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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

April 2020

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A vandalized fence in Turmusaya, 14 April 2020
A vandalized fence in Turmusaya, 14 April 2020

Turmusaya, Ramallah District: Settlers break trees, uproot fence and clarify they will return

The farmers of Turmusaya routinely suffer hostile incursions to their lands from settlers emerging from nearby settlements and outposts. 

One such farmer is Salim Dar ‘Awad (68). On Tuesday morning, 14 April 2020, Dar ‘Awad arrived at his plot to discover that settlers had vandalized 70 meters of the protective fence he had erected around it. While they were at it, they stole the fence rods and broke the branches of a few olive trees. Dar ‘Awad reported the incident to the Turmusaya municipality, which passed on the complaint to the Palestinian DCO. 

Dar ‘Awad built the fence in 2018, after settlers uprooted about 100 olive seedlings in his grove and he decided to try to protect his crops. 

On 15 April 2020, in a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, he recalled:

“Recently, settlers built another outpost near my lands. They drive out farmers and try to take over farmland in the area. Now they’re taking advantage of the fact that people are staying home for fear of the coronavirus, and are mercilessly destroying crops without thinking twice. They don’t have a shred of humanity in them. 

It’s not just about financial damage during a tough time, but about a constant sense of threat and repeated attacks.”

The settlement outpost of Adei-Ad, which lies about a kilometer from his plot, was founded in 1998. 

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Soldiers ordering Palestinians to move to the other side of the separation fence in the Gheith neighborhood in Hebron
Soldiers ordering Palestinians to move to the other side of the separation fence in the Gheith neighborhood in Hebron

Hebron city center: Settlers attack youths playing soccer with pepper spray and beat them

For a group of Palestinian youths, a casual soccer game in central Hebron ended in hospital after action-hungry settlers brutally attacked them. The incident took place on Sunday evening, 12 April 2020, in the Gheith neighborhood in the city center. At around 8:00 P.M., some 15 young Palestinians were playing soccer in front of the Bakery Checkpoint (southeast of al-Haram al-Ibrahimi and the Tomb of the Patriarchs) when a car with Israeli license plates sped towards them from a-Shuhada Street and came to a screeching halt next to them. Four settlers got out and started pushing the youths. When they tried to defend themselves, two settlers pepper-sprayed and beat them. 

Two Border Police officers arrived from the direction of the Bakery Checkpoint and three of the settlers managed to escape uncaught, while the fourth was detained.

Some 15 more officers arrived and ordered neighborhood residents who had started gathering to move over to the other side of the fence, locking the gate behind them. The military installed the fence in the neighborhood in 2017 to make the street available to settlers only, leaving Palestinians a narrow, unpaved passage.

Two youths who were injured, one 16 and the other 21, were taken by a Red Crescent ambulance to the Muhammad al-Muhtaseb Hospital in the city center. 
 

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‘Ein Qiniya
‘Ein Qiniya

“They drove through our field as if it was a game”: Settlers on motorcycles and ATVs destroy agricultural produce in ‘Ein Qiniya, Ramallah district

The al-Khatib family grows cucumbers on seven dunams of land [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters]. They intended to sell their produce ahead of the upcoming Ramadan holiday, but settlers in the area had other plans. On Saturday, 11 March 2020, three settlers decided to run amok in the field with motorcycles and an ATV, and systematically destroyed the cucumbers. A farmer from the village of ‘Ein Qiniya noticed what was happening and called Iyad al-Khatib and other residents. By the time everyone arrived, the settlers had managed to destroy more than half of the produce. 

Six residents managed to drive the invaders away towards the settlement of Talmon and reported the incident to the Palestinian DCO. When a military force arrived about half an hour later, the soldiers fired stun grenades and tear-gas canisters at the residents and directed the settlers to the settlement of Dolev. The settlement, which lies about 800 meters from the al-Khatib family’s land, was founded in 1983. 

The cucumber field was sown in early March, as it is every year. The livelihood of the entire extended family, 24 persons, depends on selling the produce at the market in Ramallah. 

Iyad al-Khatib described the anguish and heartbreak caused by the incident to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad: 

When I saw the settlers driving back and forth across our fields as if they were playing a game, I went mad. They destroyed this season’s crop, now of all times, when everyone is in lockdown and nothing is open. Our financial situation is tough as is, and these settlers destroyed the little hope we had left.

