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From the field

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.

December 2021


Burin, Nablus District: Setters pick and steal the olives off approx. 270 trees after Israeli DCO postpones harvest date several times

On 4 December 2021, four families from the village came to harvest the olives on their lands east of the village on the date set for them as part of coordination with the Israeli DCO, after it postponed the date several times. Upon arrival, the families discovered that settlers had already harvested most of the olives off about 270 trees they own. The settlement of Yitzhar was established about two kilometers from the groves.

The fence damaged by settlers. Credit: Salma a-Deb'i, B'Tselem
The fence damaged by settlers. Credit: Salma a-Deb'i, B'Tselem

Jalud, Nablus District: Settler cut barbed-wire fence surrounding home, steal expensive equipment and wreak havoc

On 2 December 2021, Hisham Hamud (30) discovered that settlers had damaged part of the barbed-wire fence surrounding his house and stolen work tools, including a welding device, a drill and a generator worth thousands of shekels from the storage in his yard on the southern side of the village. The settlers also poured soil into Hamud’s car engine, punctured its four tires, uprooted seedlings in the yard and wreaked havoc.

הנזקים לרכושו של הישאם מחמוד. צילום: סלמא א-דיבעי, בצלם
The damage to Hisham Hamud's property. Credit: Salma a-Deb'i, B'Tselem


November 2021

The flock in Yanun. Photo by Shadi Abu Hamad
The flock in Yanun. Photo by Shadi Abu Hamad

Yanun, Nablus District: Settlers stone shepherd and his flock

On 17 November 2021, several settlers stoned a shepherd grazing his flock on village land. The settler fled, leaving his flock behind, and villagers reported the assault to the Palestinian DCO. About half an hour later, several soldiers and a settlement security guard came to the scene. The shepherd then gathered the scattered sheep, with the help of other residents, and discovered that several had been injured by stones.  

Mu’tasem Mashani after his injury. Photo courtesy of witnesses to the incident
Mu’tasem Mashani after his injury. Photo courtesy of witnesses to the incident

A-Shuyukh, Hebron District: Settlers stone harvesters and two surveyors and expel them with help of Border Police sent to protect the Palestinians

On 17 November 2021, at around 8:30 A.M., two employees of a surveying company, Mu’tasem Mashani (27) and Mujahed Shalaldeh (26), arrived at village land to take measurements for the local council. The work was coordinated with the Civil Administration, and two Border Police officers accompanied the surveyors. That day, farmers from the village came to the area as it was one of three harvest days coordinated by the Civil Administration. They were also accompanied by Border Police officers and by a Civil Administration representative.

At around 10:30 A.M., about 30 settlers came from the direction of the settlement of Metzad (Asfar), established near the site, and began harassing the farmers. After a verbal confrontation, the settlers and the Border Police officers, including those sent to protect the farmers, began shoving the latter away. After the Border Police left the area, the settlers started throwing stones at the surveyors, who fled the scene. During their escape, one was hit in the head by a stone thrown by the settlers and continued running while bleeding. When the two reached their cars, parked about 700 meters away, farmers who were there tried to treat Mu’tasem Mashani’s wound. Afterwards, a Civil Administration representative arrived along with Border Police officers and a military medic who gave Mashani first aid.   

Mashani filed a complaint at the police station in the settlement of Beitar Illit.  

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari on 21 November 2021, Mujahed Shalaldeh described what happened that day:  

The settlers started throwing stones at us. Mu’tasem asked me to take the measuring device, which costs about NIS 70,000 (~USD 22,506), and run away because he was worried the settlers would damage it. We ran for about 700 meters until we reached our cars. On the way, the settlers threw stones at us from a high place. I heard Mu’tasem shout and when I turned around, I saw his face covered in blood.  

I kept running and Mu’tasem ran behind me, bleeding, until we reached a safe place. Then I stopped to help him. I took my shirt off and bandaged his head with it to stop the bleeding. Then we ran to the car. 


A-Shuyukh, Hebron District: Settlers torch olive grove

On 16 November 2021, members of the a-Shalaldeh family from the village spotted, from afar, settlers setting fire to a grove with hundreds of olive trees. The settlement of Metzad (Asfar) was established near the grove. As the Israeli military bars the family from accessing their land without coordination, they could not assess the extent of the damage.    


Burqah/Homesh: Settlers attack landowners coming to area of evacuated settlement to plant trees

On Monday, 15 November 2021, at around 11:00, about 15 residents of the village of Burqah in Nablus District came to their land, from which the settlement of Homesh had been evacuated in 2005.   

The landowners arrived in four cars and a tractor and brought seedlings to plant in their land but were surprised to find several settlers there when they reached the area. While attempting to leave the area for fear of a confrontation, a minibus drove up with more settlers.

