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Damage to trees and farmland
One of the trees poisone by settlers. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B'Tselem
One of the trees poisone by settlers. Photo by Iyad Hadad, B'Tselem

Sinjil, Ramallah District: Settlers poison all 80 of Palestinian family's 15-year-old olive trees

In the days prior to the fighting in Gaza in May 2021, many Palestinian farmers in the West Bank avoided going to their cultivated land and refrained from grazing their flocks in open areas due to the escalation in settler violence.

On 25 May 2021, Jarah Khalil (34) went to his olive grove for the first time in several weeks and discovered that settlers had poisoned all his trees. The grove, which lies about two kilometers north of the village, consisted of about 80 trees that were 15 years old.

The settlement of Shilo and the outposts of Giv’at Harel and Haro’eh were established about a kilometer from the grove.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 27 May 2021, Khalil described the poisoning of the olive trees and the resulting damage to his family:

My family owns seven dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] of land in the a-Rafeed area, about two kilometers north of the village. We had about 80 trees there, all of them 15 years old. They only recently started yielding a fair amount of fruit, and we extracted a tin of oil from every three to four trees. It’s part of our livelihood. We’re a family of five. Since my father died, I’ve been the only breadwinner because I’m the eldest.

About two months ago, a group of settlers built an outpost 50 meters away from our grove. One of them brought his whole family there and they raise livestock. During the latest round of incidents in early May, we stopped going to the land because we were afraid the settlers would attack us. On Tuesday afternoon, 25 May 2021, a farmer from the village went to his land, which is near our grove, and saw that our trees looked dry and burnt. He called me right away and I went over there quickly. When I got to the grove, I found more than half of the trees dried up and dead, and the rest drying up as well.

The state of the trees indicates deliberate poisoning, which is a method the settlers use. They destroyed all the mature olive trees, nearly 80 of them. There’s a military base overlooking the grove, about 500 meters away, but apparently no one stopped the settlers. We think the crime was carried out in two stages, the first about 20 days ago and the second 10 days ago, based on the extent of the trees’ dehydration.

I don’t think the trees will recover. Usually, with such poisoning, the toxins reach the roots and kill them, so there’s no chance that the trees will grow again. We put a lot of years of work into the groves and it all went down the drain because of the settlers’ crime. We dreamed and hoped that the trees would be another source of income to help us. Killing the trees was a cold-hearted act carried out by immoral people.

We didn’t file a complaint because there’s no reason to believe it would help. The Israeli police wouldn't take it seriously and bring the settlers to justice. But I reported the incident to the head of the village council, the Red Cross and several human rights organizations.

Settlers with cattle herd escorted by soldiers in Wadi Qana. Photo courtesy of farmers
Settlers with cattle herd escorted by soldiers in Wadi Qana. Photo courtesy of farmers

Wadi Qana, Salfit District: Settlers escorted by military lead herd of cattle through cultivated fields and attack farmers. Soldiers fire in the air, drive out farmers, and one attacks farmer

On Sunday, 23 May 2021, at around 6:00 P.M., about 15 settlers, escorted by about five soldiers, led a herd of some 60 cows from east to west through Wadi Qana, a fertile valley with cultivated farmland belonging to residents of Deir Istiya and other villages, which Israel is trying to take over.

Some farmers who were in the area noticed the settlers and alerted other farmers from Deir Istiya, who own citrus groves in the valley. After the cows began grazing on tree leaves, a verbal altercation developed between the farmers and the settlers and soldiers. As the altercation escalated, settlers attacked farmers with a club and pepper-spray. In addition, a soldier hit one of the farmers attacked by the settlers with his rifle butt. Meanwhile, more settlers and soldiers arrived, along with Israeli police officers. The soldiers fired in the air, detained the farmers, except for those requiring medical treatment, and blocked the entrance to the valley for Palestinians, allowing the settlers to continue leading the cows through it until they reached the other side in the evening hours.

אחת המכוניות שהשחיתו המתנחלים בוואדי קאנא
One of the cars the settlers vandalized by settlers in Wadi Qana. Photo courtesy of farmers

 

Three of the farmers required medical care at a hospital.

The military did not allow the other farmers to leave the area until late at night, at which point four of them discovered settlers had vandalized their cars. The windshields of two cars had been smashed and the tires of these and two other cars were damaged. The car owners had to use a tow truck to remove them from the area.