We lost close to 10,000 shekels (~2,811 USD) that we spent on seeds and fertilizer. Not to mention the hard work and daily care the soil requires. We’re now plowing the land again to sow new seeds, and we pray to God to keep away the settlers. We’ve suffered enough. 
 

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‘Abd al-Fatah Salah after an attack by settlers, 7 April 2020
‘Abd al-Fatah Salah after an attack by settlers, 7 April 2020

Kobar, Ramallah District: Settlers abduct two Palestinians, abuse them and hand them over to soldiers, who detain them for hours for no reason

The Salah family from Kobar grow olive trees on ten dunams of land [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters]. On Tuesday, 7 April 2020, Ahmad Salah (64) and his two sons, ‘Abd al-Fatah (32) and Mahmoud (29), set out to plow a plot that stretches about four kilometers, west of Kobar. About a half-hour after they arrived, three settlers assaulted them. The victims will never forget what happened next.

One settler was armed with a rifle, another with a gun and the third with a knife or pocketknife. They aimed their weapons at the family. One settler slapped Ahmad and ordered him to leave. After the father moved away, they pushed ‘Abd al-Fatah to the ground and tied his hands with a rope. They took the two brothers’ mobile phones and led them away at gunpoint, one of them holding the rope tied to ‘Abd al-Fatah’s hands. Ahmad Salah returned home and informed the Palestinian DCO his two sons had been abducted.

The settlers led the two brothers about a kilometer on foot, through stony fields filled with thorns and across fences, constantly beating and swearing at them.  The torturous journey came to an end about 500 meters from the settlement of Halamish, where a military patrol vehicle, five soldiers and a settlement security vehicle were standing. 

The abductors told the soldiers that the Salah brothers had been planning to steal cows from them. Upon hearing this, the soldiers removed the rope from ‘Abd al-Fatah’s hands, handcuffed the two brothers with zip ties and put them in the settlement security vehicle. The settlement chief of security, accompanied by a military escort, drove to a military base opposite the village of Deir Nidham. During the ride, he swore at the brothers. Upon arrival at the base, soldiers seated them and placed a soldier to guard them. They were released after several hours and given their phones back.

Outside the military base, the brothers met a Palestinian contractor who drove them to the nearby ‘Atara checkpoint, where they were taken home by their brother Muhammad. They were greeted by family members and village residents, who had been worried about them since their father reported the incident. The injured brothers were taken to the Palestine Medical Center in Ramallah, where their bruises were examined. They were given painkillers and released. ‘Abd al-Fatah was examined a few days later by an ENT doctor for pain in his ear. He was diagnosed with a perforated eardrum, apparently as a result of a severe blow to his ear.  

In a testimony he gave on 14 April 2020 to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, ‘Abd al-Fatah Salah described what happened that day:

‘Abd al-Fatah Salah. Photo courtesy of witness

“I took advantage of the fact that I wasn’t working during the lockdown, because of the coronavirus, and went with my father and brother to weed and plow our land. It was a pleasant day and good for work. When we arrived, we were glad to see that no settlers were around, such as the settler who lives in an outpost five kilometers away and often releases his cows to roam in our groves.

We started working, and suddenly three armed settlers appeared from between the trees. They approached us in a threatening way, and we were terrified. One of them immediately slapped my father and told him to leave. The tall one pushed me to the ground, laid me down and tied my hands in the front with a long rope. He kicked me in the thigh and hurt me very much.

They forced me to walk in front of them. The tall settler held the end of the rope that was tied to my hands, like you would lead cattle. He kept leading me and didn’t care if I stumbled or fell. The whole way, he beat me, kicked me, cursed and screamed at me. It seemed like he was enjoying it. Another settler led my brother Mahmoud, who was untied because they didn’t have any more rope. I heard him swear at him and beat him as well.

Every time we asked where they were taking us and what they wanted, they just yelled: “Silence! silence!” and then beat us more. They swore and screamed at us in Hebrew. We didn’t understand anything. The last blow I got was a very hard slap in the right ear from the tall settler. The impact was so strong that I felt dizzy, heard ringing in my ears, and saw sparks. I went mad. I wanted to react but he threatened me at gunpoint and told me to obey and keep walking.

They didn’t identify themselves or present any ID cards, and we felt that it was a kidnapping. We didn’t know where they were taking us and we were terrified, especially since they pounced on us while we were working in the grove and we’d had no previous confrontation with them. They took photos and videos of us the whole way. They took away our mobile phones so we couldn’t call anyone.

