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

May 2021

12
The shattered sunroof of the Abu ‘Awad family’s car. Photo courtesy of the family.
The shattered sunroof of the Abu ‘Awad family’s car. Photo courtesy of the family.

Beitin, Ramallah District: Settlers stone two Palestinian cars, shattering windows

On 12 May 2021, at around 9:30 P.M., Hani Abu ‘Awad (50), his wife Diaa’ (40) and their son Muhammad (17) drove from their home in the village of Beitin to Ramallah, to buy groceries for the holiday of ‘Eid al-Fitr (marking the end of Ramadan). When they reached the junction between the village and the road that leads to the settlement of Beit El, which lies about 200 meters from the DCO Checkpoint, about 10 settlers began throwing stones at their vehicle, hitting the chassis and shattering the sunroof. Another car driving behind them was also attacked by stones, which shattered its windshield. 

Abu ‘Awad was afraid to turn the car around and asked his son to take the wheel to do it. Meanwhile, he got out and started throwing stones at the settlers in order to make drive them away. Passengers of other cars joined him and threw stones at the settlers, who fled the scene. 

Minutes later, a military jeep arrived and the soldiers called the Israel Police. The police officers collected statements from the owners of the two damaged vehicles, detained two settlers on suspicion of involvement in the attack and asked Abu ‘Awad to identify them. They suggested he and the other car owner file a complaint at the Binyamin police station, as Abu ‘Awad did the following day.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Abu ‘Awad described the attack: 

About 10 young settlers with kippahs (yarmulkes), long side curls and tzitzits (knotted shirt fringes) started throwing stones at us from far away and ran towards us. We were terrified and my wife started screaming. One stone fell on the car’s glass sunroof and smashed it. Luckily it was closed, otherwise the stone would have fallen into the car. 

I tried to make a U-turn, but another villager’s car was right behind me and I was afraid I’d hit it if I turned around. So I got out of the car, asked my son Muhammad to turn it around and started throwing stones at the settlers to make them leave. My wife shouted at me not to do it, because she knew they might be armed and was afraid they’d hurt me. 

Muhammad turned our car around and the car behind us also started turning around. Several villagers arrived and also started throwing stones, and then the settlers ran away. It lasted between a few seconds to a minute. After the settlers ran off, I went back to my car and discovered that in addition to the smashing the sunroof, some stones had also damaged the chassis. The windshield of the car behind me was smashed. Thank God we weren’t hit by the stones. They could’ve killed us. 

About five minutes later, a military jeep arrived. We complained to the soldiers and they led us to the lot near the DCO Checkpoint and called the police, who arrived 15 minutes later. The officers collected statements from me and from the owner of the car that was behind us. 

Meanwhile, the officers brought in two settlers suspected of involvement in the attack. The officers asked me to identify them and I did, because they’d been very close to me during the incident. At 10:30 P.M., when they finished the investigation, the officers suggested we file a complaint at the police station. The next morning, I went there and filed a complaint. Instead of preparing for the holiday, I had to deal with the settlers’ violent attack. The damage they caused us will amount to several thousand shekels.

Burin, Nablus District: Israeli settlers vandalize two Palestinian homes under construction while other settlers climb roof of family’s home and throw stones, causing damage

On Wednesday, 12 May 2021, some 20 settlers went with a military escort to two houses under construction, one belonging to Muntasser Mansur and the other to Muhammad ‘Eid and vandalized them. B’Tselem documented a previous attack on the Mansur house on 3 March 2021. At the same time, other settlers climbed onto the roof of the ‘Umran family’s home and threw stones at residents who came to defend it. Stones the settlers threw hit a car that was parked in front of the house, smashing its windshield and damaging the chassis, and broke two of the home’s windows. The settlers also damaged an air conditioner, vandalized TV cables and a sewer, and set fire to an olive grove, burning 10 olive trees that were one to 30 years old.

The soldiers escorting the settlers fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at residents who came to defend the home.

11
A damaged tent. Photo courtesy of the family
A damaged tent. Photo courtesy of the family

The al-Fajam (‘Aqraba) community, Nablus District: Settlers vandalize residential tents and livestock enclosure

On 11 May 2021, Ahmad Bani Jaber (34), a father of seven, and his family returned home from a visit at ‘Aqraba to find that settlers had vandalized two of their tents. One had served as a home and the other as a livestock enclosure.

