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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. 

Paramedics treating Mufdi Rab’i, who was lightly injured in the head by a stone thrown by settlers. Photo by Youth of Sumud
Paramedics treating Mufdi Rab’i, who was lightly injured in the head by a stone thrown by settlers. Photo by Youth of Sumud

A-Tuwani, Masafer Yatta: Settlers stone Palestinian home, injuring resident lightly in the head

On Saturday afternoon, 24 July 2021, settlers arrived with a military escort from the direction of the Givat Ma’on outpost and stoned the home of the Rab’i family in the village. One member of the family was injured lightly in the head and was treated on the spot by a Palestinian Red Crescent crew who were called to the village. Only after village residents gathered near the home and tried to fend off the settlers by throwing stones, did the soldiers drive them away while firing tear gas at the residents.

The residents of a-Tuwani, like other communities in the Masafer Yatta area, are repeatedly attacked 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 its bid to expel them from their homes and area of residence.

Susiya, South Hebron Hills: Settlers stone shepherds on village land

On the afternoon of 22 July 2021, about six settlers stoned several Palestinians who were grazing their flocks on village land. The shepherds were forced to move away from the area, for fear they would be harmed.

The settlement of Susiya was established about 200 meters away from the pastureland of Khirbet Susiya.

The Israeli military expelled the residents of Khirbet Susiya from their village in 1986 and they relocated to their farmland. Since then, the military and the settlers have been trying to drive them out of there, too.

Jaber neighborhood, Hebron: Settlers harass residents for two days and attack them with stones and pepper spray in front of soldiers

On 9 July 2021, at around 8:30 P.M., about five teens from a settlement in Hebron entered the Jaber neighborhood in the city center. They began throwing stones at homes and pounding on doors. The teens shouted and swore at the residents in full view of soldiers, claiming stones had been thrown at them. Within minutes, they were joined by about 15 other settlers, many of them adults and at least two of them armed. The teens continued to throw stones at homes. The two armed settlers threatened resident Suzan Jaber, a volunteer with B'Tselem's camera project, who was filming the incident from her window. A police cruiser and two military jeeps arrived at the scene, but the officers and soldiers did not remove the settlers from the neighborhood or detain any of them.

At one point, five soldiers went up to the roof of Suzan Jaber's house and demanded that four members of her family, including two minors, go down to the street with them. The soldiers questioned the young Palestinians about stone-throwing and let them go after about 10 minutes. They then left the neighborhood along with the settlers.

In this incident, as in many other incidents B'Tselem has documented in Hebron and elsewhere in the West Bank, soldiers escorted violent settlers, allowed them to do as they pleased and threatened and harassed Palestinians.

In a testimony she gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari on 9 July 2021, Suzan Jaber, a mother of seven, recounted what happened that night:

Suzan Jaber
Suzan Jaber. Courtesy of witness.

On Friday, 9 July 2021, at around 8:30 P.M., I was sitting with my family on our balcony, which overlooks the street. We were eating and talking when suddenly, we heard noise and shouting outside. I quickly climbed the stairs to the roof and asked my daughter Hanin to get me my camera. When I got to the roof, I saw about five young settlers throwing stones at the neighbors' houses and pounding on the doors aggressively, including on the door of our neighbor, Wajih Jaber. There were about five soldiers on the street and they were trying to prevent the settlers from pounding on the doors, but not seriously. Instead, the soldiers prevented Wajih Jaber from reaching his house.

Meanwhile, about four young Palestinians started to verbally confront the settlers. More settlers arrived, two of them in their thirties and armed. The settlers started throwing stones in every direction, including at my house. I tried to film what was happening. The two armed settlers aimed their weapons at me. My son Ahmad pulled me inside the house, because he was afraid they'd shoot me.

A few minutes later, five soldiers came up to the roof and started accusing us of throwing stones at the settlers. I pointed to the table and told them we’d been sitting eating ice cream and hadn’t attacked anyone, and that the settlers were the ones who attacked us. One of the soldiers insisted on taking all the young guys who had been on the roof at that time down to the street. I refused at first, but my husband's cousin talked me into it. I kept on filming the soldiers while they led my sons, Muhammad (20) and Ahmad (13), and our relatives Mu'tasem (28) and Safwan (16) out to the street. The soldiers detained them there for about 10 minutes and let them go. Then the soldiers and settlers left the neighborhood.

Wajih Jaber (42), a father of seven, was out on the street when the settlers and soldiers entered the neighborhood. The soldiers prevented him from reaching his house, and a dog the settlers had with them tried to attack his wife, Ramyeh Jaber (37). In a testimony she gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, Ramyeh Jaber related:

The settlers always attack us, especially on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The last time was on the evening of 9 July 2021. My husband Wajih was on the street with his friends and I was sitting in the yard with our three little girls, who are three, five and nine. I heard shouting and noise outside, and stones started landing in our yard. I opened the front gate, which leads to the street, to see what was going on. I saw a lot of young settlers. Some of them were attacking a young guy from the neighborhood in front of about five soldiers. One of the soldiers started yelling at me to go into the house and close the door. I saw my husband about 50 meters away, trying to get to the young guy and help him, but the soldiers were holding him back. I stayed standing in the doorway and asked the soldiers to allow my husband to get home.
 
