and property:

My family owns about 50 dunams of olive groves that we inherited from our grandparents 50 years ago. When I was a child we used to come to the land and stay on it for days, weeks, and even months. Our land has a well and more than 200 olive trees, which are 50 years old. They  are now surrounded by the fence of the Zayit Ra’anan outpost. We’re only allowed to go there twice a year: once during the plowing season at the beginning of the year, and once during the harvest season at the end of the year, based on prior coordination with the Israeli DCO.

Last September, we found out that settlers had uprooted 20 olive trees, which were 50 to 60 years old, in order to lay a sewer pipe in the ground. A week later, we found out that the settlers had damaged about 170 more olive trees and stolen their crops.

15

Bani Na’im, Hebron District: Settlers stone shepherds, lightly stab one and fire at their dogs

On 15 March 2021, three Palestinians shepherds took their flocks out to pasture along with three dogs.

At around 2:30 P.M., four settlers approached them from the direction of the Yosef Or settlement outpost, also with three dogs in tow. The settlers attacked the shepherds and their flocks with stones.

One of the settlers fired a shot at the shepherds’ dogs, who ran away. He also threatened one of the shepherds with his gun, forcing him to gather the flock and leave the area. The settlers attacked a ewe and when one of the shepherds tried to fend them off, an armed settler wounded him lightly in the finger with a knife.

Meanwhile, the shepherd's father, who came home, reported the attack to the Israeli Civil Administration. About an hour later, a Civil Administration officer came to the spot and suggested the shepherds file a complaint at the Kiryat Arba police station. The residents and the settlers dispersed.

The following day, the shepherds went to the police station but after a futile six-hour wait, went home without filing a complaint. The next day, one of the shepherds went to the police station and managed to file a complaint.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, shepherd ‘Ali Hamdan (24), a married father of two, recalled the attack by the settlers:

I was grazing my flock in a valley near Khirbet ‘Ein al-Hamrah, about a kilometer and a half south of the settlement of Pnei Hever. There were two other shepherds from my family there.

Suddenly, I saw four settlers running towards us. I know one of them as “Nathan,” who set up a farm on the southern edge of Pnei Hever. He grazes his flock among our cultivated crops. The settlers were heading towards my cousin Muhammad, who was grazing the sheep closest to the settlement. I was afraid they’d attack him. I called Muhammad and my uncle Saber and warned them. I also called my father at home and told him what was happening.

While I was talking to Muhammad, he told me the settlers were attacking his flock with stones. A few minutes later, I saw the settlers coming in my direction. Two of them stopped at a high spot, and the other two continued towards me. Meanwhile, I saw Muhammad and Saber running in my direction. My dogs ran towards the settlers’ dogs, and then the settler “Nathan” fired a shot at my dogs, who ran and hid among the sheep.  

Then “Nathan” drew closer with another settler, and they started throwing stones at my flock. I yelled at them to stop. “Nathan” pulled out his gun, aimed it at me from about a meter away, and threatened to shoot. The two settlers standing on top of the hill threw stones at the flock, so I had to draw back and return home. Saber and Muhammad stayed put.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Saber Manasrah (42), a married father of six, recounted what happened after ‘Ali returned home:

After ‘Ali moved away with his flock, I saw “Nathan” and the other settler grab a ewe that was lagging behind the flock and throw her on the ground. I intervened to get her out of their hands. “Nathan” pushed me with a sharp object and injured one of my fingers. Meanwhile, ‘Ali’s father came. He called a Civil Administration officer named Husam Ma’adi and told him what happened. Then I saw the settler “Nathan” talking on the phone, and I realized he was also talking with Husam.

The settlers let the ewe go. “Nathan” stayed there with the other settler, and I stayed with Muhammad and ‘Ali’s father, and we waited for more than an hour until Husam arrived. When he got there, he tried to calm things down. When he saw my injury, he suggested I file a complaint with the Israeli police. Then we all went home.

The shepherds live about three kilometers south of Bani Na’im. The settlement of Pnei Hever was established about a kilometer away. In 2018, settlers established the Yosef Or outpost on the southern edge of the settlement.