Settlers throwing stones at the Geith neighborhood across the fence. Photo by Nael Fakhuri, 11.5.21
Settlers throwing stones at the Geith neighborhood across the fence. Photo by Nael Fakhuri, 11.5.21

Hebron city center: Settlers stone Palestinian residents; soldiers escorting them arrest B’Tselem volunteer for no reason, abuse him and release him two days later

On 11 May 2021, dozens of settlers attacked residents of the Gheith neighborhood in central Hebron and threw stones at them. The latter threw stones back. Soldiers ignored the settlers and hurled tear gas and stun grenades at the residents. At one point, settlers stoned neighborhood resident Nael Fakhuri, a B’Tselem volunteer who was passing by with his son and a neighbor. Six Border Police officers then arrested him. He was transferred between police stations, beaten by soldiers and released two days later after paying NIS 4,000.

Click here for more information

‘Abd a-Nasser Dmeidi after his nose was bandaged.
‘Abd a-Nasser Dmeidi after his nose was bandaged.

Huwarah, Nablus District: Settlers attack villager sitting in his doorway with stones and clubs, breaking his nose

On Tuesday, 11 May 2021, at around 7:00 P.M., settlers attacked ‘Abd a-Nasser Dmeidi (50), a father of two, with stones and clubs while he was sitting in the doorway of his home on the edge of the town, about 200 meters from the main road (Route 60). Dmeidi was taken to Rafidia Hospital, where he was diagnosed with a nasal fracture.

In March 2021, settlers stoned another home in the town belonging to the Dmeidi family. Residents of Huwarah have been suffering from repeated settler attacks on their homes. They, as well other Palestinians who pass by the settlement of Yitzhar on Route 60, have been suffering from repeated settler attacks on their vehicles.

8

Central Hebron: Teens from Beit Hadassah settlement stone Palestinian cars and pedestrians and swear at them

On 8 May 2021, at around 6:00 P.M., Israeli teenagers came from the settlement of Beit Hadassah to a-Shalala Street in central Hebron and climbed onto the rooftops of houses and of a bank. From there, they threw stones at the protective net that covers the street, frightened passers-by and swore at them. Soldiers at a military post there did not intervene despite requests by Palestinian residents. Only after the teens crossed the street and started throwing stones directly at vehicles and pedestrians, and after residents began throwing stones back at them, about eight soldiers came over and gently removed the settlers.

The stones the settlers threw hit an area shop owner in the leg and struck two vehicles, smashing the windshield in one and a headlight in the other.

In February 2021, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, B’Tselem documented settlers from Beit Hadassah throwing objects at a nearby house and cursing the inhabitants.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhsash, the shop owner described the incident:

I was standing at the entrance to my shop when I saw a lot of settlers, most of them young, standing on the rooftops of stores on a-Shalala Street. They were swearing at passers-by and throwing stones. Soldiers who were in a military post a few meters away didn’t say a thing to them. It lasted more than 10 minutes. Neighborhood residents went to the soldiers and demanded they intervene, but they did nothing.

Some of the settlers moved to the roof of a bank across the street. From there, they continued to throw stones at people passing by below and at cars parked there. I was hit in the leg by a stone and then went inside my shop, so I wouldn’t get hurt. Only after a few minutes, about eight to ten soldiers arrived and made the settlers leave.

Settlers and soldiers in wooded area near a-Tuwani.
Settlers and soldiers in wooded area near a-Tuwani.

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills: Settlers stone Palestinian home; soldiers fire tear gas and stun grenades at residents defending it

On Saturday, 8 May 2021, residents of a-Tuwani noticed settlers approaching a home on the eastern outskirts of the village. The Havat Ma’on outpost was established several hundred meters away from the house. The settlers hid in a wooded area nearby, emerging every time to  throw stones at the house and returning to hide among the trees. Village residents came to the area to defend the house and its occupants, and tried to keep the settlers at bay by throwing stones.

The residents called the Israel Police, and officers arrived at the scene along with four soldiers. Meanwhile, another 10 settlers or so showed up and began throwing stones at the residents. The soldiers joined the attack, hurling stun grenades and firing tear gas canisters at the residents, some of whom suffered gas inhalation and were forced to flee. Later, the settlers and the soldiers also left the area.

