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.