13

Qawawis, South Hebron Hills: Settlers attack Palestinian car with children inside and beat father unconscious

On 13 March 2021, at around 8:00 A.M., Um Lasafa residents Sa’id (49) and Rima (40) ‘Awad went with their three children and 12 nephews and nieces to their land, which lies in the Qawawis area of the South Hebron Hills. When they reached the plot, near which the outpost of Mitzpe Yair has been established, the family saw a settler grazing his flock in their olive grove. After Rima ‘Awad began filming him, he called for more settlers and 12 others arrived, with masked faces, and attacked the family with stones. The settlers shattered the windshield and a side window of the family’s jeep with some of the children inside.

Two of the couple’s children, Sanad (15) and Mu’az (12), went aside and tried to drive the settlers away from their family by throwing stones at them. Meanwhile, two settlers approached the rest of the family and attacked Rima and Sa’id with an iron pipe and stones, as well as with their bare fists. After Sai’d lost consciousness, the settlers fled the area. A soldier arrived and called for an Israeli ambulance and for military back-up.

An Israeli ambulance took Sa’id and Rima to the road leading to the Mitzpe Yair outpost. From there, they were transferred to two Palestinian ambulances that took them to ‘Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron. The children were taken home by relatives and villagers from Um Lasafa.

The couple underwent medical examinations and X-rays, which revealed that the settlers had broken Sa’id’s lower jaw and injured him in the head, while Rima suffered bruising in various parts of her body. Sa’id was transferred to al-Ahli hospital in Hebron, where he underwent surgery to set his jaw the following day.

On 17 March 2021, Sa’id ‘Awad file a complaint at the Kiryat Araba police station.

Members of the family gave the following testimonies to B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash:

In his testimony, Sai’d ‘Awad (49), a married father of 10 from Um Lasafa, recounted:

My family and I own more than 200 dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] of farmland in Qawawis. The Mitzpe Yair outpost was established northwest of our land, right next to it. Last year, a settler named Yossi started grazing his flock in our fields. We filed several complaints with the Civil Administration and the Israeli police, but nothing happened.  

Despite this situation, I go to the land every Saturday with my family. We tend to the 150 olive seedlings we planted there a few months ago, and spend time with the kids.

On Saturday, 13 March 2021, I drove there in our jeep with my wife Rima and 15 small children: our three kids – Sanad (15), Mu’az (12) and Asil (7) – and nephews and nieces of mine. When we got there, we saw the settler Yossi grazing his flock in the cultivated part of our land. I got out of the jeep with my wife and our two sons, Sanad and Mu’az, and my wife started filming the settler. I heard him talking on the phone and asking more settlers to come. Within five minutes, 12 settlers arrived, including a man that I recognized as Yossi’s brother. As they drew near, they covered their faces and started throwing stones at us and at our car.

I stood in front of the car, picked up a stick and waved it at the settlers. I yelled at them not to come near because there were children in the car. Two settlers went up to my wife. One of them was holding an iron pipe about a meter long. He hit her with it and knocked her to the ground. I threw the stick at them to get them off my wife, and they left her and started coming towards me.  

The settler with the pipe hit me in the face, head and jaw – and I fell down. The other settler threw a stone that hit me in the left hand, with which I was holding the phone to call the police. He broke the phone and it fell to the ground. I got up and tried to defend myself. I picked up stones and tried to throw them at the settlers and run after them. My two sons, Sanad and Mu’az, moved away and also started throwing stones at the settlers. The whole time, I heard the kids screaming in the jeep. Later, I found out that my daughter Asil had tried to protect them by hiding the little ones between the seats and shouting from inside the car. I took a few steps and then collapsed and blacked out.

I woke up in hospital with sharp pain in my jaw and head. It turned out that my lower left jaw is broken in several places, and I have bruising in the upper part of my head and around the left eye. Then they transferred me to another hospital, because they didn’t have a doctor who specializes in jaw surgery. After the doctors completed the tests, they decided to operate on me the following day in order to set the jaw. They said that it would have to stay set for at least two months. That means I can’t go to my job in Israel for two months, and the large family I support will suffer without this income.

 In her testimony, Sai’d’s wife and mother of six, Rima ‘Awad (40), recalled:

Two settlers approached me. One of them was holding an iron pipe. He hit me on the left side of my body and I fell down. He tried to snatch the phone out of my hand, but my husband threw his stick at them and they backed away from me. I got up, doubled up in pain from the blow.