6
Mahmoud Hamamdeh with this flock. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'ah, 2 June 2021
Mahmoud Hamamdeh with this flock. Photo by Nasser Nawaj'ah, 2 June 2021

Khirbet al-Mufaqarah, Masafer Yatta: Settlers stone Palestinian shepherd, injuring his hand

On 6 May 2021, at around 6:00 A.M., Mahmoud Hamamdeh (56), a resident of Khirbet al-Mufaqarah in the Masafer Yatta area of the South Hebron Hills, took his flock out to graze as he does every morning, west of the community. In 2002, the settlement outpost of Avigail was established next to a spring about 400 meters from the pastureland. 

Hamamdeh noticed settlers bathing in the spring. About 15 minutes later, as he made his way further into the pastureland with the flock, five masked settlers attacked him and the sheep with stones. 

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Nasser Nawaj’ah, Hamamdeh recounted:

I tried to defend myself and my flock, which is our only source of livelihood, but they kept on throwing stones at us for about 15 minutes. One of the stones hit me in the hand and it was extremely painful. In the end, I managed to get home with the flock and from there, I went to a clinic to check my wrist. 

4

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers torch grove and stone Palestinian home; soldiers fire tear gas at residents who come to defend the home

On the night of 4 May 2021, three fires broke out near the village of Burin.

At around 10:30 P.M., a fire broke out on the eastern outskirts of the village, spreading upwards towards the settlement outpost of Givat Ronen. That night, B’Tselem tweeted a photo of the fire along with initial information from the field. The military and settlers claimed that Palestinians had set the fire, which they had worked to put out. Village residents claimed that settlers had done it. B’Tselem cannot ascertain who was responsible for the arson.

Attempted torching on the southern side of Burin

At around 11:00 P.M., settlers came to an area on the southern side of the village, about 500 meters away from the bypass road that serves the settlement of Yitzhar. Akram ‘Umran (52), a father of seven, saw several settlers roaming on his private land. They set fire to an olive grove, it quickly died out as the soil had been plowed. The settlers fled to a car that was waiting for them on the bypass road. ‘Umran stayed on the land until morning along with other villagers he had called, in order to make sure the settlers did not return.

In a video testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, ‘Umran recounted that night:

 

 

‘Abdallah ‘Issa (35), a father of seven, went to a plot he owns next to ‘Umran’s after he heard settlers were in the vicinity. He stayed on guard on the land all night, for fear they would come back. The day before, settlers had vandalized his crops and farming equipment, cutting the irrigation pipes and plastic covers of his greenhouses, spilling fertilizer and damaging the crops. ‘Issa found a kippah (yarmulke) one of the settlers left behind.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, ‘Issa stated:

On Tuesday morning, 4 May 2021, at 7:00 A.M., I went to my land as usual to harvest the crops. I had 10 days left to pick the zucchini, tomatoes and lettuce I planted this February. But when I got there, I discovered that settlers had damaged some of the irrigation pipes and crops. They’d also spilled the fertilizer and cut parts of the greenhouses’ plastic sheeting. I felt helpless. I couldn’t hold back and started crying. I’d taken out loans to build the greenhouses and buy the equipment and seedlings. When I walked around to assess the damage, I found a kippah lying on one of the seedlings.

While I was building the greenhouses, the settlement guard came and threatened me that if I didn’t dismantle them, he’d do it himself. I will never forget his words.

The day I discovered the damage, I was with my family in the evening when a village resident named Ahmad called and told me that settlers were trying to torch the greenhouses and that I had to come quickly. I drove over right away with my brother. My headlights were pointing at the greenhouse and I saw Ahmad. I also saw three or four headlights in the plot next to mine. I ran immediately towards the greenhouses. The settlers ran towards the road, and Ahmad and some other young guys tried to chase after them, but I called them back because I was afraid they’d be attacked. The settlers ran towards the bypass road and on the way, tried to set fire to a field, but it went out immediately because the soil had been plowed.

Settlers attack Ghadah and Ibrahim ‘Eid’s home and soldiers cause fire

At around 11:30 P.M., several settlers arrived at the northeastern side of the village. They attacked the home of Ghadah (46) and Ibrahim (50) ‘Eid, parents of eight who live about 1.5 kilometers from the settlement outpost of Givat Ronen. The settlers began throwing stones at the family’s home. Soldiers arrived and fired tear gas canisters at residents who came to defend it. The soldiers also sent up flares, some of which started a fire in an olive grove, which village residents and Palestinian firefighters put out.