In a testimony his brother Mahmoud gave to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, he recounted:

Mahmoud Salah. Photo courtesy of witness

About a kilometer from Halamish, a settlement security vehicle and a military patrol jeep was waiting for the settlers. They handed us over to them and told the soldiers about the “proof” they had of the cattle theft. Afterwards, we were taken in the settlement security vehicle to an army base. They sat us on a bench near a soldiers’ container. None of the soldiers spoke with us or asked us anything. After five hours of detention, an officer arrived, gave us back our mobile phones and told us to leave.

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Tear gas from a canister fired by soldiers. Photo by village resident
Tear gas from a canister fired by soldiers. Photo by village resident

Qusrah, Nablus District: Violent escalation – settlers stone homes, soldiers join in with tear gas and “rubber” bullets

Residents of Qusrah have often experienced the wrath of their “neighbors” from the settlement outpost of Esh-Kodesh, which was established in 2000 about two kilometers from the southern part of the village. Yet even they did not see an attack coming under lockdown, after three residents were diagnosed with coronavirus. The settlers thought otherwise. On Monday afternoon, 6 April 2020, around 4:30 P.M., they began attacking homes in the southern section with stones. 

The perpetrators were 12 settlers who came from the direction of the outpost. The homeowners called other residents for help and dozens quickly arrived, chasing the settlers back towards the outpost, which was built, unsurprisingly, on land belonging to the villages of Qusrah and Jalud. 

A few minutes later, about five soldiers arrived, followed by the same settlers. The soldiers fired tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at the residents, and a confrontation ensued that lasted until sundown. Around the time the settlers retreated again towards the outpost, one child from the village was injured by gas inhalation and two adults were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets. All three were treated on site. 

Isma'il Hlaiqah's leg, after a dog bit him
Isma'il Hlaiqah's leg, after a dog bit him

A-Shuyukh, Habron District: Settlers try to establish “mini-outpost” on farmland and violently drive Palestinians from their land

In another attempt to establish “facts on the ground”, settlers piled building materials on a plot of land belonging to the Hlaiqah family, set up a tent and stuck rods in the ground in preparation for a fence. On Monday morning, 6 April 2020, around 11:30 A.M., the family learned of the takeover attempt when they found the equipment. The 350-dunam plot [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] lies on the outskirts of a-Shuyukh, a Palestinian town not far from Hebron. 

In 1983, the settlement of Asfar was established east of the town. 

The family called about 50 relatives and other residents, who helped them uproot the rods and burn the tent. A few minutes later, about five settlers headed towards them, some bearing firearms and others tasers or pepper spray. The settlers, who had two dogs with them, shouted at the residents and tried to drive them away. When their demands were refused, one of them knocked Isma’il Hlaiqah (52) to the ground and one of the dogs bit him in the leg. 

A few minutes later, another 15 or so settlers arrived, also carrying electroshock weapon and pepper spray, along with three dogs. The settlers set their dogs on the residents and a confrontation ensued with mutual stone-throwing. One settler attacked Nabil al-Mashani (41) and stunned him with a taser. 

In a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari, al-Mashani recounted what happened:

Before we managed to speak with them, they set the dogs on us. One of the settlers knocked Isma’il down. Then a dog bit him in the leg and he bled. I started hitting the dog to defend Isma’il and one of the settlers tased me in the chest. 

After about half an hour of confrontation, some 20 soldiers arrived from the direction of Asfar. They started firing stun grenades and tear-gas canisters at residents and demanding they leave. The residents, some of whom were suffering from inhaling the gas, complied and continued to watch the plot from about one kilometer away. 

Hlaiqah was rushed in a private car to the “Riham Dawabsheh” Governmental Hospital, where his leg was treated. He was later transferred to a medical clinic in Halhul and given a rabies shot. 

The settlers and soldiers left the area and the residents returned home. 

A shattered window in Muhammad Shreiteh's truck. Photo courtesy of the witness
A shattered window in Muhammad Shreiteh's truck. Photo courtesy of the witness

‘Ein al-Harasha, Ramallah District: Settlers throw stones at children, threaten resident and smash truck windshield

The ‘Ein al-Harasha spring,  which lies east of the town of al-Mazra’ah al-Qibliyah, attracts many visitors. On Monday, 6 April 2020, six masked settlers, one them armed, started throwing stones at four Palestinian 12-year-olds strolling by the spring. The terrified children fled back to the town. 