I saw the settler with the pipe go over to my husband, who was standing in front of our jeep, and attack him with the pipe. My husband fell down and then got up, walked several steps and fell over again. The attack was very quick and when my husband fell over again, the settlers fled.

I saw four soldiers quite far away from us. I was very worried about the small children – I heard them shouting from inside the jeep. Asil later told me how she’d tried to protect them and moved the little ones to sit between the seats. I saw my son Sanad go over to the soldiers and come back with one of them to show him his father, who was lying on the ground with a head injury.

I’m trying to remember what happened. I can’t believe we survived an attack by a whole group of hateful settlers who threw stones at us and at our jeep. They smashed the windshield and a side window while 13 small children were sitting inside, who could’ve been injured. It’s hard to believe my husband’s still alive after the blows he took to the head from the iron pipe.

Burin, Nablus District: Soldiers escort settlers stoning residents and fire tear gas and “rubber bullets” at residents who try to make them leave

On 13 March 2021, Burin resident Muntasser Mansur was working on construction of his house along with another village resident. At around 2:30 P.M., some 20 settlers arrived escorted by about six soldiers, and started throwing stones at the house. Mansur and his friend went outside and tried to make them leave by throwing stones, yet to no avail. One of the settlers fired two shots with his gun, one of which hit the wall behind Mansur, and the two men had to flee towards the village homes.

Meanwhile, village residents gathered round the house. Some of them, along with Mansur and his friend, tried to drive the settlers away by throwing stones. At that point, some of the settlers continued to throw stones at the house while others started chasing the residents. The soldiers, by then joined by more forces, fired rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas at the residents, who had no choice but to retreat.

The house the settlers stoned lies several hundred meters east of the other houses in the village, and the settlement of Har Bracha and the settlement outpost of Sneh Ya’akov (Giv’at Ronen) were established about a kilometer from it.

The residents of Burin, which is hemmed in by the settlements of Har Bracha and Yitzhar, have been suffering settler attacks for years. In the 1980s, the settlement of Yitzhar was established about a kilometer south of the village and the settlement of Har Bracha was established about a kilometer northeast of the village – both on land belonging to Burin and to neighboring villages.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Muntasser Mansur (31), a father of one and a bus driver, recounted how the settlers attacked his half-built house with army backing:

On 13 March 2021, at around 2:30 P.M., I was working on construction of my house together with another resident of the village. Suddenly, about 20 settlers showed up and started throwing stones at the house. I immediately called my family to tell them what was going on, because I was afraid. There were a lot of settlers there, and about six to eight soldiers guarding them who did nothing to stop them. We tried to defend ourselves and threw stones back, but they outnumbered us and one of them had a gun.

One of the settlers fired two shots with his gun, and one of the bullets hit the wall behind me. I realized our lives were in danger. We went outside and started running towards the village. After we went some way, we stopped and watched the settlers. Then some other residents arrived, and together with them we tried to make the settlers leave by throwing stones. Some of the settlers continued throwing stones at the house, and others started chasing us along with the soldiers, who fired “rubber” bullets and tear gas at us. Meanwhile, four military jeeps arrived and more soldiers got out. They also fired “rubber” bullets and tear gas at us. The residents had to draw back. I stayed on the lookout, to watch what they were doing to my house, and saw they were damaging it.

This isn’t the first time they’ve attacked the house. It’s happened several times before, and every time I’ve had to fix what they destroyed. It’s cost me tens of thousands of shekels. They clearly want to expand the settlement of Har Bracha on our land, and therefore want to prevent any new construction in the area. I can’t take these losses any more. I have a family to support and rent to pay. No one can stand these attacks. Every time they attacked and destroyed something in the house, I felt it in my body. It’s an injustice that no one can tolerate – watching your home under attack by settlers guarded by armed soldiers who fire at anyone who comes close. They are free to do as they please. They build houses and roads and create parks wherever they want, and we can’t even build on our own land.

12
The residential shack towed away by settlers and damaged. Photo by Iyad Haddad, B'Tselem.
The residential shack towed away by settlers and damaged. Photo by Iyad Haddad, B'Tselem.

Al-Ka’abneh community, Ramallah District: Settlers try to tow away residential shacks and damage one

On the evening of 12 March 2021, at around 8:00 P.M., residents of the Badu a-Mu’arrajat community noticed several vehicles, apparently belonging to settlers, drive up to the shacks in which the 25 members of the Ka’abneh family live. The settlers towed away one shack, abandoning it in a shambles some way away, and apparently tried unsuccessfully to tow away at least one other. Soldiers stationed at a military outpost in a nearby junction, which has a watchtower overlooking the area, did not intervene.