The 'Eid family suffered gas inhalation, and one resident who had come to their aid was hit in the shoulder by a stone the settlers threw. He was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus and discharged after undergoing X-rays.

B’Tselem documented a previous military-backed settler attack on the ‘Eid family home on 9 October 2020.

In her testimony, Ghadah ‘Eid described the moments of the attack:

At around 11:30 P.M., I was at home with my husband and our kids. Suddenly, I heard clattering on the roof. I quickly checked the security camera screen and saw several settlers. Since the shooting at the Za’atrah Checkpoint, I’ve been expecting settler attacks. They always attack us and take revenge on us when something happens to settlers or to the military somewhere in the West Bank.

I told everyone to draw the blinds and lock the doors. The sound of the stones was so loud, it sounded like an earthquake was toppling the house. The stones hit the walls and the roof. When they hit the iron gate, it made a tremendous noise. We live like we’re in a prison, with metal mesh covering all of our windows.

My daughter Nur (12) became terrified and anxious. She couldn’t stop shaking and crying. I moved with her and Muhammad (7) from room to room, but no room felt safe. I started shouting and calling out to neighbors to help us, because the settlers usually leave when they see other residents coming.

The attack lasted between 10 to 15 minutes, and then the settlers left. Soldiers who came with them fired tear gas canisters and sent up flares, which started a fire about 50 to 100 meters away from the house.

The smell of gas was everywhere. I sliced some onions and handed them out to my children. My son ‘Abd a-Rahman (13) has sinusitis, and the tear gas affects him particularly badly. His face got very red and he had trouble breathing. I set up his inhalation machine to help him breathe.

After the settlers left, we started checking around the house. We found several flowerpots broken. We didn’t dare go up to the roof to check there, because we were afraid the settlers and soldiers hadn’t gone very far and would come back to attack us. We only fell asleep at 4:00 A.M. When we woke up, we went up to the roof and found that the settlers had broken four projectors.

3
THE WINDSHIELD SMASHED BY THE SETTLERS.
THE WINDSHIELD SMASHED BY THE SETTLERS.

Huwarah-Jit Road: Settlers stone Palestinian cars, fracturing one driver’s shoulder

On 3 May 2021, at around 11:30 P.M., three friends from the village of Far’on were traveling home after driving a friend to the village of Far’ata, south of Nablus. On their way back, as they passed by the Huwara-Jit Road (Route 60), near which the settlement of Yitzhar was established, a settler threw a stone at their car, shattering the windshield and hitting the driver, ‘Abd al-Latif Badir (30), in the shoulder.

The car swerved and grazed the guardrail, but Badir managed to stop it by the roadside. His friends called an ambulance and the Palestinian police and notified the Palestinian DCO. A Red Crescent ambulance and a military jeep arrived about 15 minutes later. The soldiers spoke with the ambulance driver, but not with Badir or his friends.

Badir was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he was X-rayed and diagnosed with a shoulder fracture. He was discharged on 9 May 2021 and does not recall the incident.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 5 May 2021, Badir’s friend, A.A., described what happened that night:

I invited my friend from Far’ata to the Iftar dinner. He’s an engineer and is overseeing the construction of my home. I also invited two friends from the village, ‘Abdallah Badir and Usayed ‘Omar. At night, we drove my friend back to Far’ata in the new Volkswagen Passat that ‘Abdallah bought a few months ago. On the way back, when we were near the settlement of Yitzhar, I was in the passenger seat and Abdallah was driving, when I saw a stone flying at us. I ducked and yelled to ‘Abdallah to watch out. He was hit in the shoulder. The car swerved right and left before ‘Abdallah finally managed to bring it to a halt, after grazing the guardrail. Usayed and I got out of the car and called the police and a Palestinian ambulance. We also called the Palestinian DCO. A Red Crescent ambulance and a military jeep arrived. The soldiers spoke with the medical crew but didn’t speak to us at all. The ambulance took ‘Abdallah to hospital in Nablus and I went with him. Usayed and some people who came to help him drove ‘Abdallah’s car to the village of Burin.

