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While millions of people in Israel and the West Bank are under lockdown, state-backed settler violence continues unabated. Settlers are attacking Palestinian shepherds in pastureland and entering villages, attacking residents and destroying their property. Despite the coronavirus crisis, the escalated violence has continued in recent weeks.

November 2021

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Khirbet Susiya, South Hebron Hills: Soldiers guard settlers invading playground

On the afternoon of 6 November 2021, dozens of settlers guarded by about 20 soldiers invaded the playground of the community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron hills and chased away the children who were playing there. The settlers pried off the entrance gate to the playground, and some began roaming among the residents’ homes in front of soldiers who did nothing to stop the invasion. Only after an hour did the soldiers remove the settlers from the community.

October 2021

15

Yasuf, Salfit District: Settlers steal olives off 20 trees

On the morning of 15 October 2021, Talal ‘Azzam (54) discovered that settlers had harvested and stolen most of the crop off the 20 olive trees in his grove, which lies east of the village.

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Settlers on village land. Above – the shed erected by the settlers. Photo by Dina Chizik, B’Tselem, 15 October 2021
Settlers on village land. Above – the shed erected by the settlers. Photo by Dina Chizik, B’Tselem, 15 October 2021

Yasuf, Salfit District: Settlers attack harvesters and steal equipment; soldiers forbid landowners from harvesting their trees

On 14 October 2021, Yusef Hamuda (64) and his brother Ibrahim (50) went to their olive grove, which lies on the southern side of the village, 300 meters from where the settlement of Rehelim was established. When they got there, they encountered three settlers who ordered them to leave and threatened to summon dozens of other settlers. Yusef Hamuda called the Palestinian DCO and meanwhile, noticed many settlers gathering by a shed erected by settlers on private Palestinian land outside Rehelim. The three settlers in the grove tried to steal equipment off the roof of the brothers’ car, but the two managed to get in and drive off.

The next day, at around 10:00 A.M., about 30 settlers, some of them masked and armed with sticks, attacked Jomanah Suliman (44) and workers she had hired to harvest olives in her grove, which lies north of the Hamuda family’s plot. The settlers threw stones at the harvesters, hitting Suliman, and sprayed pepper spray at her. They also stole farming equipment, a mobile phone and personal belongings from the harvesters, and fled towards the shed. On their way, the settlers stoned seven members of the Hamuda family who were working their land at the time. The family fled to their car, which was parked near Route 60, but the settlers chased them, smashed the rear window and then fled.

At that point, police, soldiers and Border Police forces arrived, but none of them tried to chase after the assailants. The police officers collected statements from some of the residents, and the soldiers put about five settlers who were in the fields by the shed into their jeep and drove away. After that, the Israeli forces left the area without ensuring the stolen property be returned to its owners.

The next morning, 16 October 2021, members of the Hamuda family went to their grove to continue harvesting their trees. Fifteen soldiers arrived and ordered them to leave their land because they hadn’t coordinated the harvest –  although they had never been required to do so before. The family was forced to leave the area, as settlers stood by the shed and watched them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 2021

28

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

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

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Some of the olive trees cut down by the settlers
Some of the olive trees cut down by the settlers

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers cut down 27 olive trees

On 22 September 2021, farmers from the village of Burin discovered that settlers had uprooted 27 olive trees on their land, which lies on the southern side of the village. The settlement of Yitzhar was established about 300 meters away from the spot, and settlers put up a tent nearby several few months ago.  

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One of the trees uprooted by the settlers
One of the trees uprooted by the settlers

Sinjil, Ramallah District: Settlers uproot seven young olive trees

On 11 November 2021, a village resident discovered that settlers had uprooted seven three-year-old olive trees on his land. The settlement outpost of Haro’eh was established in 2002 north of the site.  

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Settlers attack homes, one with live fire; soldiers shoot at Palestinians trying to defend their property

On 10 Sep. 2021, settlers escorted by soldiers threw stones at ‘Abd al-Jawad and Maha al-Ja’bari’s home in Hebron. When Palestinians threw stones to fend them off, a soldier opened fire at the Palestinians, who fled. The soldiers entered the house and another one to search for the Palestinians, while doing nothing to stop the settlers’ ongoing assault. When the settlers returned to Kiryat Arba, one of them passed by the Abu S’eifan family’s home and fired several live shots at it. Read more

Kisan, Bethlehem District: Settlers vandalize some 70 young olive trees

On 10 September 2021, a village resident discovered that settlers had damaged about 70 five-year-old trees in his olive grove, which consists of some 100 trees and lies west of the village. The settlement outpost of Ibei Hanahal was established on 1999 close to the plot.

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Jaber neighborhood, central Hebron: Settlers attack homes and residents with stones; soldiers fire at residents

On 9 September 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., several settlers entered a lot where residents of the Jaber neighborhood are forced to park their cars, on the other side of the Jaber Checkpoint in central Hebron. The settlers encountered neighborhood residents, who have been taking turns guarding their cars since settlers vandalized nine of them on 14 August 2021. The residents called other neighbors to help protect the cars, and the settlers began throwing stones at neighborhood homes and at the residents, who threw stones back. Soldiers who arrived from the checkpoint fired live ammunition and hurled stun grenades at the Palestinians in order to drive them away. The settlers' attack lasted about half an hour, after which they left the neighborhood without having managed to damage the cars.

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Fidaa ‘Ataya where the art workshop once stood. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 13 Sep. 2021
Fidaa ‘Ataya where the art workshop once stood. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 13 Sep. 2021

Kafr Ni’ma, Ramallah District: Settlers dismantle open-air art workshop and steal equipment

On 6 September 2021, Fidaa ‘Ataya (34) discovered that settlers had stolen all the equipment from the open-air art workshop she had set up on her family’s land, north of the village. ‘Ataya set up the workshop about four months ago and has since been harassed four times by settlers.

She filed a complaint with the Israel Police every time. Among the objects stolen by the settlers were children’s books, movies, toys, kitchen utensils, musical instruments, water containers and art supplies. A few years ago, an outpost was established about 200 meters from the site. Since then, area residents have been suffering harassment by settlers.

In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, ‘Ataya recounted: 

About four months ago, I set up an art workshop on our land. In my artwork, I recycle materials to make them aesthetically pleasing while preserving the environment. I set up a children’s library, a dressing room and a stage there, allowing people to experiment with theater, art and film. I used various objects, including natural materials I found on the land, put up a shed and planted trees and other plants. The whole time, I suffered from provocations by settlers. I filed four complaints with the Israeli police. But on 6 September 2021, when I went to the workshop at 6:00 P.M. to water the trees and work on my art, I saw from afar that the sign had disappeared. When I got closer, I discovered the area had been emptied of all the artwork, materials and tools. They left nothing. Village residents later reported they’d seen settlers near the workshop the night before.    

When I saw the place empty, I lost it. Four months of work – down the drain. I know the settlers are trying to drive us out of the land, but I have no intention of giving up. 

חלק מסדנת האמנות לפני שפורקה. התמונה באדיבות העדה
Part of the art workshop before it was dismantled. Photo courtesy of the witness 
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