The settlers, some of whom were carrying firearms and others holding batons and pepper spray, attacked the landowners in their cars using live fire, batons and stones. Shadi Abu O'mar (37) was injured after settlers hit him repeatedly on his head with a metal rod, as well as sprayed him with pepper spray, which caused him to lose consciousness. Five additional Palestinians were injured by baton blows and stones, and all were evacuated to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. In addition, the settlers smashed the windshields of three of the landowners’ cars.

Settlers attack Israeli volunteers in Surif. Photo by Shai Kendler, 11 Nov. 2021
Settlers attack Israeli volunteers in Surif. Photo by Shai Kendler, 11 Nov. 2021

Surif, Hebron District: Settlers attack Palestinian olive harvesters and Israeli volunteers with clubs

On the morning of 11 November 2021, residents of Surif went, accompanied by Israeli volunteers, to harvest olives on their land in the presence of several soldiers. Upon arrival, the farmers discovered that settlers had already harvested part of the crop. At around noon, the soldiers left the area. After about an hour, several masked settlers arrived and attacked the residents and volunteers with stones and clubs, while a settlement security guard stood by and watched. Three Israeli volunteers were injured and two were taken away for medical treatment. Towards the end of the attack, police and Border Police officers arrived and drove the settlers away.

Huwarah, Nablus District: Settlers attack harvesters with stones and clubs as soldiers stand by

On 11 November 2021, at around 12:30 P.M., settlers armed with clubs came to the northwestern side of the village and stoned residents who were harvesting olives. Soldiers who were there as part of the coordination with the military stood by during the attack. One of the harvesters, Nasser ‘Odeh (35), sustained minor injuries from stones that hit him and was treated at Rafidia hospital in Nablus.

“Enemies live here” and Star of David sprayed by settlers on fence of house. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 9 Nov. 2021
“Enemies live here” and Star of David sprayed by settlers on fence of house. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B’Tselem, 9 Nov. 2021

Al-Birah, Ramallah District: Settlers puncture tires of 36 cars and spray hate slogans

On 9 November 2021, at 3:40 A.M., security cameras recorded three settlers who entered the northern neighborhood of the town, punctured the tires of 36 vehicles and spray-painted the walls of six homes and 12 cars with slogans including, “Enemies here live,” “There will be war over Judea and Samaria” and “Price tag,” as well as Stars of David. Residents of the neighborhood estimated that the settlers left through the dirt road leading to the nearby settlement of Beit El. The day after the incident, representatives of the Israeli DCO arrived at the town escorted by soldiers, photographed the damage and listened to residents’ testimonies. Several young Palestinians hurled stones at the soldiers, and the latter threw stun grenades and fired tear gas canisters at them. No one was injured.  

On 23 October 2019, B’Tselem documented a similar incident in which settlers entered the neighborhood, vandalized cars and spray-painted slogans. On 27 October 2020, settlers torched the al-Bir wa al-Ehsan mosque in the town, which lies about 800 meters away.   


Khirbet a-Tawamin, South Hebron Hills: Settlers vandalize family's residential cave and steal equipment

On the evening of 7 November 2021, settlers invaded the cave of a family from the community who were not home at the time. They broke some of the family’s belongings, stole objects and lighting fixtures, emptied water containers placed by the cave and damaged an agricultural irrigation system.

Su’ad ‘Alayan and Na’imah Makhamreh after the attack. Photo by Yasmin Eran-Vardi, 7 Nov. 2021
Su’ad ‘Alayan and Na’imah Makhamreh after the attack. Photo by Yasmin Eran-Vardi, 7 Nov. 2021

Sadet a-Tha'leh, South Hebron Hills: Settlers attack Palestinians near their home, yet Israeli security forces drive the victims away

On 6 and 7 November, settlers came from the Manne farm outpost to a well that serves the community of Sadet a-Tha’leh in the South Hebron Hills. Residents tried to drive them away, but the settlers attacked them and even injured several of them. Israeli security forces arrived immediately and summoned a resident for questioning; in the second incident, they declared the area a closed military zone. Settlers from the farm have taken over some 1,500 dunams in which they prevent Palestinians from accessing farmland and pastureland. Read more

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.

Settlers throwing stones at the ‘Eid family home. Photo courtesy of the family.
Settlers throwing stones at the ‘Eid family home. Photo courtesy of the family.

Burin, Nablus District: Dozens of settlers stone the ‘Eid family home

On 6 November 2021, at around 4:15 P.M., dozens of settlers stoned the home of the ‘Eid family, who has been suffering from repeated settler attacks. About a dozen soldiers who arrived at the scene fired tear gas canisters at residents who came to defend the home and threw stones at the settlers to drive them away. The settlers and soldiers then retreated from the area.  