Muhammad Shreiteh (57) lives not far from the spring. When he heard the commotion, he went outside and saw children running and settlers chasing them with stones in their hands. After the children managed to get away, the settlers turned their sights on Shreiteh and started hurling stones at him. He hid behind his truck, which was parked out front. The settlers smashed the truck windows and then, apparently satisfied, and headed towards the Haresha outpost. 

The Haresha outpost was built in 1997 on land privately-owned by Palestinian residents, about 400 meters from the town. 

Fearing the settlers would return, Shreiteh alerted the municipality and reported the attack to the Palestinian DCO. When a group of soldiers arrived from the direction of the outpost, he quickly went over to lodge a complaint, but they sent him away:

I thought the soldiers had come because I’d called the DCO, so I went over to them. But they sent me away and one of them yelled at me as if I was to blame. I obeyed their order with a heavy heart. I don’t know how I can fix the truck, it will cost at least 2,000 shekels (~560 USD). I’ve been out of work  since March and we’re a family of nine. I have 300 (~85 USD) shekels left in my pocket. That won’t last even a week. 

Nobody compensates us for the damage the settlers cause and the insurance company doesn’t recognize such incidents. What can I do?!
 

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A farmer from Qaryut against the background of Hayovel outpost. January 2020. Courtesy of the Musa family.
A farmer from Qaryut against the background of Hayovel outpost. January 2020. Courtesy of the Musa family.

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers and soldiers drive farmers out of their land with stun grenades, tear gas, pepper spray and falsehoods

Settlers repeatedly rely on the help of soldiers to drive Palestinians out of their farmland. On Sunday, 5 April 2020, two residents of Qaryut were working their land east of the village. The chief of security for the settlement of ‘Eli arrived, bearing arms and escorted by soldiers, and the landowners were driven off with stun grenades and tear-gas canisters. 

The plot in question lies in Area B, about 500 meters from the village homes and some 300 meters from the access road that leads to HaYovel, a settlement outpost established in 1998. The soldiers told the two residents they needed prior coordination with the DCO to work the land – a false claim, as coordination is not required in Area B. 

Until recently, landowners in the area worked their land undisturbed. Yet in March, the chiefs of security for ‘Eli and HaYovel began them driving out, with the help of soldiers. On 11 March, the HaYovel security chief and three soldiers arrived at the plots and forced a village resident and two workers who were planting olive seedlings to leave. On 13 March, about five soldiers arrived and hurled stun grenades at a family working their land. To make their intention clear, they sprayed one resident with pepper spray and forced them all to go home. 
 

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Turmusaya. photo: Fathi Shabana
Turmusaya. photo: Fathi Shabana

Turmusaya, Ramallah District: Settlers intimidate landowners and damage their property

Three times in a row, Jamal Jabara from Turmusaya had to fend off settlers who invaded his land and tried to drive him out. First, they rammed his car; then they threw stones and fired in the air; and finally, they showered him with curses and threats.

The first encounter took place on Thursday afternoon, 2 April 2020. Jabara, 50, drove about five kilometers east of the village to his plot, where he grows olive trees and grains. On the way, he saw a car with Israeli license plates driving towards him from the direction of a new settlement outpost that was built about a kilometer from his land. The road was narrow, the fear real, and Jabara quickly shifted into reverse gear and started backing away. The settlers, on the other hand, sought contact. They sped towards his car and rammed it six times, shouting and demanding that he leave.

Jabara continued driving in reverse until he was able to turn around and flee the scene. He notified the village council, who reported the incident to the Israeli DCO.

Greatly alarmed, Jabara decided he shouldn’t return to his land alone and got a few village residents to go back with him. He was right: a few minutes after they reached the plot, about 20 settlers arrived in cars, including the armed chief of security of a nearby settlement. The settlers hurled stones at the residents, and the chief of security fired several shots in the air.

About 15 minutes after the assault began, some 10 soldiers arrived. The residents asked them for help, but the soldiers chose not to remove the settlers and instead fired tear-gas canisters at the residents. A few minutes later, a Border Police jeep arrived on the scene. The settlers left and the Border Police officers promised the residents to protect them from the settlers, offering futile advice: file a complaint with the Binyamin police station.

As for the third encounter? Jabara recalled in a testimony he gave the next day to B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad:

The morning after the incident, I went back to the plot with my brothers and our children. We decided to work, in order to demonstrate our presence and defend our right to the land. We were worried the settlers would try to establish facts on the ground and take over the property, and they indeed arrived. They came over to us again and again, shouting and swearing at us. We ignored them.

