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Damage to trees and farmland
Smashed solar panels on the roof of the Soufan family home. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 12 July 2021.
Smashed solar panels on the roof of the Soufan family home. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 12 July 2021.

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers stone Palestinian homes and uproot dozens of olive trees

On the night between 11 and 12 July 2021, an Israeli military and police force escorted by representatives of the Palestinian DCO removed a tent set up by settlers about a month earlier on village residents’ private land. About half an hour after the forces left the area, dozens of settlers advanced towards homes in the village located about 300 meters away from where the tent was removed and stoned the Soufan family home. The settlers smashed the sun boiler on the roof of the house and a streetlight and broke several olive trees on a nearby plot belonging to one of the villagers. Members of the Soufan family called village residents, and when they arrived in their cars, the settlers fled.

The following day, the settlers returned and pitched the tent in the same spot from which the other had been removed.

Two days later, on 14 July 2021, farmers from the village discovered that settlers had cut down about 70 olive trees, which were 60 years old, about 200 meters away from the tent.

Some of the olive trees cut by settlers. Photo: B'Tselem volunteer Akram Amran
Some of the olive trees cut by settlers. Photo: B'Tselem volunteer Akram Amran

On 16 July 2021, about 20 settlers stoned the ‘Eid family home on the eastern side of the village while the family members gathered for a festive meal in honor of a wedding. During a confrontation that developed between the family members and village residents who came to their defense and the settlers, a settlement security guard fired several shots at the residents, but no one was hurt. After about an hour, several military jeeps came to the house from the direction of the Havat Gilad outpost, and the soldiers drove the settlers away.

Residents of Burin, which is hemmed in by the settlements of Har Bracha and Yitzhar, have been suffering for years from repeated attacks by settlers. 

In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i on 12 July 2021, Randah Soufan (38), a married mother of five from Burin, recounted how the settlers attacked her family home in the dead of night: 

At around midnight, I saw several military jeeps and police cars, and also vehicles of the Palestinian DCO that stopped near our house. The forces got out of the vehicles and advanced towards a tent the settlers had set up on village land, about 300 meters away from our home. We assumed that they were there to remove the tent. A short while later, we heard a commotion from the direction of the tent, and then we heard an explosion of a stun grenade.  

Twenty or 30 minutes later,  I saw about 30 soldiers running, followed by 20 to 30 settlers. The soldiers got into their vehicles and drove away. Immediately afterward, the settlers started throwing stones at our home.  

We called relatives and friends from the village. My husband went up to the roof with his two brothers to defend us. I tried to prevent our children, Bahaa (17), ‘Atallah (15), Hanan (19), and Hala (13), from going up to the roof with them, but they insisted and said that they’re unwilling to hide. My youngest son, ‘Abd a-Rahman (9), wet himself out of fear.  

I ran to my brother-in-law’s apartment, who lives on the other side of our floor. My sister-in-law Ashwak (24), who’s pregnant and was terrified, and I sat in the living room because it’s far from the windows. I was afraid that Ashwak would give birth early out of stress and fear.   

We heard the sun boiler exploding on the roof. The settlers also broke olive trees on a village resident’s land near our house. We called relatives and friends, who started arriving in their cars, and then the settlers drew back, got into their cars, and drove towards the settlement. We breathed a sigh of relief!

The settlers also broke a streetlight near the house. If village residents hadn’t arrived, the damage could’ve been worse. We were on edge until morning. We couldn’t sleep. My youngest stayed awake until about 2:30 A.M. He couldn’t fall asleep from fear, and my heart ached for him.  

Early in the morning, at 6 A.M., we saw about 15 settlers pitching  the tent again as if nothing had happened. I saw them point to our house several times as they talked to each other. Now I’m afraid because my daughter Hanan is supposed to get married on 23 July 2021, and I fear that if we all leave the house, the settlers will come and attack it. 

The slogan graffitied by the settlers on the water container. Photo courtesy of landowner.
The slogan graffitied by the settlers on the water container. Photo courtesy of landowner.