The shacks are the permanent residence of the Ka’abneh family and lie south of the village of a-Taybah in Ramallah District, about a kilometer from Badu al-Mu’rrajat. The family lives there in summer, and in winter relocates with their flock to a site about two kilometers to the southeast.

The following morning, members of the Ka’abneh family arrived and found the shack destroyed. They notified the Israel Police, but officers arrived only two days later and suggested the family file a complaint at the Binyamin police station.

The family went to the police station twice, but the officers refused to register their complaint, claiming that there was no Arabic-speaking investigator present. 

The settlement of Rimonim was established in 1980 about two kilometers from the community. Several outposts have been put up around the settlement over the years, whose residents graze sheep and cattle in the fields of local Bedouin communities and destroy their crops. In addition, settlers from the outposts harrass local Palestinian residents daily, attacking and threatening them to try and make them leave the area, in order to take over their land. On 14 April 2021, settlers from the outpost harassed three Bedouin brothers who were grazing their flocks in the area and filed false complaints against them. The military unjustifiably detained the brothers for five days, and they were eventually released on a NIS 3,000 bail (~870 USD).

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, ‘Odeh Ka’abneh (36), a married father of six, described his family’s situation since settlers took up residence nearby:

We’re a Bedouin family of 25. We’ve been living here for 50 years as shepherds, raising our livestock. We have about 200 sheep, which are our main source of livelihood. In the winter, we move our flock to the Badu a-Mu’arrajat area. The settlement of Rimonim was established about two kilometers away from us.

More than two years ago, settlers set up a farm about two kilometers north of our farm, outside Rimonim’s fence. They have about six or seven shacks. Since they came to the area, they’ve been harassing us to try and make us leave. They drive us out of pastureland and sometimes threaten us with weapons. We filed complaints, but the Israeli police and the military do nothing.

It got to the point where the “Torat Tzedek” organization started sending volunteers to escort us. Last summer, they even lived with us in order to document the setters’ aggression. But the documentation and the complaints we’ve filed didn’t help, because the military and the police always back the settlers. They claim we don’t have documents proving we own the land, but they don’t demand such documents from the settlers. The settlers claim the land is theirs because God gave it to them, that they have a right to live in it and that we should leave. Where will we go? We were here before the settlers and have lived here for several generations.

Now, every year, they take advantage of the period we move to a-Mu’arrajat in winter and leave our shacks here until we return in April.

On Friday evening, 12 March 2021, the Fazza’ family – another Bedouin family that lives a kilometer or two from our community – informed us that they’d seen the lights of a vehicle that apparently belongs to settlers, and that they were vandalizing our shacks. We were afraid that if we got there at night, the settlers would hurt us, so we waited until morning.

The following day, I went there with my father and my brothers and an Israeli activist from “Torat Tzedek” to assess the damage. It turned out they’d tried to tow one of the shacks away – they probably wanted to steal it, but failed. We found it lying ruined about 10 meters from where it had stood. It looked like they’d tried to tow another shack and destroy it, too, but were unsuccessful. We called the Israeli police, but the officers only arrived on Sunday morning. They looked at the damage and suggested we file a complaint at the Binyamin police station. My father went there that day and the next day with Arik Asherman to file a complaint, but each time they were told that the complaint couldn’t be registered because there were no Arabic-speaking investigators. We dismantled the two shacks and moved them to Badu a-Mu’arrajat, so the settlers wouldn’t try to steal them again. I don’t know if we’ll bring them with us when we go back there in April.

That’s how we live now. They don’t leave us alone for a single day and don’t let us live in peace. The Israeli military and police don’t protect us, and even if we defend ourselves, they’ll arrest and prosecute us. We don’t know who to turn to and are even thinking about abandoning the community, because we’re afraid they’ll hurt us. These people have no mercy and no God. Our situation is unbearable. Only God knows what we’re going through.