Even though the police promised to protect us, we only saw one military patrol vehicle in the area, and they didn’t make the settlers leave our land.

We’re very worried that the attempts to disturb us and drive us out of our land will continue and things will get worse. For the moment, I need to repair the damage they caused to my car.

Although it is only dents and scratches on the bumper, the repair will cost more than 1,000 shekels (~283 USD), because it’s a new car. In any case, the mental damage is worse than the financial loss. The attacks were traumatic and I’ve been anxious ever since

March 2020

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A shattered windshield in the Abu 'Alia family car. Photo courtesy of the family
A shattered windshield in the Abu 'Alia family car. Photo courtesy of the family

Al-Mughayir: Settlers enter village groves and attack families

On 29 March 2020, around 3:30 P.M., three families from the village of al-Mughayir met in a-Dhahrat, north of the village, to have a picnic in the olive groves. The settlement outpost of Adei Ad was built about five kilometers from there. Just after they parked and got out of their cars, the families saw seven settlers, armed with clubs and knives, coming towards them from the settlement.

Two of the families managed to flee in the tractor cart of a farmer who was passing by. The settlers started hurling stones at the car of the remaining family, Anwaar (27) and Munzar (34) Abu ‘Alia and their two children, while they were standing next to it. Anwaar, who is four months pregnant, fled on foot at her husband’s insistence. The settlers continued to hurl stones at the car, slashed its tires with knives and demanded the keys from Munzar. When he refused, they grabbed them by force. Abu ‘Alia and his two children fled the scene on foot, leaving car and mobile phone behind. The settlers started to chase them. Abu ‘Alia responded by throwing stones to fend them off and protect his children.

About 10 minutes later, village residents arrived after being notified by the families, and drove the settlers out by throwing stones at them. 

Abu ‘Alia managed to haul his car away. The damage done was estimated at around 2,000 NIS (~560 USD).

Al-Mughayir, Ramallah District, 29 March 2020: Settlers enter village groves and attack families. 

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A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills: Settlers invade village property and in ensuing confrontation, soldiers fire tear gas and arrest 3 residents

On 28 March 2020, three residents of a-Tuwani passed southwest of the Havat Ma’on outpost on their way to Khirbet-a-Tuba. When they were about two kilometers from their village, settlers attacked them with stones. The three ran back towards the village calling residents, who met them halfway there. The residents and the settlers threw stones at each other. About a half an hour later, soldiers arrived and dispersed the crowd. 

Around an hour later, several settlers approached the area of al-Humrah, south of a-Tuwani, which belongs to village residents. A-Tuwani residents came to drive them out and mutual stone-throwing ensued. Soldiers arrived at the scene and fired tear-gas canisters at the residents, who were on their own property, and arrested three of them. Two of the detainees were released the next day, after one had to post a bond of 1,000 NIS (~280 USD). The third is still in custody. 

א-תוואני, דרום הר חברון,  28.3.20: מתנחלים פלשו לשטח בבעלות תושבי הכפר.

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, 28 March 2020: Settlers invade village property and in ensuing confrontation, soldiers fire tear gas and arrest 3 residents.

Tel Rumeidah neighborhood, Hebron: Settler steals security camera from Palestinian home

On 28 March, Walid Abu ‘Eishah was woken by a noise outside and found his security cameras gone. B’Tselem had installed them 11 years ago after the family home was repeatedly attacked by settlers from the surrounding settlement of Tel Rumeidah/Yishay.

On the recorded footage, Abu ‘Eishah saw a man standing on a ladder dismantling the cameras and stealing them – and then, of course, the video went blank. He reported the theft to soldiers patrolling the street, who called an officer there. The officer claimed he would check military cameras for footage but has yet to notify Abu ‘Eishah of any findings. Although the area is covered by military security cameras, the material they capture is rarely used to enforce the law on settlers.

Tel Rumeidah neighborhood, Hebron, 28 March 2020: Settler steals security camera from Palestinian home.

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A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills: Armed settlers set dogs on shepherd

On Friday afternoon, 27 March 2020, a resident of a-Tuwani was grazing his flock between the village and the Havat Ma’on outpost. About six settlers arrived, some of them armed, along with two dogs, and tried to drive him away. The shepherd called other residents, who began documenting the attack.  