Qusrah, Nablus District: Settlers break approx. 25 young fruit trees and vandalize property

On 23 July 2021, settlers invaded a plot belonging to Lafy Ziad (60) on the southeastern side of the village, broke about 25 olive, citrus and almond trees, damaged a 50-meter-long metal net, and graffitied the slogan “Price tag” on a water tank.

The seedlings uprooted in Rami Musa’s plot. Photo courtesy of landowner
The seedlings uprooted in Rami Musa’s plot. Photo courtesy of landowner

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers uproot approx. 160 fruit tree seedlings

On 6 June 2021, settlers invaded the plots of two farmers in the south of the village and uprooted and broke fruit tree seedlings, including olive trees. In 40-year-old Rami Musa’s plot, the settlers broke 84 three-year-old seedlings, and in 60-year-old Muhammad ‘Amer’s plot, they uprooted and broke some 85 seedlings.

The settlement of Shvut Rachel was established about a kilometer from ‘Amer’s plot, and the settlement of Shilo was established about 200 meters to the west.

Turmusaya area, Ramallah District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Bedouin community
Turmusaya area, Ramallah District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Bedouin community

Turmusaya area, Ramallah District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Bedouin community

On 26 June 2021, at around 4:00 P.M., settlers came with a military escort to a farm owned by a Bedouin family that lies on a plain east of the village of Turmusaya, and attacked it with stones. Family members, along with area residents who came to their aid, tried to fend the settlers off by throwing stones. The soldiers escorting the settlers fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters at the Palestinians and hurled stun grenades. Several Palestinians were hit by rubber-coated metal bullets and treated at a clinic in the area. Another was lightly injured in the abdomen by a stone.

In the attack, settlers burned down a parked agricultural vehicle, as well as some two tons of barley crops and about 50 sheaves of straw. Two goats choked to death from the tear gas and two others broke their legs in the panic that broke out among the flock. The soldiers removed the settlers from the scene after about an hour, but continued to clash with the residents until around 7:00 A.M. After police officers came to the scene, soldiers prevented residents from approaching them to file a complaint.  

The settlement outpost of Adei Ad was established about 1.5 kilometers from the Bedouin farm. Since its establishment, residents of the Turmusaya area have been suffering repeated attacks by settlers.

 

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad on 27 June 2021, Suliman Abu ‘Alia (32), a married father of three who lives on the farm with his extended family, described the settlers’ attack:

My family, which numbers 10 people, lives off farming and shepherding. In winter, we live in the Ras a-Tin area. In spring and summer, we live on our farm east of Turmusaya, so the flock can graze in the fields we’ve already harvested and eat the dry grass remaining there. Near the farm there are extremist settlers who attack us and other area residents and cause damage. In recent months it’s actually been quiet, with no attacks.   

On 26 June 2021, at around 4:00 P.M., we suddenly noticed settlers coming towards us. The women and children on the farm were terrified. We tried to drive the settlers away to defend our families, and tried to protect the flock, tents and fodder as best as we could. A few dozen guys from the area who heard what was happening came to help us fight them.  

The soldiers didn’t really try to make them leave or to protect us. All they cared about was defending the settlers, and they fired at us and threw stun grenades and tear gas. We had to disperse because the gas was so heavy. Only after an hour did the military drive the settlers away. Even then, they continued attacking us, even when the military did try to intervene. After the settlers moved away, the clashes between the residents and the military continued until 7:00 P.M. My brother Ahmad was lightly injured in the stomach from a stone thrown by the settlers. About other 10 people were injured by tear gas or “rubber” bullets. But as far as I know, they were only injured lightly and were treated at clinics in the area.  

The settlers torched a car we used for transporting things inside the farm, well as two tons of barley for feeding the flock (a ton costs about 17,000 shekels [~5,2450 USD]), and about 50 sheaves of straw that were also intended for the flock (every sheaf costs 50 shekels [~15 USD]). They also injured two goats whose legs got broken, and two other goats choked on the gas and died.  