9

Deir Nizam, Ramallah District: Settlers repeatedly drive farmers out of their land with help of soldiers and Israeli authorities

On 9 March 2021, five members of the a-Tamimi family from the village of Deir Nizam went to one of their plots, which lies near the neighboring village of a-Nabi Saleh. A settler named Zvi, who established the Zvi Bar Yosef farm outpost nearby  and grazes his cattle on land belonging to local farmers, noticed them when they arrived. He summoned soldiers, who drove the farmers out of their land and confiscated their tractor, on the pretext that they were on “state land.”

On the morning of 17 March 2021, several family members went to another plot they own, located about 600 meters west of the first plot and about 200 meters from the settlement of Halamish. A few months ago, the family planted 2,400 almond seedlings in this plot and put up a fence around them, as part of a program supported by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and the Palestinian Center for Development. When they got there, they found that settlers had uprooted a large part of the fence. While they were repairing it, several settlers appeared and led their cattle onto the family’s plot to graze. An argument broke out over ownership of the land. The settlers – including Zvi from the outpost mentioned above, who was armed –  summoned soldiers and an official from the Israeli Antiquities Authority, who ordered the family to stop working and leave their land, on the grounds that it was a closed military zone.

On the afternoon of 19 March 2021, the family again came to their plot and found Settlers grazing cattle on its outskirts. One settler threatened to shoot the family if they did not leave. A few minutes later, more settlers arrived, including Zvi. They were followed by several soldiers, who dispersed both the settlers and the family.

The following morning, 20 March 2021, at around 7:00 A.M., the a-Tamimi family returned to their land (200 meters from which the settlement of Halamish was established) to continue working, and discovered that settlers had uprooted most of the seedlings they had planted. The family reported the incident to the Palestinian DCO and called village residents, who helped them replant the seedlings.

Later that afternoon, several members of the a-Tamimi family returned to the first plot, which lies near the entrance to the village of a-Nabi Saleh. About eight soldiers and officers appeared and told them to leave. When the family refused, the soldiers demanded to see the land deeds. Yet presenting the documents did not suffice. About 20 other village residents gathered at the scene. At that point, an officer ordered the soldiers to hurl stun grenades and shoot tear gas canisters at them. The residents fled some 50 meters away, where they stopped and watched the unfolding scene. They saw a soldier uproot two olive seedlings that had been planted in the plot, but were unable to do anything. At around 6:00 P.M., the residents went home.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Munjed Tamimi described the invasions and harassment, the family’s violent expulsion from their land, and their helplessness in the face of the settlers’ takeover intentions:

The acts of aggression and harassment by settlers from the outposts against farmers from our village don’t stop, but increase with every day that goes by. We’re particularly troubled by the “Zvi’s Farm” outpost, where the settler has a herd of about 50 cows. He’s constantly grazing them on the land of Palestinian farmers near Halamish, such as in Um Lasafa, a-Nabi Saleh and Deir Nizam. He and his herd vandalize our land and property as if it were their private territory. The settlement security guards, the military and the Israeli police always protect him and drive us out. Sometimes he’s also helped by the Israel Parks and Nature Authority or Israel Antiquities Authority staff, who also drive us out.

In one such incident, on 20 March 2021, we showed them the land deeds after they demanded them. They had nothing to say. The officer talked on the phone with someone, probably some official, and I heard him say that we have the deeds and that there’s no cause to uproot the seedlings. The person he spoke to replied that they’re small seedlings now, but when they grow they’ll block the view in front of Halamish. I heard him order the officer to drive us out even if he had to use force to do so.

At the end of the conversation, he ordered the soldiers to throw stun grenades at us from short range. At first, there were only about seven of us there, but then backup arrived from our village and from a-Nabi Saleh, and we were already 30 to 40 people. We were careful not to get dragged into a confrontation with them, because that’s what they want. When they saw that we weren’t moving, they also fired tear gas canisters at us.

To get away from the gas, we went about 50 to 70 meters away and waited there for the soldiers to leave. I saw one of them uproot two olive seedlings. We filmed him. We were furious and yelled at them that it’s not manly to take revenge on the trees. Meanwhile, it was getting dark and it wasn’t possible to work the land anyway, so we went home, hoping to come back to the land the next day to complete the work.

It seems it will be a long struggle, but we’re ready for it. The land is like our soul, and we won’t give in to them.

The settlement of Halamish was established about 200 meters away from the village.

