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Physical assault
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.

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. 

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. 

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

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.

Jihad a-Najar in the ambulance. Courtesy of family.
Jihad a-Najar in the ambulance. Courtesy of family.

Wadi al-Hussein, central Hebron: Settlers chasing Palestinian children attack woman sheltering them; soldiers ignore the assault

On 14 August 2021, at around 4:00 P.M., about 10 Palestinian children between the ages of 6 and 12 came to the home of Jihad and Jamal a-Najar in the Wadi al-Hussein neighborhood in central Hebron, seeking refuge from a settler who was chasing them. A fence separates the neighborhood from the adjacent settlement of Kiryat Arba. The couple took the children inside and Jamal stopped the settler from coming in after them. After trying to enter other homes and threatening the couple with a stone, the settler left and headed towards Kiryat Arba. A few minutes later, he returned with three other settlers. One of them pushed Jihad, who had come outside to film what was happening, hit the camera she was holding and punched her in the chest.

Soldiers who came to the scene ignored Jihad’s report she had been attacked and tried to break into the house in search of the children. After Jihad felt chest pain and had difficulty breathing, her husband called a Red Crescent ambulance that took her to ‘Alia hospital in Hebron. The soldiers and settlers left the scene, and Jihad was examined at the hospital and discharged several hours later.

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

Tareq Zbeidi in his home. Photo by Oren Ziv, Activestills, 25 Aug. 2021
Tareq Zbeidi in his home. Photo by Oren Ziv, Activestills, 25 Aug. 2021

Silat a-Daher, Jenin District: Running over, tying to moving car, hanging on tree, pepper-spraying, kicking, burning feet: Settlers abduct 15-year-old and abuse him until he loses consciousness

On 17 August 2021, teens from Silat a-Daher in Jenin District set out to picnic on village land. Settlers who came to the scene grabbed one of them, knocked him down with their car and tied him to it with an iron chain, and then drove to the former site of the settlement of Homesh, where they abused him until he lost consciousness. They beat and kicked him, hung him in the air, cut his feet and burned them, and pepper-sprayed him in the eyes. After he lost consciousness, he was handed over to soldiers, who passed him on to family members. Read more

May 2021: Two Palestinians were fatally shot in two joint attacks by settlers and soldiers in the villages of Iskaka and Urif - Awad Harb and Nidal Safadi

 

On 14 May 2021, settlers and soldiers invaded two villages, ‘Urif and Iskaka, in two incidents. The settlers, some armed, threw stones at homes and residents, who came out to defend themselves by throwing stones. In both villages, settlers and soldiers fired live rounds, injuring of 12 residents and killing two: ‘Awad Harb in Iskaka and Nidal Safadi in ‘Urif. Collusion between soldiers and settlers in the attacks on Palestinians has long been part of the routine in the West Bank that endangers the lives, property, and wellbeing of the villagers.

 

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The stitches in Muslem Abu Hameid’s head. Photo courtesy of the witness.
The stitches in Muslem Abu Hameid’s head. Photo courtesy of the witness.

Maghayir al-‘Abid, Masafer Yatta: Settlers attack father and son laying a water line for the community, severely beating them with sticks and iron pipes

On 2 July 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., settlers attacked Muslem Abu Hameid (54) and his son Marwan (18), residents of the town of Yatta, with iron pipes and stones while the elder Abu Hameid was digging a trench for a water line several hundred meters south of the community of Maghayir al-‘Abid in Masafer Yatta, South Hebron Hills. After severely beating the two, injuring them, and smashing one of their car windows, the settlers fled the scene.

Another Palestinian working in the area drove the two in his car to a Red Crescent ambulance that took them to the ‘Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron, where they were examined and X-rayed. The two suffered severe bruises to all parts of their body. Muslem was also wounded in the head and required stitches. At around 3:00 A.M., they were discharged, but Marwan had to return to the hospital after vomiting and suffering severe abdominal pain. He was hospitalized for observation until 8:00 P.M.

Israel denies residents of Masafer Yatta communities, who had lived in the area before the occupation began, access to running water and electricity. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented the repeated destruction of pipelines laid by the Palestinian Authority to supply water for residents of the communities in the area.

This is the third settler attack on the community of Maghayir al-‘Abid that B’Tselem has documented since early May 2021. The settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on were established about 2.5 kilometers northwest of the community. The residents of the Masafer Yatta area have been suffering repeated attacks by settlers and soldiers as part of Israel’s routine harassment of Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, and in Masafer Yatta in particular, in the state’s bid to expel them from their homes and area of residence.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhsash on 8 July 2021, Muslem Abu Hameid (54), a married father of 10 from the town of Yatta, described the attack on him and his son:

I live and Yatta and work at the Yatta Municipality as a bulldozer operator. In recent days, I’ve been working on a project carried out by the Masafer Yatta Council to lay a water line for the Maghayir al-‘Abid community, east of Yatta. We work at night so that the military and the settlers won’t notice us and stop the project.

On 2 July 2021, we went out to work at around 8:00 P.M. I was with my son Marwan, who came to drive me there and back, the project manager and three other workers. At 1:45 A.M., as I was digging with the bulldozer, I saw a fire on a hill near Maghayir al-‘Abid, not far from us. I aimed the tractor lights there, and at first, I didn’t see anyone. But then I suddenly saw seven or eight settlers coming down from the hill and advancing towards us.

They turned towards our car, where my son Marwan was sitting, about 100 meters away from me. He was waiting for me to finish working. I drove the tractor towards Marwan, but the settlers reached him before me, attacked him, and then fled. When I stopped the tractor to get off, another group of masked settlers suddenly appeared. There were eight of them. They started throwing stones at me while I was sitting on the bulldozer. I fell to the ground, and three of them attacked me with sticks. I got hit in the head and the right hand. Then a fourth settler attacked me from behind, put his stick on my neck and started pressing hard, but I managed to break free from him and escape. The settlers also ran off.  

When the settlers attacked me, the bulldozer’s engine was still running. Apparently, after I fell, they slid it into the valley. It all happened so quickly, within a minute or two, and none of the other workers managed to reach us and help us before the settlers fled. I went over to Marwan and saw that he was unconscious. He was injured in the legs, arms and head. Marwan later told me that the first settlers smashed a window in the car and then attacked him inside the car with pipes.

The project manager drove us in his car to a Bedouin village in the area, where we were met by Red Crescent ambulance that took us to the ‘Alia Governmental Hospital. We got to the hospital at around 3:00 A.M. Marwan and I were examined and X-rayed, and it turned out that I had a deep wound on the top of my head, which was stitched up. I also had bruises on both hands. Marwan had sharp pains in the head, leg, arm and chest. We were discharged in the morning, but when we got home, Marwan had to go back to the hospital because he vomited and had extreme stomach pains.

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