In the end, at a late hour, police officers also arrived. But every time I tried to approach them to file a complaint, the soldiers kept me back at gunpoint 

Qusrah, Nablus District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack homes in southern part of village and torch chicken coops

Over the course of two days, on 14 and 15 May 2021, dozens of settlers, escorted by about 15 soldiers, came to the southern part of the village, attacking homes with stones and setting fire to four chicken coops belonging to three residents. Dozens of chicks burned to death. The coops and the chicken feed also burned down. The damage to the owners is estimated at hundreds of thousands of shekels. The settlers also set fire to a car parked in the area.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported that during the clashes that ensued between the soldiers and village residents, 12 residents were injured by live fire and one by rubber-coated metal bullets, and dozens of residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

This is the second attack by settlers on residents of Qusrah that B’Tselem documented in May: on 2 May 2021, settlers stoned village homes. Residents of Qusrah have been suffering from repeated settler attacks for years, including on their chicken coops.

The settlement outposts of Ahiya and Esh Kodesh were established about 800 meters away from the chicken coops attacked.

An agricultural plot owned by a Beit Furik resident that was torched by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the witness
An agricultural plot owned by a Beit Furik resident that was torched by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the witness

Settlers violently attack farmers from Khirbet Tana and Beit Furik in Nablus District and threaten them

On 14 June 2021, a fire broke out on pastureland that lies on a ridge south of Beit Furik and Khirbet Tana. The settlement of Itamar was established on the ridge in 1984 on land belonging to Palestinian villages, and later joined by several outposts. The following day, settlers attacked Palestinian farmers, accused them of setting the fire, threatened them and damaged their property. State-backed settler violence has become a routine part of the occupation, leading to the increasing dispossession of Palestinians throughout the West Bank.

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Olive trees damaged in Turmusaya, 29 June 2021. Photo courtesy of grove owner
Olive trees damaged in Turmusaya, 29 June 2021. Photo courtesy of grove owner

Turmusaya, Ramallah District: Setters uproot approx. 75 trees in villager’s grove

In the morning hours of 29 June 2021, a resident of Turmusaya in Ramallah District discovered that settlers had uprooted and damaged some 75 trees in his plot on the eastern side of the village. This was the fourth settler attack in a week on residents of the Turmusaya area or on their property.

The settlement outpost of Adei Ad was established about two kilometers northeast of the grove.

A-Tuwani and al-Mufaqarah, South Hebron Hills: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Palestinians with stones and sticks and torch agricultural structure; soldiers fire live rounds and tear gas at the Palestinians

On Saturday, 26 June 2021, some 20 settlers invaded the village of a-Tuwani, stoned residents and beat some with sticks, injuring one. Soldiers then escorted the settlers to other communities. A settler fired at Palestinians and several others torched an agricultural structure of an a-Tuwani resident and damaged his olive grove. After the settlers retreated, other soldiers arrived and fired live fire and tear gas at the Palestinians and their homes. This is life for Masafer Yatta residents, whom Israel works to expel from their land.

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A tree cut down by settlers. Photo courtesy of farmers
A tree cut down by settlers. Photo courtesy of farmers

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers cut down some 60 olive trees in the groves of three farmers

On 15 June 2021, three Palestinian farmers from the village of Burin discovered that settlers had cut down about 60 olive trees in their land. The settlement of Yitzhar was established about 700 meters away from the groves.

Residents of Burin, which is hemmed in by the settlements of Yitzhar and Har Bracha, have been suffering from settler attacks for years. In the 1980s, the settlement of Yitzhar was established about a kilometer south of the village and the settlement of Har Bracha was established about a kilometer northeast of it – both on land belonging to Burin and to neighboring villages.

Olive seedlings broken by the settlers. Photo courtesy of grove owner
Olive seedlings broken by the settlers. Photo courtesy of grove owner

Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers destroy approx. 125 olive seedlings and steal farming equipment

On 28 June 2021, a village resident discovered that settlers had broken some 125 olive seedlings he was about to plant, and a number of five-year-old trees on his land south of the village. The settlers also stole power cords and a water pump from the plot.

The residents of Jalud have been suffering from repeated attacks by settlers, who assault them and damage their property.

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