Muhammad Salman after the assault
Muhammad Salman after the assault

Far’ata, Qalqiliyah District: Settlers stone 73-year-old farmer and wound him in the head

On 3 May 2021, at around 6:30 A.M., farmer Muhammad Salman (73), a father of 16, arrived at his land – 55 dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] that lie east of the village. Salman, who goes there twice a day, led his flock to nearby pastureland and checked on his olive trees. At around 9:00 A.M., Salman noticed two settlers who had come from the direction of the adjacent settlement of Gilad Farm. They were standing about 25 meters away and started throwing stones at him.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on the day of the incident, Salman described being attacked by the settlers:

I was terrified because there were no other farmers in the area. I started moving away from them, but one stone hit me in the head from behind. I felt dizzy and started bleeding from my head. I hid for a few minutes behind the tall grass until the settlers drew back towards the settlement. Then I led the flock back toward the village, about a kilometer away. My sons took me to the clinic in the nearby village of Immatin. From there, I was transferred to the Darwish Nazal Hospital in Qalqiliyah to have my head X-rayed. The X-ray showed no skull fractures, and I was discharged with orders to rest.

I was stunned by the settlers’ attack. I’m in my land every day and they see me there, but it’s the first time they’ve attacked me.

Shilo Junction (Route 60), Ramallah District: Settlers stone Palestinian car, injuring passenger

On the night of 3 May 2021, about 15 settlers stoned a car that was driving through the intersection by the settlement of Shilo, on Route 60. The stones shattered the windshield, a window and a headlight, and hit a resident (60) of a-Lubban a-Sharqiyah who was traveling in the car with her husband (73).

The injured woman was taken to hospital in Ramallah, where she was diagnosed with bruising and discharged.

2
Window in Qusrah home shattered by settlers. Photo courtesy of the residents
Window in Qusrah home shattered by settlers. Photo courtesy of the residents

Qusrah and Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Palestinian homes and cars. Soldiers arrest Jalud residents throwing stones to drive settlers away, on grounds that a stone hit a soldier

On the night of 2 May 2021, dozens of settlers, escorted by soldiers, attacked the eastern neighborhood of the village of Jalud, throwing stones at homes and at parked cars. They shattered the windows of three cars. After residents came out to defend their homes and tried to drive the settlers away by throwing stones, soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters at them. Security forces arrested 11 village residents on the pretext that a stone had hit one of the soldiers. The detainees were held overnight at the Binyamin police station and released the following evening.

Later on the same night, settlers attacked the southeastern neighborhood of the nearby village of Qusrah. They hurled stones at homes and in one, shattered several windows, damaged seedlings in the garden and broke the outdoor lighting.

Residents of Jalud and Qusrah have been suffering from repeated settler attacks for years. The settlement outposts of Ahiya and Esh Kodesh were established near the two villages.

April 2021

29
Ibrahim Hamduni after the attack
Ibrahim Hamduni after the attack

Imreihah, Jenin District: Settlers assault and severely beat farmer (65) with clubs

On 29 April 2021, at around 7:00 A.M., Ibrahim Hamduni (65), a married father of eight, took his cows and sheep to graze south of his village, Imreihah, in Jenin District. The settlement of Mevo Dotan was established about three kilometers west of the pastureland, and the settlement of Hermesh was established about two kilometers west of it. 

At around 8:00, a settler arrived with a flock of sheep and called another settler to come. The two assaulted Hamduni with wooden clubs and beat him all over his body, including his head. Hamduni managed to get away and fled the area with this flock, bleeding from the head. The settlers drew back toward Mevo Dotan.  

After he had gone some distance, Hamduni called his son, who came to meet him and helped him walk home. From there, the son drove him to hospital in Jenin, where Hamduni was examined and X-rayed and had three head wounds stitched. He was also bruised all over his body from the blows.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 29 April 2021, Ibrahim Hamduni recounted being attacked by settlers: 

On Thursday, 29 April 2021, at around 7:00 A.M., I went out to pasture as usual with my five cows and three sheep. I take them to graze them in the valley south of our village, Imreihah, where there’s grass throughout the season.   

After I got there, a settler I know arrived. He grazes his flock in the same area. He came over to me and asked, “What are you doing here?” I told him I was grazing my cows and sheep on our land as I always do. He called someone and then another settler came, whom I’ve also seen with a herd in this area.  