One of the villagers was injured in his arm by a stone thrown by a settler and was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where a cast was placed on his arm. Two other residents were lightly injured by stones. 


Kafr Qadum, Qalqiliyah District: Settlers try to steal olives; soldiers hurl stun grenades at farmers, setting 80 olive trees on fire

On 5 November 2021, at around 2:30 P.M., Hilmi Shteiwi (61) was picking olives with his family on their land east of the village when he spotted two settlers picking olives off trees in another of his plots, which lies some distance away. Houses in the settlement of Kedumim were built adjacent to the plot, which the military forbids Shteiwi from entering without prior coordination. Shteiwi drew near and saw the settlers had filled three sacks with his crop.  

Meanwhile, other farmers who had heard that the settlers were stealing olives arrived, followed by a police car and soldiers. The two settlers fled when the police arrived, and Shteiwi managed to take the sacks of olives from them. Some of the residents entered into a confrontation with the soldiers, who hurled stun grenades and fired rubber-coated metal bullets at them. The stun grenades started a fire that burned down some 80 olive trees, 14 of them owned by Shteiwi.

Shteiwi filed a complaint against the two settlers who had harvested olives in his grove at the Ariel police station. 

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers cut all the branches off dozens of olive trees

On 5 November 2021, three farmers from the village of Burin in Nablus District discovered that settlers had cut all the branches off 32 of their olive trees, which lie on their land on their southern side of the village.

A settler youth urinates in a chicken coop belonging to one of the community's families. Photo courtesy of community residents
A settler youth urinates in a chicken coop belonging to one of the community's families. Photo courtesy of community residents

Wadi al-Qalt, Jericho District: Settler youths invade Palestinian community; one urinates in chicken coop

On 4 November 2021, about five settler youths entered the territory of the Wadi al-Qalt community in Jericho District, bearing sticks. The settlers photographed the community's homes and roamed among them for about 15 minutes, and one urinated inside a chicken coop near the homes. The youths only left the area after the residents called the police. 

October 2021

Branches settlers broke off one of the trees from which they stole olives. Photo courtesy of the grove owner
Branches settlers broke off one of the trees from which they stole olives. Photo courtesy of the grove owner

Kafr Qadum, Qalqiliyah District: Settlers steal olives off more than 200 trees surrounded by settlement fence while farmers are denied access

On 31 October 2021, the Barham family went to pick their olive trees, which are surrounded by the fence of the settlement of Kedumim. It was the first day of the harvest season allotted to them by the military, which forbids them to access their land without “coordination.” Upon arrival, the family discovered that settlers, who enjoy exclusive access to their land, had already harvested most of the olives in their two groves, which have about 300 trees. The settlers had also leveled part of the land, partially burying about 40 olive trees.


‘Awarta, Nablus District: Settlers harass olive harvesters, and one pepper-sprays them in front of soldiers

On 25 October 2021, several village residents went to harvest olives on their land, which stretches about two kilometers east of the village. They had coordinated their arrival with the military, as the settlement of Itamar was established nearby. The farmers were escorted by several soldiers and joined by volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights. While they were at work, several settlers arrived and began to provoke them. One sprayed the harvesters with pepper spray, lightly injuring two farmers and a volunteer. The soldiers who were escorting the harvesters drove the settlers out.


Wadi al-Qalt: Settler intrudes upon home, leaves and throws stones at it

On 24 October 2021, a settler walked uninvited into the Ka’abneh family home in the community of Wadi al-Qalt in Jericho District. The only person in the room he entered was an eight-year-old girl, who was startled and began shouting. The settler left the house and started throwing stones at it. When other community residents arrived, he fled and they called the Israel Police. Police officers who arrived suggested the residents file a complaint at the police station in the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Qarawat Bani Hassan, Salfit District: Settlers harass shepherd and try to lead his flock to outpost

On 24 October 2021, at around 3:30 P.M., a group of settlers arrived from the direction of the Yair Farm outpost, which was established about a kilometer north of the village, at pastureland that stretches between the outpost and the village. The settlers shouted at Sadeq Rayan (20), a village resident who was grazing a flock of some 200 sheep there, and tried to lead the flock towards the outpost. The shepherd called his father, Fawzat Rayan (41), who shouted back at the settlers, causing them to flee toward the outpost. As the father and son led their flock back to the village, they encountered a settlement security guard who shouted at them, as well. After a brief argument, the Palestinians and the settler went home.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 25 October 2021, Fawzat Rayan recounted:

After the settlers left the area, my son and I decided to go back to the village with the sheep in order to avoid problems with other settlers, because they always come in groups and harass farmers in the area so they can drive us out and take over the land. Our village lands are surrounded by settlements and outposts: Yair Farm, Kiryat Netafim, Revava, Yakir, Nofim and Barkan. 


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.