B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi collected testimonies from three of the farmers who were present, all residents of Deir Istiya:

In his testimony, Nassim Mansur (52), a father of five, recalled how a settler attacked him:

Nassim Mansur. Photo courtesy of witness

We were working the land, and other farmers were working in the plots next to us. Suddenly, a group of settlers showed up with their herd, and the cows started grazing on our land. We called residents to come and defend the land. The other farmers and I started driving the cows away from our land, and then one of the settlers hit me with a wooden club on my left arm. My arm hurt a lot, and I backed away from there. Later, the other farmers drove me to the hospital in Salfit, where it turned out that I had bruises and a torn tendon.

Bilal Mansur (46), a father of five, described in his testimony what unfolded when he arrived at the scene:

בילאל מנסור
Bilal Mansur. Photo courtesy of witness

At 6:30 P.M., one of the villagers called me and said that I needed to come to my land because settlers were grazing their herd there. My sons, Khader (21) and Islam (17), and I got into our car immediately and drove to the valley.

When we got there, we saw about 15 settlers, a military jeep, about five soldiers, and a herd of dozens of cattle head. I pulled over and we got out to check what was going on and why they were grazing their cattle there. But as soon as we went over, a settler armed with a club started attacking my two sons. I tried to defend them and fend him off, but another settler pepper-sprayed me in the face when I approached him. It burned a lot. I couldn’t see anything and had trouble breathing. The soldiers didn’t do anything to protect us, of course. They just fired in the air to drive us away.

I fell to the ground, and the residents who were there put me in their car and took me to the hospital. On the way, at the entrance to ‘Azzun, they transferred me to an ambulance, where there were two other farmers who’d been pepper-sprayed by the settlers. The ambulance took us to Darwish Nazal Hospital in Qalqiliyah.

Later that night, my sons returned to the valley with a tow truck and brought our car back from there, after the settlers smashed its windshield and punctured all of its tires.

In his testimony, Sai’d Zidan (65), head of the Deir Istiya council and father of four, recounted:

סעיד זידאן בבית החולים
Sai’d Zidan in the hospital. Photo courtesy of witness

When I got to the valley, I saw about 15 settlers, five soldiers, and a herd of about 60 cows who started grazing on the trees. The other farmers and I tried talking with the soldiers, but a settler with a club approached us and immediately attacked me, hitting me with the club on the shoulder. Another settler pepper-sprayed me in the face, even though the soldiers were standing around us. It was clear they were only there to protect the settlers. I fell to the ground and started screaming in pain. Then I managed to get to my feet and shouted at the soldiers. Then mutual shouting started between the soldiers and the farmers, who protested the soldiers and the settlers’ behavior, and one of the soldiers hit me on the head with his rifle butt. I felt dizzy and fell to the ground again. Meanwhile, more settlers, soldiers, and police officers arrived. The military closed off the area and prevented more farmers from accessing it. The settlers also pepper-sprayed other farmers, and we were all taken from there to hospitals.

An olive grove the settlers burned down. Photo courtesy of the village council
An olive grove the settlers burned down. Photo courtesy of the village council

Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers saw off neighborhood utility pole for the third time

On 16 May 2021, residents of the southeastern neighborhood of Jalud discovered that settlers had, for the third time, sawn off a utility pole installed by the village council and the Palestinian Electric company to supply electricity to neighborhood homes. The settlers also set fire to a nearby olive grove.

Settlers first uprooted a utility pole installed on the spot on 15 October 2020. On 3 April 2021, while workers were installing a new pole, settlers showed up again, some of them masked, sawed off the pole and attacked Walid Shweiki (71) after the workers fled.

The utility pole the settlers sawed off and burned. Photo courtesy of the village council
The utility pole the settlers sawed off and burned. Photo courtesy of the village council

 

The entrance to a-Tamimi's land, where the fence was uprooted.
The entrance to a-Tamimi's land, where the fence was uprooted.

Deir Nizam, Ramallah District: Settlers pry gate off Palestinian farmland; soldiers prevent owner from rebuilding it and drive him away

On 19 March 2021, settlers uprooted some 2,000 almond seedlings and damaged parts of an agricultural fence on land belonging to several families from Deir Nizam. The land stretches about 500 meters north of the village, which lies in Ramallah District. The seedlings were planted as part of a program supported by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and funded by Oxfam.

About two days later, the landowners replanted the seedlings and erected a gate at the entrance to the path that leads to their land, in order to protect the orchard from settler attacks.