The two settlers started hitting me on the head, chest and legs with clubs. My head and face started bleeding and my ribs hurt. I was there alone and had no way to defend myself. I managed to run away despite the pain and bleeding, and led my cows and sheep away.   

I saw that the two settlers move away towards the settlement of Dotan. I called my son Fuad and asked him to meet me and help me walk, because of the pain in my chest and head. I went towards the village and Fuad met me on the way. I leaned on him, and we kept walking until we got home at around 8:30 A.M.  

When we got there, my wife and the rest of my family were shocked to see me bleeding from my head. It was a sweltering day and I was fasting. My sons wiped the blood from my face and head, and Fuad took me in his car to the hospital in Jenin to have me tested and make sure that I wasn’t injured. I had severe pain in my head, legs, back and chest.  

The settlers’ violence is meant to scare us away from going to the pastureland, so they can take over the land.

28
Slogans spray-painted by setters on the walls of the agricultural structure
Slogans spray-painted by setters on the walls of the agricultural structure

Qusrah, Nablus District: Settlers uproot seedlings, pry off door of agricultural structure and spray-paint it

On 28 April 2021, Fathallah Abu Raidah (60), a resident of Qusrah in Nablus District, discovered that settlers had uprooted seedlings he had planted on his land south of the village. The settlers also spray-painted the slogans “Am Israel Chai (Israel Lives),” Muhammad is a pig” and “Revenge” on the walls of an agricultural structure in the plot, in addition to prying off its door.

The residents of Qusrah and of neighboring villages have been suffering from repeated attacks by settlers against them and against their property. The settlement of Migdalim was established northeast of Qusrah, several hundred meters away from the plot in question. The settlement outposts of Esh Kodesh and Ahiya were established about 1.5 kilometers south of the village.

27

Beit Iksa, al-Quds District: Settlers torch residents’ cars for second time this year and spray hate slogan

On the night of 27 April 2021, at around 9:30 P.M., residents of Beit Iksa noticed that a fire had broken out by the locked gate that Israel has installed on the road leading from the village to Jerusalem via the neighborhood of Ramot. As many of the villagers have East Jerusalem residency, since the gate was put up in 2010 they have been forced to park their cars on the other side of it to avoid traveling to Jerusalem through Ramallah and the Qalandiya Checkpoint, which lengthens the journey by at least half an hour.

When the residents went to the spot, they discovered settlers had set fire to cars parked on the other side of the gate. Two of the cars had burned down entirely and one was partially burnt. Another car the settlers had tried to torch did not catch fire. The residents found the slogan “Jews, let’s win, TikTok” sprayed on the road.

Settlers torched two cars belonging to a village resident a month earlier, on 19 March. On both occasions, the Palestinian firetrucks were greatly delayed as the military demands prior coordination to allow passage through the checkpoint at the second entrance to the village. The Israeli firefighters arrived sooner, along with Israel police, military and Border Police forces, but the latter prevented them from getting near enough to put the fire out. The police officers collected statements from the car owners and from several residents.

The Palestinian village of Beit Iksa lies northwest of Jerusalem, within the West Bank but outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem. In 2010, the military put up a permanent checkpoint at the only entrance into the village. Since then, Israeli security forces have only allowed people registered as village residents or bearing a special permit to enter the village.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 28 April 2021, H.H. recounted how the settlers torched the cars and security forces held Israeli firetrucks back:

On Tuesday evening, 27 April 2021, I was sitting with friends in the doorway of my house. The house lies on the outskirts of Beit Iksa, overlooking the area where Israel closed off the old road to Jerusalem that runs through the settlement of Ramot.

At around 9:30 P.M., I saw a flash of fire and something catching fire near the gate. I assumed it was a car, because Jerusalem residents who live in Beit Iksa park there. I grabbed a fire extinguisher and headed there with my friends in my car. It took us less than two minutes.

When we got there, I saw a group of settlers in the act of setting fire to other Palestinian cars parked there. One of them, who was masked, was spraying graffiti on the road. I was later told that it said, “Jews, let’s win, TikTok.” There were about 10 other setters waiting near the gate. Some of them were masked. When we got closer, we yelled at them and they ran away through the groves and dirt road towards Ramot.