A verbal argument ensued that quickly turned physical. One of the settlers pushed a resident who was filming the incident, knocking him to the ground. A dog then bit him in the arm and abdomen, and the settlers stole his phone and fled. The resident was taken by ambulance to a medical clinic in Yatta, where he was treated and given a rabies shot.

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, 27 March 2020: Armed settlers set dogs on shepherd.

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills, 27 March 2020: Armed settlers set dogs on shepherd.

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‘Einabus: Settlers attack homes in northern part of village

On Wednesday afternoon, 25 March 2020, some 40 settlers tried to enter the northern part of the village of ‘Einabus. Some residents noticed them and alerted the neighborhood by loudspeaker. Residents gathered to defend their homes and a confrontation ensued, which developed into mutual stone-throwing. After about a half an hour, a group of soldiers arrived from the direction of the settlement of Yitzhar, which lies three kilometers from the village. The soldiers removed the settlers from the scene only at sundown. The residents of ‘Einabus have been suffering repeated attacks by settlers for some time.

‘Einabus, Nablus גistrict, 25 March 2020: Settlers attack homes in northern part of village.

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Naji Tanatrah in the ambulance. Photo courtesy of family
Naji Tanatrah in the ambulance. Photo courtesy of family

Um Safa: Settler invades village grove with herd and others attack locals who attempt to drive him away, striking one in the head and causing a skull fracture

On the morning of Friday, 24 March 2020, a settler led a herd of 50 cows into an olive grove in the western part of the village of Um Safa, near the bypass road that leads to the settlement of Halamish. Eight village residents, including Deputy Council Head Naji Tanatrah, 45, arrived to drive the settler out of the private grove. This is not a singular occurrence; the man repeatedly invades the grove with his cattle herd.

The residents approached the settler, and the deputy council head asked him to remove his herd. The settler began to retreat, and the locals began shooing away the cows. At that point, two vehicles arrived with five armed settlers inside – at least one of them carried a gun and the rest had axes and clubs. The settlers came out of the cars and one of them hit Tanatrah on the head. He fell down, bleeding. The settlers kept beating Tanatrah and kicking him as he lay on the ground. The other villagers managed to pull Tanatrah away and evacuate him in a car. He was put into an ambulance and taken to a Ramallah hospital, where he had head surgery after being diagnosed with a skull fracture.

Meanwhile, more village residents arrived and mutual stone-throwing between them and the settlers ensued. About 15 minutes later, several military jeeps arrived and everyone dispersed.

Um Safa, Ramallah, 24 March 2020: Settler invades village grove with herd and others attack locals who attempt to drive him away, striking one in the head and causing a skull fracture.

Settlers on a hill looking over houses in Burqa. Photo by village resident
Settlers on a hill looking over houses in Burqa. Photo by village resident

Burqah: Settlers throw stones at resident and his home and destroy fence

In the early afternoon of 24 March 2020, about 30 settlers entered the neighborhood of Bab al-Wad in the northeastern part of the village of Burqah. The evacuated settlement of Homesh lies about three kilometers away. The settlers, at least four of whom had guns, destroyed a fence surrounding a home under construction and threw stones at the owner, Muhannad Yasin, 46, as he tried to protect his property. The same house was attacked by settlers a week prior. Local residents arrived to help Yasin fend off the settlers. Several calls were made to the Israeli DCO, but two hours passed before DCO personnel arrived with a military jeep escort, only to do nothing but watch the altercation from afar. They retreated about 15 minutes after they arrived, with the settlers in tow. Of course, none of the settlers were arrested.

Burqah, Nablus District, 24 March 2020: Settlers throw stones at resident and his home and destroy fence.

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Mahib Daraghmeh in the ambulance. Photo courtesy of family
Mahib Daraghmeh in the ambulance. Photo courtesy of family

‘Ein al-Hilweh: Settlers attack cattle herders, injuring one

On the morning of 23 March 2020, Mahib Daraghmeh, 32, and his two brothers went out to graze the family’s cattle herd east of ‘Ein al-Hilweh, in the northern Jordan Valley. Settlers who were also herding cows nearby approached, and six of them threw stones at the brothers from a high site overlooking the field. The settlers then approached further, some on foot and some in an ATV. Two brothers escaped, but the settlers grabbed hold of Mahib before he managed to escape himself. They threw him to the ground, and one settler pulled out his gun and aimed it at his face. The settlers hit and kicked Mahib all over his body until he nearly lost consciousness.