On the morning of 23 April 2021, Muhammad a-Tamimi (47) and his son Ramez (16) came to work the plot. At around 1:00 P.M., about five soldiers arrived and ordered the two to leave the area. At the same time, a vehicle stopped by the road nearby and settlers inside began swearing at the farmers. The soldiers went over to the settlers, who drove off.

Muhammad and Ramez a-Tamimi went home. About 15 minutes later, relatives informed them that settlers had uprooted the gate. Muhammad a-Tamimi drove there immediately and found dozens of Israeli security forces spread out on his land. They forced him to leave, threatening and shoving him, on the pretext that it was a closed military zone.

The next day, a-Tamimi returned to his land. Again, soldiers drove him away and prevented him from repairing the gate. A-Tamimi finally managed to repair it on 27 April 2021.

The settlement of Halamish was established about 400 meters southeast of the plot, and the Zvi Bar Yosef farm outpost about 2.5 kilometers to the east. In early April 2021, settlers and soldiers assaulted Deir Nizam residents several times in another plot owned by members of the extended Tamimi family, about a kilometer northeast of Muhammad a-Tamimi’s plot.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 23 April 2021, Muhammad a-Tamimi (47), a resident of Deir Nizam, recounted how the settlers and soldiers colluded to prevent him from accessing his land:

On Friday, 23 April 2021, I came to work the land with my son Ramez. At 1:00 P.M., a military jeep with four or five soldiers arrived. The officers spoke to me rudely and asked me what I was doing there. When I replied that I was working my land, he told me that I didn’t have to work today and should go home. I argued with him. Meanwhile, a car with three settlers showed up and stopped by the roadside. The settlers started cursing me, “You son of a bitch,” “You motherfucker,” and so on. The soldiers ignored it. When I also started cursing the settlers, the soldiers ordered me to shut up. They consulted with each other and only then told the settlers to leave, and they drove away. The soldiers stayed, and I had to leave with my son.

Fifteen minutes after we got home, my nephew came and told me that settlers had pried off the gate, dragged it and thrown it on the ground. I drove over there right away, since it’s only two kilometers away. When we arrived, there were dozens of soldiers, Border Police and Special Patrol Unit officers there, along with dozens of villagers who had come after hearing about the incident, and three settlers’ vehicles.

I immediately turned to the officer I’d spoken to earlier and said to him, “You were here half an hour ago and the gate was still standing, right?” He said, “Yes, you’re right. But we’re waiting for DCO officers to come and solve the problem.” Then he ordered me to move away, but I refused and told him that the settlers should fix the gate first. The officer told me that we’d wait for the DCO and they’d decide who’d fix the gate.

About 10 minutes later, an Israeli DCO officer arrived and ordered me to go home and take the gate with me. He said I should come back the next day to put up the gate instead of getting into a confrontation with the settlers. When I refused, he showed me an order on his phone declaring the land a “closed military zone.”

We insisted and refused to leave until the Border Police officers threatened to pepper-spray us and throw stun grenades at us if we didn’t. We went home and came back the next day to set up the gate, but again they didn’t allow us. Only today, 27 April 2021, I met the soldiers again and the officer told me that the ban had been lifted that day and I could set up the gate.

The settlers constantly harass us and the military covers for them and sometimes even coordinates and cooperates with them. We don’t know who else to turn to. Weve gone through all the official channels, but nothing helps.

Haris, Salfit District: Settlers uproot and break 13 five-year-old olive trees on village land

On 23 April 2021, ‘Aishah Qassem (67) discovered that settlers had uprooted and broken 13 five-year-old olive trees she had planted in her plot on the western side of the village, near which the settlement of Revava was established.

Israeli settlers and soldiers repeatedly attack a-Tamimi family on their farmland, April 2021

In March 2021, B’Tselem documented four cases in which settlers and soldiers repeatedly tried to drive members of the a-Tamimi family and other farmers from the village of Deir Nizam out of their land and damaged their property.

One of the plots owned by the a-Tamimi family lies near the entrance to the village of a-Nabi Saleh and the roading leading to the settlement of Halamish, which was established about 200 meters away. The Zvi Bar Yosef farm outpost was established on the outskirts of the settlement, about 1.5 kilometers from the plot. Since the establishment of the outpost, Palestinian farmers have been suffering from repeated attacks on them and on their property.