We focused on putting out the fire and didn’t try to chase them. Two cars were going up in flames. The rear of another car was on fire, so we worked on putting that out with the extinguisher. They’d poured gas on another car and lit it, but it hadn’t caught fire.

We notified the Palestinian and Israeli fire departments, and called village residents to come with fire extinguishers. Two of the cars were still ablaze and we used branches and poured dirt on them to try and put them out, but it didn’t work.

Within 5 to 10 minutes, two Israeli firetrucks and an ambulance arrived along with several military, Israel Police and Border Police jeeps. They all parked on the Ramot side. The Border Police officers stopped the firetrucks from going ahead because the Palestinian fire squad can’t enter without coordination. It took them about 45 minutes to get to the fire, and by then it had consumed the two cars.

In a testimony he gave field researcher Iyad Hadad on 28 April 2021, Muhammad Kiswani (27), a father of two from Jerusalem who lives in Beit Iksa, described the torching of his car:

At around 10:00 P.M., I was at work in Jerusalem when my family called and told me that settlers had torched two cars parked near the western gate. One of them was my other car. I drove over within 20 minutes.

When I got there, the police held me back until they realized I had a car there, and then they let me through on foot. By the time I arrived, my car and another car had burned down and the fire was out.

There were slogans in Hebrew on the road.

The burning of my car caused me financial damage and emotional distress. It cost me NIS 6,000 (~1,836 USD). I work at a restaurant to support my family. Having a second car made things a lot easier, because it meant I could travel inside the village and leave it outside the locked gate. It allowed me to avoid taking the bypass road through Qalandiya Checkpoint, Ramallah and the villages northwest of Jerusalem. That’s a 40 or 50 km trip that takes a long time because of the constant traffic jams at Qalandiya, where you can get stuck for 30 minutes to two hours.

The windshields smashed by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the car owner
The windshields smashed by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the car owner

‘Urif, Nablus District: Settlers stone passing car and smash its windows

On 27 April 2021, at around 11:00 P.M., Marwan Ahmad (26), a father of two from ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, was driving on the road that connects his village with the village of ‘Urif. When he neared ‘Urif, Ahmad found boulders in the middle of the road blocking the way. He tried to turn around to drive back to his village, but five masked settlers appeared and started throwing stones at his car. They shattered the windshield, the sunroof and two headlights, and damaged the chassis, before Ahmad managed to drive away.

The settlement of Yitzhar was established about 800 meters north of this section of the road. On 18 April 2021, settlers torched the control panel of ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah’s water system, several hundred meters from the road.

B’Tselem has documented repeated attacks by settlers against residents of the villages neighboring Yitzhar, including ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, ‘Urif, Burin, Madama and Huwarah, and acts of damage to their property by settlers.

24

A-Tuwani, South Hebron Hills: Dozens of settlers invade village land and attack Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists; soldiers fire tear-gas canisters at the farmers

On Saturday morning, 24 April 2021, five settlers came from the direction of the Havat Maon outpost to farmland belonging a-Tuwani residents in the South Hebron Hills. The settlers climbed into a cistern belonging to an area resident and swam in it. The landowner and two other residents who were grazing their flocks in the area asked the settlers to get out of the cistern, as the water is meant for drinking. The settlers got out and walked towards the outpost. 

About an hour later, four of the settlers returned along with four other settlers and tried to get into the cistern. When the landowner asked them to leave, an argument ensued. Meanwhile, dozens of settlers arrived, some of them masked and armed. The landowner and the farmers fled towards Khirbet a-Rakeez and al-Mufaqarah. 

The settlers chased them and threw stones at them for about a kilometer. On the way, they also threw stones at other farmers and shattered most of the windows in five parked cars belonging to farmers. 

The settlers attacked about five Israeli activists who had been called to the area and were filming the incident. The settlers assaulted them with sticks and stones and opened fire twice. 

At around midday, while the settlers were attacking the farmers and the activists, two military jeeps drove up. Two soldiers got out and watched the attack without assisting the victims. At one point, they fired tear-gas canisters and stun grenades at the farmers, who were forced to flee the area.  

After the farmers left and a police car arrived, the settlers went back towards the outpost. The police officers left without taking any action.

23
The entrance to a-Tamimi's land, where the fence was uprooted.
The entrance to a-Tamimi's land, where the fence was uprooted.