6
The al-Haj family’s car, damaged by settlers in Bruqin, 6 Mar. 2021
The al-Haj family’s car, damaged by settlers in Bruqin, 6 Mar. 2021

Bruqin, Salfit District: Settlers vandalize car of family spending time on their farmland

On 6 March 2021, at around midday, Hatem al-Haj (66), his wife and their children went to their plot, which stretches over 11 dunams of land [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters]. The settlement of Bruchin was established south of the plot.

While the family was spending time on their land, about five settlers arrived and began to vandalize their car, which was parked about 200 meters away. The settlers punctured the tires, smashed the windows with stones and damaged the chassis. Al-Haj, who heard and saw the settlers vandalizing his car, ran towards them to drive them away, and the settlers fled towards the settlement of Bruchin. The family had to call a tow truck to transport the car back to the village, and the repairs will be expensive. 

4
The agricultural structure destroyed by settlers in Shadi Sai’d’s grove, Kafr a-Dik, 4 Mar. 2021
The agricultural structure destroyed by settlers in Shadi Sai’d’s grove, Kafr a-Dik, 4 Mar. 2021

Kafr a-Dik, Salfit District: Settlers destroy agricultural structure recently set up in villager’s grove

On Thursday, 4 March 2021, during the daytime, Shadi Sai’d (41) went to his grove north of the village and discovered that settlers had destroyed an agricultural structure he had put up about a month ago. During the construction, several settlers had come to the site and photographed the works.  

The settlement of Bruchin was established about 500 meters east of Sa’id’s plot.

2
Fence destroyed by settlers in Qaryut, 2 March 2021. Photo by Muhammad al-Boum
Fence destroyed by settlers in Qaryut, 2 March 2021. Photo by Muhammad al-Boum

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers invade plot, damage fence and irrigation lines, cut down olive saplings and uproot vegetables

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.

 

A car window smashed by settlers under the Dmeidi family home, Huwarah, 2 Mar. 2021. Photo courtesy of the Dmeidi family
A car window smashed by settlers under the Dmeidi family home, Huwarah, 2 Mar. 2021. Photo courtesy of the Dmeidi family

Huwarah, Nablus District: Settlers invade yard, pelt it with stones and vandalize parked cars

On 2 March 2021, at around 11:00 P.M., dozens of settlers invaded the yard of the Demeidi family home, located in the southwestern side of the town of Huwarah, and pelted it with stones.

The settlers smashed four of the home’s windows, splashed paint on its walls and broke roof tiles installed above the front door. In addition, they severely vandalized a car parked in the yard: smashing its windows, puncturing its tires, breaking the headlights and the sideview mirrors, and damaging the chassis.

Later that night, a resident of the town, whose car was parked about 100 meters away from the Demeidis’ home, discovered that settlers had smashed its windshield.

Since the beginning of 2020, B’Tselem has documented 12 settler attacks on residents, homes, and property in the town of Huwarah.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Ghaleb Demeidi (48), a married father of five, described the attack on his home by settlers:  

I was sitting in the living room with my wife Sanaa, our four children, and Karam, my daughter Raghad’s (21) fiancée. Suddenly, we heard a commotion outside and sounds of stones landing like heavy rain. We didn’t understand what was going on. We heard glass shattering. Glass flew into the house and we heard pounding on the front door, which is made of metal. It was terrifying! I didn’t know what to do. I looked out the kitchen window and saw about 20 to 30 settlers in our yard. Some of them were wrecking my daughter’s fiancée, Karam’s car, and others were throwing stones at the house.

I went up to the roof with Karam and we yelled at the settlers from there and called the neighbors. My wife called our relatives and friends to come and protect us because when the settlers see people gathering, they get spooked and leave. And that’s exactly what happened – when they saw our relatives, friends, and us, they started moving away towards the settlement of Yitzhar.

We were totally shocked by what happened. The quantity of stones that were in the yard and on the front steps was unbelievable, and the noise they caused was terrifying.

After about half an hour, the settlement security coordinator drove up with two military jeeps. They must have arrived because villagers who’d come to help us had gathered there with their cars. The settler and the soldiers asked us what had happened. We told them about what the settlers had done, but they didn’t care and left right away.

This wasn’t the first time settlers attacked our neighborhood. A few months ago, they attacked our neighbor’s house, and destroyed his car.

The settlement of Yitzhar was established about a kilometer from the attacked home.

EU

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.