Huwarah, Nablus District: Settlers torch stone-cutting machines and forklift in stone mill; Mill owner captures one perpetrator and hands him over to military
On 22 July 2021, at around 3:00 A.M., several settlers arrived at the southern part of the town and set fire to three stone-cutting machines and a forklift in a stone mill owned by the Dmeidi family. One of the mill owners, ‘Issam Dmeidi (45), who came to the mill after learning of the attack, saw the settlers flee in their car and drove after them. During the chase, the settlers’ car crashed into a kiosk on the town’s main street. Three settlers got out, and two of them, who were holding wooden sticks, fled the scene. Dmeidi managed to catch the third settler, waited for about 40 minutes along with other residents until the military arrived, and handed the settler over to the soldiers. Police officers who came to the mill inspected the damage and collected footage from security cameras in the area. The damage caused to the mill owners is estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i on 25 July 2021, ‘Issam Dmeidi (45), a married father of six, recounted the settlers’ attack on the mill:
At around 3:00 A.M., I got a call from a town resident who told me that smoke was rising from our mill. I drove there, and when I arrived, I saw fire in several places. The settlers torched three stone-cutting machines and our large forklift. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Suddenly, I saw a car driving towards the Ariel settlement. It passed by me quickly. Without thinking, I got into my car and drove after it. I drove fast until I got close to the main street of Huwarah, and then I saw the settlers’ car crashing into a metal container near the bakery and the supermarket and then into the kiosk near the bakery.
I passed their car and stopped. I got out and saw three settlers getting out of the car. Two of them were holding sticks and running towards the olive groves, but I managed to catch the driver.
I called over some people who passed by there, and meanwhile, my brother and several relatives also came. A town resident who speaks Hebrew asked the settler where he was from, and he answered that he was from the Bracha settlement. I held the settler until soldiers arrived about 40 minutes later. They called an ambulance for him because he was injured in the collision of the car. Then a force of police and soldiers arrived and collected footage from the bakery’s security cameras. Afterwards, they came to the mill and inspected the site. The insurance company doesn’t recognize damage caused by settlers, and there’s no one to compensate us. Now we’re working with one machine instead of the four we had. It’ll cause us very heavy losses. We have customers waiting for their orders. My father started the mill 38 years ago, and we employ about 70 workers who support families. We’ve worked very hard to keep our business going and develop it over the years.