Suddenly, a giant dog attacked me. It belonged to the settlers and had no leash or muzzle. I was terrified and tried to go back, but I fell down and was badly hit in the back of my head and in my right shoulder. My girls were screaming and crying in fear. Meanwhile, my husband arrived, picked the dog up and threw him aside. Then he helped me up. My right elbow hurt a lot. The next day, the settlers attacked neighborhood homes again.
 
My shoulder and wrist still hurt, and my girls are anxious and stressed. They're afraid to sleep without me and wet the bed at night.

The following evening, 10 July 2021, at around 6:00 P.M., more than 10 teens from the settlement came to the neighborhood, escorted by about 10 soldiers. They threw stones at homes and provoked residents. Young men and teens from the neighborhood who were sitting on the street swore back at them and confronted the soldiers who were protecting the settlers.
 
That evening, at around 8:30 P.M., about five settlers entered the neighborhood, escorted by a soldier, and verbally confronted young residents. One of the settlers pepper-sprayed Muhammad al-Ja'bari (13) in the face. Some of the spray reached the face of his grandfather, Nasser al-Ja'bari (62), who was standing next to him. A military ambulance and a police cruiser arrived at the scene, and the two were given first aid. One of the officers suggested Nasser al-Ja'bari file a complaint with the police against the settler who had attacked him and his grandson, but he refused.

In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, Nasser al-Ja'bari recounted the settlers’ attack on 10 July 2021:

On Saturday, 10 July 2021, at around 8:00 P.M., I was on my way home when I saw five settlers between the ages of about 17 to 25, escorted by a soldier, harassing four or five young Palestinians from my extended family who were standing across from a barbershop opposite my house. The settlers were spitting at them. Meanwhile, more settlers arrived and a verbal argument developed. The settlers swore at the Palestinians and shouted that the houses belong to Jews, in the presence of the soldier who was with them and of several other soldiers who were on the street. When the young guys tried to respond, the soldier who was escorting the settlers cocked his weapon in their faces.

I tried to calm the guys down, because I was afraid the soldiers would shoot them. I also tried to persuade the settlers to move away. Meanwhile, my grandson Muhammad (13) arrived. Just then, one of the settlers turned around and pepper-sprayed him right in the face. I tried to protect Muhammad and some of the gas reached my face. I felt my eyes and face burning. Then a fight broke out between the young Palestinians and the settlers. The soldiers drove the Palestinians away and aimed their rifles at them. Many more settlers showed up and attacked the young guys, too. The soldiers tried to separate the guys from the settlers and moved the settlers away.

I went into a grocery store run by my brother, Bassem al-Ja'bari. My grandson Muhammad was already there. Some young guys were trying to help him and were washing his face with yogurt. A military ambulance arrived and the paramedics helped Muhammad. They put ointment on his face to ease the burning. A Red Crescent ambulance also arrived and the crew joined in the first aid. I was affected less badly than Muhammad. Meanwhile, an Israeli police car arrived and one of the officers suggested I file a complaint at an Israeli police station, but I saw no point. Settlers have attacked us dozens of times and I’ve filed complaints, all of which led to nothing. I thanked God it ended as it did. I was very scared when the soldiers, who were very agitated, pointed their weapons at the young guys. I was afraid they'd shoot them. There was no justification for the settlers' attack on the young guys. The night before, settlers had also attacked homes and passers-by in the neighborhood.

In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, neighborhood resident Muhammad al-Ja'bari (13) described the settlers’ attack on 10 July 2021:

I was sitting in my uncle's clothing store on the ground floor of our building. It’s on the main street of the neighborhood, which leads to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. I heard noises outside and went out to the street to see what was going on. I saw about six of my relatives confronting about five settlers, who had a soldier with them. I crossed the road towards them. When I got close, one of the settlers pepper-sprayed me right in the face. My face and eyes immediately started to burn. Two young Palestinians picked me up and carried me to the grocery store of another one of my uncles. My face was burning and I was crying from the pain the whole time. They put yogurt on my face. Meanwhile, my grandfather Nasser (62), who was also hit by the pepper spray, came in. The young guys in the grocery store treated him. He got less of the spray than I did. A military ambulance arrived and the paramedics sprayed something on my face that helped me. Then a Red Crescent ambulance came, too. After about two hours, I went home and changed clothes. My face and eyes are still stinging.

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.

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 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.

Routine in Hebron city center: Sexism, homophobia and harassment by settlers and soldiers: life’s routine in Hebron

Around 4:00 P.M on 13 May 2021, during 'Eid al-Fitr, about 10 settlers came up to the fence the military put up around the Palestinian neighborhood. They threw stones at Palestinian passersby on the street by the fence and at nearby homes, in full view of several soldiers who did nothing to stop them. Meanwhile, some 15 soldiers raided the Da'na family's home on the same street, claiming that a family member had thrown a stone from the roof. They searched the house, breaking a window and acting rudely. They also tried to prevent Mai Da'na, a volunteer with B'Tselem's camera distribution project who lives there, and her sister-in-law Manal al-Ja'bari, B'Tselem's field researcher in Hebron, from filming them, threatening to break the latter's camera.