At that point, the head of security for the settlement of Maskiyyot arrived, along with a military jeep with four soldiers inside. When the soldiers came out of the jeep, the settlers stopped beating Mahib and backed away from him a little, while shouting at him and mocking him. As the bruised Mahib was lying on the ground, the settlers joked around with the soldiers, none of whom bothered to offer Mahib any assistance.

Shortly after, a Red Crescent ambulance arrived and took Mahib to the Turkish Hospital in Tubas, where he was examined, x-rayed and kept overnight.

Settlers

‘Ein al-Hilweh, 23 March 2020: Settlers attack cattle herders, injuring one.

Silat a-Dhahr, Jenin District, 23 March 2020: Settlers attack farmers and security forces
Silat a-Dhahr, Jenin District, 23 March 2020: Settlers attack farmers and security forces

Silat a-Dhahr: Settlers attack farmers and security forces

On Monday, 23 March 2020, at around noon, brothers ‘Adnan and Husni al-Qadi, 73 and 70 respectively, drove from their homes in the village of Silat a-Dhahr in Jenin District to their plot, which is located near the area once occupied by the settlement of Homesh. The settlement was evacuated as part of the “disengagement plan” in 2005. In the last two years, the two brothers have gone back to cultivating their land after the military granted them permission to access it. When they arrived, before they were able to get out of the car, the brothers came across several settlers who ordered them to keep driving without stopping. They kept driving up the road, where 20 club-wielding settlers were waiting in ambush. The settlers began throwing stones at them. They broke a window and damaged the front bumper. Husni al-Qadi, who was driving, tried to steer away, but found himself on a hilly dirt road and was unable to drive on. The two got out of the car and fled on foot, under a barrage of stones, to the nearby village of Burqah. As they were fleeing, a stone hit ‘Adnan al-Qadi’s neck, injuring him.

When the two managed to return home, they reported the attack to the Palestinian DCO, following which two representatives of the Israeli DCO came to the village, picked up the brothers and took them to where they had left their car. When they arrived, the settlers attacked the military and DCO vehicles. Instead of arresting them, the forces chose to simply leave. Later, village residents managed to tow the car, using a tractor, to the village of Burqah, and Israeli police officers who arrived there took photos of it and asked the al-Qadi brothers to file a complaint at the Ariel police station. The brothers filed the complaint.

Silat a-Dhahr, Jenin District, 23 March 2020: Settlers attack farmers and security forces.

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Burqah, Nablus District, 19 March 2020: Settlers attack home with stones and damage property
Burqah, Nablus District, 19 March 2020: Settlers attack home with stones and damage property

Burqah: Settlers attack home with stones and damage property

On 19 March 2020, about 50 settlers threw stones at a home under construction in the Bab al-Wad neighborhood, located in the northeastern part of the village. The home belongs to Muhannad Yasin, 46. The settlers broke about 40 young fruit trees Yasin had planted in his yard about two years ago, damaged a 1.5-cubic-meter water tank and cut pipes running from the tank into taps inside the house. The settlers damaged a water tank in a neighboring house, as well.

The homeowner contacted the Palestinian DCO, which informed the Israeli DCO, but no one came. The owner says he feels as though the Israelis are ignoring his pleas and giving the settlers free rein to attack village residents.

Burqah, Nablus District, 19 March 2020: Settlers attack home with stones and damage property.

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‘Ein a-Duyuk al-Foqa: Settlers attack shepherds and drive them off pastureland

On 16 March 2020, Muhammad Rashaydah, 63, from ,’Ein a-Duyuk al-Foqa, set out to graze his flock west of the village. Other men and women from the area were also grazing their flocks in the vicinity. After about an hour, a car arrived with two settlers. One of them, Omer Atidiya, built a farm in the area. The settlers shouted at the shepherds, threatened them and chased the sheep. Atidiya shouted at the female shepherds that this was his land and demanded they leave. The settlers drove in between the animals, and the shepherds had to leave with their flocks.

This is not unusual. Residents of the village, who make their living from shepherding, suffer harassment and violence at the hands of settlers on an almost daily basis. Settlers attack them with stones, with their vehicles and even with drones, and drive them off their pastureland. Settlers also discard sheep carcasses near the community, creating severe odor pollution and a sanitation hazard.

‘Ein a-Duyuk al-Foqa, Jericho District, 16 March 2020: Settlers attack shepherds and drive them off pastureland.

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