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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.

Spikes scattered by settlers on Musa’s plot. Photo courtesy of landowner
Spikes scattered by settlers on Musa’s plot. Photo courtesy of landowner

Qaryut, Nablus District: Settlers scatter spikes on land of villager, puncturing his car

On 30 July 2021, while Rami Musa (40) was driving his car in his plot, one of his car tires was punctured by spikes settlers had scattered there.  

The settlement of Shvut Rachel was established about a kilometer away from Musa’s plot. On 6 June 2021, settlers broke about 80 three-year-old olive and other fruit trees seedlings in his land.

B’Tselem has documented other cases in which settlers scattered spikes to damage Palestinian vehicles. 

One of the cars whose window was smashed by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the lot owner.
One of the cars whose window was smashed by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the lot owner.

Huwarah, Nablus District: Settlers smash the windows of seven cars in car dealership lot

On 6 June 2021, settlers invaded a car dealership lot by Route 555 north of the town, smashed the windows of seven cars and damaged chassis. The lot owner estimates the damage at tens of thousands of shekels.

The settlement outpost of Givat Sneh Ya’akov was established about a kilometer north of the lot, and the settlement of Yitzhar was established about a 1.5 kilometers to the west.

Burned machines in the stone mill. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 25 July 2021
Burned machines in the stone mill. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 25 July 2021

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.

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.

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.

Shilo Junction (Route 60), Ramallah District: Settlers stone Palestinian car, injuring passenger

On the night of 3 May 2021, about 15 settlers stoned a car that was driving through the intersection by the settlement of Shilo, on Route 60. The stones shattered the windshield, a window and a headlight, and hit a resident (60) of a-Lubban a-Sharqiyah who was traveling in the car with her husband (73).

The injured woman was taken to hospital in Ramallah, where she was diagnosed with bruising and discharged.

Window in Qusrah home shattered by settlers. Photo courtesy of the residents
Window in Qusrah home shattered by settlers. Photo courtesy of the residents

Qusrah and Jalud, Nablus District: Settlers escorted by soldiers attack Palestinian homes and cars. Soldiers arrest Jalud residents throwing stones to drive settlers away, on grounds that a stone hit a soldier

On the night of 2 May 2021, dozens of settlers, escorted by soldiers, attacked the eastern neighborhood of the village of Jalud, throwing stones at homes and at parked cars. They shattered the windows of three cars. After residents came out to defend their homes and tried to drive the settlers away by throwing stones, soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas canisters at them. Security forces arrested 11 village residents on the pretext that a stone had hit one of the soldiers. The detainees were held overnight at the Binyamin police station and released the following evening.

Later on the same night, settlers attacked the southeastern neighborhood of the nearby village of Qusrah. They hurled stones at homes and in one, shattered several windows, damaged seedlings in the garden and broke the outdoor lighting.

Residents of Jalud and Qusrah have been suffering from repeated settler attacks for years. The settlement outposts of Ahiya and Esh Kodesh were established near the two villages.

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