Detailed below are three incidents that took place on three consecutive days in early April 2021. In every case, settlers and soldiers assaulted members of the a-Tamimi family working the plot and tried to drive them out.

3 April 2021

On the morning of 3 April 2021, members of the a-Tamimi family and other residents came to put up a fence around the plot, after receiving funding from the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture. The goal was to protect the crops from the cattle herds that settlers lead onto the land. At around midday, soldiers arrived at the scene and ordered them to stop working. When the farmers demanded the soldiers show an official order prohibiting them from working their land, the soldiers contacted the Israeli DCO to settle the matter. After two hours, the soldiers informed the farmers they could continue working as long as they did not approach the road leading to Halamish, and left the area.

At around 5:00 P.M., about 10 settlers came to the plot from the direction of the Zvi Bar Yosef outpost. The settlers, some of whom were armed, began shouting at the farmers and demanding they leave the area. The farmers refused, and then the settlers moved away and summoned soldiers. Upon arrival, the soldiers demanded the farmers stop working, cursed at them, hurled stun grenades, and fired tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at them. Even after the farmers left the plot, the soldiers continued hurling stun grenades and firing tear gas canisters. They pepper-sprayed two of the farmers in the face, one of whom was already in his car.

4 April 2021

The next morning, about 15 Deir Nizam residents returned to the plot. While they were working, they saw the settlers who had harassed them the day before standing and watching them from a road overlooking the plot. A short while later, soldiers whom the settlers had summoned, according to witnesses, showed up again and ordered them to stop working until a representative of the Israeli DCO came and instructed them where they were allowed to work. The soldiers then left the area. The farmers waited until evening, but no DCO representative arrived and they eventually went home.

5 April 2021

The following morning, about 10 farmers returned to the plot and continued putting up the fence around it. At around 10:00, soldiers were again called to the scene by settlers according to witnesses. They again ordered the farmers to stop their work. After an argument, it was agreed that the farmers would again wait until Israeli DCO officials decided on the matter. At around midday, a military officer arrived and demanded to see the land ownership documents. The farmers presented him with the documents, but he ordered them to wait until the DCO reached a decision in order to avoid confrontation with the settlers. The officer then left, promising to leave a military jeep there to keep the peace until a decision was made. The farmers consented, but about half an hour later, the military jeep also left the area.

About 10 minutes after the jeep left, some five settlers came from the direction of the road near Halamish, invaded the plot and began uprooting the fence posts the farmers had put up two days earlier. The farmers immediately reported their actions to an Israeli DCO representative, who promised to send soldiers to the area and asked them to wait a few minutes. After waiting several minutes while the settlers continued destroying the fence, with no soldiers in sight, six farmers went over to the settlers, who had meanwhile been joined by about seven more settlers, some of them armed. The settlers starting hitting the farmers and throwing stones at them. The farmers tried to fend them off by throwing stones, until a settler they recognized threatened to shoot and hit two of them with his rifle, one in the shoulder and the other in the head. Two other farmers sustained head injuries from stones thrown by settlers.

At that point, several soldiers arrived and hurled stun grenades at the residents, who were forced to flee. Four of the injured farmers received first aid at the medical center in the neighboring village of Beit Rima.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 11 April 2021, Nader Ayoub (45), a US citizen born in the West Bank who had come to visit the a-Tamimi family, recounted how he and his relatives were attacked by settlers on 5 April 2021:

On Monday, 5 April 2021, at around 1:00 P.M., I brought drinks and biscuits to relatives of mine who were working land near the entrance to the village of a-Nabi Saleh. When I got there, they were in the middle of a confrontation with settlers. They were fighting with fists and stones. One of the settlers was armed. He was waving his rifle and threatening to shoot.

The minute I arrived, I saw my uncle on the ground with three settlers lying on top of him, beating him with fists and stones. I tried to help him, and then the settlers attacked me. I tried to defend myself, but one of them attacked me from behind and hit me in the back of my head with a rifle butt. It hurt very much and I felt dizzy. I lost balance and fell over. My uncles came over and got the settlers off me. After a few seconds, I managed to get up enough strength to stand up, but I was still wobbly. My uncle Munir was also injured and was bleeding from the back of the head. We both moved away a bit from the settlers.

I live in the US and was visiting my family in Deir Nizam. It took me one day to witness the settlers’ violence. I was shocked by the military’s cooperation with the criminals, backing them with no justification. I was advised to file a complaint, but I don’t believe it will lead to anything. There’s a Palestinian proverb that says: Who can you complain to when the judge himself is your opponent?