Deir Nizam, Ramallah District: Settlers pry gate off Palestinian farmland; soldiers prevent owner from rebuilding it and drive him away

On 19 March 2021, settlers uprooted some 2,000 almond seedlings and damaged parts of an agricultural fence on land belonging to several families from Deir Nizam. The land stretches about 500 meters north of the village, which lies in Ramallah District. The seedlings were planted as part of a program supported by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and funded by Oxfam.

About two days later, the landowners replanted the seedlings and erected a gate at the entrance to the path that leads to their land, in order to protect the orchard from settler attacks.

On the morning of 23 April 2021, Muhammad a-Tamimi (47) and his son Ramez (16) came to work the plot. At around 1:00 P.M., about five soldiers arrived and ordered the two to leave the area. At the same time, a vehicle stopped by the road nearby and settlers inside began swearing at the farmers. The soldiers went over to the settlers, who drove off.

Muhammad and Ramez a-Tamimi went home. About 15 minutes later, relatives informed them that settlers had uprooted the gate. Muhammad a-Tamimi drove there immediately and found dozens of Israeli security forces spread out on his land. They forced him to leave, threatening and shoving him, on the pretext that it was a closed military zone.

The next day, a-Tamimi returned to his land. Again, soldiers drove him away and prevented him from repairing the gate. A-Tamimi finally managed to repair it on 27 April 2021.

The settlement of Halamish was established about 400 meters southeast of the plot, and the Zvi Bar Yosef farm outpost about 2.5 kilometers to the east. In early April 2021, settlers and soldiers assaulted Deir Nizam residents several times in another plot owned by members of the extended Tamimi family, about a kilometer northeast of Muhammad a-Tamimi’s plot.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 23 April 2021, Muhammad a-Tamimi (47), a resident of Deir Nizam, recounted how the settlers and soldiers colluded to prevent him from accessing his land:

On Friday, 23 April 2021, I came to work the land with my son Ramez. At 1:00 P.M., a military jeep with four or five soldiers arrived. The officers spoke to me rudely and asked me what I was doing there. When I replied that I was working my land, he told me that I didn’t have to work today and should go home. I argued with him. Meanwhile, a car with three settlers showed up and stopped by the roadside. The settlers started cursing me, “You son of a bitch,” “You motherfucker,” and so on. The soldiers ignored it. When I also started cursing the settlers, the soldiers ordered me to shut up. They consulted with each other and only then told the settlers to leave, and they drove away. The soldiers stayed, and I had to leave with my son.

Fifteen minutes after we got home, my nephew came and told me that settlers had pried off the gate, dragged it and thrown it on the ground. I drove over there right away, since it’s only two kilometers away. When we arrived, there were dozens of soldiers, Border Police and Special Patrol Unit officers there, along with dozens of villagers who had come after hearing about the incident, and three settlers’ vehicles.

I immediately turned to the officer I’d spoken to earlier and said to him, “You were here half an hour ago and the gate was still standing, right?” He said, “Yes, you’re right. But we’re waiting for DCO officers to come and solve the problem.” Then he ordered me to move away, but I refused and told him that the settlers should fix the gate first. The officer told me that we’d wait for the DCO and they’d decide who’d fix the gate.

About 10 minutes later, an Israeli DCO officer arrived and ordered me to go home and take the gate with me. He said I should come back the next day to put up the gate instead of getting into a confrontation with the settlers. When I refused, he showed me an order on his phone declaring the land a “closed military zone.”

We insisted and refused to leave until the Border Police officers threatened to pepper-spray us and throw stun grenades at us if we didn’t. We went home and came back the next day to set up the gate, but again they didn’t allow us. Only today, 27 April 2021, I met the soldiers again and the officer told me that the ban had been lifted that day and I could set up the gate.

The settlers constantly harass us and the military covers for them and sometimes even coordinates and cooperates with them. We don’t know who else to turn to. Weve gone through all the official channels, but nothing helps.

Haris, Salfit District: Settlers uproot and break 13 five-year-old olive trees on village land

On 23 April 2021, ‘Aishah Qassem (67) discovered that settlers had uprooted and broken 13 five-year-old olive trees she had planted in her plot on the western side of the village, near which the settlement of Revava was established.

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.