After about an hour and a half, the soldiers left the house without making an arrest, and left the street without taking any action against the settlers, who continued to throw stones onto the street that same night, and throughout the following days. Settlers and soldiers also verbally harassed with homophobic and sexist slurs the Palestinians who documented their actions.

Background

The neighborhood of al-Harika is located in the southern part of Hebron’s city center (Area H2), and is home to some 3,000 Palestinians. In 1972, the settlement of Kiryat Arba was built next to the neighborhood and now has a population of about 7,000. The proximity of the settlement means that al-Harika residents suffer constant harassment by settlers, who are protected by the military. The attacks include verbal abuse, stone throwing and other forms of physical assault, and intensify on weekends and Jewish holidays.

The Palestinian neighborhood and the Israeli settlement are separated by a 1.5-kilometer-long mesh fence. Settlers routinely stand behind the fence and throw stones at four residential buildings on the other side. The buildings are home to the extended Da’na family, which has about 200 members, including some 60 children. In response, some residents from the neighborhood throw stones back. The clashes invariably end with the military coming to the aid of the settlers, hurling stun grenades and tear gas canisters at the Palestinian homes. B’Tselem has also documented past incidents of verbal sexual harassment by settlers against Palestinian residents.

In addition to the settler attacks, al-Harika’s residents suffer military raids on the neighborhood almost every day, carried out ostensibly in search of stone throwers. The soldiers throw stun grenades and tear gas canisters in the streets, and sometimes into homes as well. They stop children on the streets and interrogate them about stone throwing. Soldiers also invade homes late at night, wake up families and question children about stone throwing.

Settlers armed with clubs approaching the spot. Photo courtesy of the farmers
Settlers armed with clubs approaching the spot. Photo courtesy of the farmers

Deir Jarir, Ramallah District: Settlers graze livestock in cultivated Palestinian fields and attack farmers in the presence of soldiers

In the days preceding the fighting in Gaza in May 2021, many Palestinian farmers in the West Bank avoided going to their cultivated land or grazing their flocks in open areas due to fear of escalating settler violence.

Deir Jarir farmers have long suffered from crop damage caused by settlers who graze herds of sheep and cattle in their cultivated fields. In early April 2021, the Israeli military evacuated an outpost established by settlers near cultivated plots belonging to village residents. The settlers from the outpost kept a flock of about 200 sheep and grazed it in the Palestinian farmers’ land. Shortly after the evacuation, the settlers returned, re-established the outpost on the same site, and continued grazing their flock in the fields and groves of Deir Jarir residents.

The settlers’ flock in a cultivated Palestinian area. Photo courtesy of the farmers
The settlers’ flock in a cultivated Palestinian area. Photo courtesy of the farmers

On 30 May 2021, some 10 days after the ceasefire was declared, about 10 elderly landowners from Deir Jarir decided to go to their land to check on the crops. Upon arrival, at around 5:00 P.M., the farmers encountered two settlers grazing their flock in the groves. The landowners approached the settlers and asked them to take their flock away, but they refused. After an argument that lasted about five minutes, several soldiers arrived. The farmers asked the soldiers to help them remove the settlers and their flock.

While the farmers were talking to the soldiers, cars with dozens of masked settlers carrying clubs, iron bars, and stones drove up. The settlers attacked the farmers, who were forced to flee the scene on foot, leaving their cars behind. During the attack, a settler pepper-sprayed an 80-year-old farmer, and other settlers smashed the windshields of three of the farmers’ cars.

Only after the settlers began vandalizing the cars did the soldiers remove them from the area, and the farmers could return and take their cars away.

One of the cars vandalized by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the farmers
One of the cars vandalized by the settlers. Photo courtesy of the farmers

The settlement of Kochav Hashachar was established about two kilometers east of the land.

On 7 April 2021, B’Tselem documented a settler attack on Israeli human rights activist Rabbi Arik Ascherman after he filmed them grazing their herds in cultivated Palestinian fields, about a kilometer north of the spot where the attack mentioned above occurred.

Burin, Nablus District: Settlers stone ‘Eid family’s home for third time in seven months

On 14 May 2021, at around 5:00 P.M., about 10 settlers, some of them masked, came to the ‘Eid family’s home. Some of them threw stones at the house, breaking two security cameras mounted on it. Soldiers who were escorting them fired tear gas canisters, live bullets and rubber-coated metal bullets at residents who came to defend the house. The attack lasted until around 7:00 P.M. Five village residents were injured by live fire and eight by rubber-coated metal bullets.

B’Tselem documented two recent settler attacks on the family’s home. On 4 May 2021, settlers stoned the house and soldiers escorting them fired tear gas canisters at residents who came to defend it. The soldiers also sent up flares, which started a fire in a nearby olive grove. Village residents and Palestinian firefighters put out the fire.

About seven months earlier, on 9 October 2020, settlers threw stones at the house. Soldiers escorting them fired tear gas canisters at residents, causing a boy who inhaled the gas to faint.

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