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 11 April 2021, Munir a-Tamimi (50), a married father of five from Deir Nizam, recalled how the soldiers joined in the settlers’ attack on 5 April 2021:

Half an hour later, a military jeep arrived. At first it was one patrol (car), and then four or five other patrols drove up. The soldiers help the settlers drive us out. In the beginning they threw stun grenades straight at us, threatened us and pushed us. They managed to get us to leave and tried unsuccessfully to confiscate Amjad’s camera. We heard the settlers egging them on and lying to them that we’d tried to snatch a weapon. We had to keep our heads down and back away.

We’re exposed to harassment and attacks whenever we work the farmland in this area. B’Tselem has documented some of these attacks, especially recent ones by settlers from the outposts headed by a settler who's well-known among area residents.

Slogans spray-painted by setters on the walls of the agricultural structure
Slogans spray-painted by setters on the walls of the agricultural structure

Qusrah, Nablus District: Settlers uproot seedlings, pry off door of agricultural structure and spray-paint it

On 28 April 2021, Fathallah Abu Raidah (60), a resident of Qusrah in Nablus District, discovered that settlers had uprooted seedlings he had planted on his land south of the village. The settlers also spray-painted the slogans “Am Israel Chai (Israel Lives),” Muhammad is a pig” and “Revenge” on the walls of an agricultural structure in the plot, in addition to prying off its door.

The residents of Qusrah and of neighboring villages have been suffering from repeated attacks by settlers against them and against their property. The settlement of Migdalim was established northeast of Qusrah, several hundred meters away from the plot in question. The settlement outposts of Esh Kodesh and Ahiya were established about 1.5 kilometers south of the village.

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.

A mutilated olive tree in Yasuf, 5 Dec. 2020. Photo by head of village council
A mutilated olive tree in Yasuf, 5 Dec. 2020. Photo by head of village council

Yasuf, Nablus District: At the end of harvest season, settlers cut down 42 yielding olive trees

On Saturday morning, 5 December 2020, members of the ‘Atyani family – farmers from the village of Yasuf – discovered that settlers had cut down 42 of the 104 olive trees growing on their plot, which stretches over six dunams [1 dunam = 1,000 sq. meters] of land southeast of the village.

The Israeli military permits the family to enter the plot only after coordinating the visit with the Civil Administration, which allows them access only during the plowing and harvest seasons. However, family members routinely go to the grove without prior coordination to tend to needs such as pruning and fertilizing after the harvest.

The day after the family discovered the mutilated trees, they went to the grove with the head of the local council and representatives of the Palestinian ministry of agriculture, who were asked to assess the damage. When they reached their plot, they noticed three settlers inside it who then fled the scene.

The settlement of Rehelim was established in 1991 about two kilometers from the olive grove.

Deir Jarir, Ramallah District: Settlers grazed sheep and cattle in cultivated Palestinian fields. After Rabbi Arik Ascherman filmed them, they assaulted him with clubs.

On 7 April 2021, at around 5:00 P.M., three representatives of the Palestinian Authority’s National Commission against the Wall and the Settlements came to inspect the Ma’ale Ahuvya outpost, which was established on land belonging to the village of Deir Jarir. As they drove up, they found the outpost mostly evacuated but some 10 settlers still on the premises, including women and children. When the settlers noticed the car, some of them began running towards it and swearing at the representatives, who ignored them and kept driving.

As the three drove northeast of the village, they saw Israeli activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman standing by Road 449, filming four settlers who were grazing sheep and cattle in cultivated Palestinian fields. The three representatives stopped and got out of the car, at which point two of the settlers who had run towards them earlier also drove up. The settlers got out of their car, started arguing with the three and called for more settlers.

At that point, the four settlers who were grazing the herds headed towards the road and started shouting at the three representatives, threatening them and Rabbi Ascherman. Meanwhile, three more settlers appeared from the Palestinian fields, masked and armed with clubs. Several settlers drove the Palestinians out with threats. Then the two masked setters began beating Rabbi Ascherman with their clubs all over his body. A few minutes later, the settlers fled the area and the three Palestinian representatives left.

Rabbi Ascherman reported the attack to the Israel Police. Officers who arrived at the scene suggested he file a complaint at the Binyamin police station. He then drove to Jerusalem, where he received medical treatment.

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