Settlers steal from plant nursery for fifth time since it opened in 2019, a-Sawiyah, Nablus District, 27 Nov. 2020
Muhammad Mahamid (29), a father of two from a-Sawiyah, Nablus District, has a plant nursery by Route 60, at the entrance to the village. On 27 November 2020, at around 2:00 A.M., before going to bed, he checked the nursery’s security camera and saw people loading seedlings onto a car. According to Mahamid, settlers had broken into the nursery and stolen items four times prior to that, most recently in early November.
Mahamid got into his car and sped to the nursery, where he rammed into the settlers’ parked car. The settlers got out and fled towards the settlement of Rehelim, which lies about a kilometer and a half from the nursery.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Mahamid described the night of the last break-in:
While I was getting ready to go to bed, I checked the nursery’s security cameras on my mobile phone. I was shocked when I saw people loading seedlings onto a car! I went crazy.
I couldn’t bear the thought of the theft. It wasn’t the first time settlers broke into the nursery. I ran out in shorts, and my wife came after me and handed me long pants. I put them on in the car, because I wanted to catch the thieves this time or else I’d go mad. I drove quickly and got to the nursery in three minutes.
Their car was still parked by the entrance. All I wanted was to catch them, so I ran into their car – so that they couldn’t get away. My head hit the steering wheel and I couldn’t see anything, but I still got out of the car and tried to catch them. Unfortunately, they managed to run towards the settlement of Rehelim, which is about a kilometer and a half from there.
Mahamid called the Israel Police and about 15 minutes later, police officers arrived along with 10 military jeeps. They photographed the scene and collected the settlers’ fingerprints. A few hours later, the officers drove Mahamid to the Ariel police station, where he gave a statement and was released.
In his testimony, Mahamid added:
The last theft, on November 1, ruined me. They weren’t content with stealing from the nursery itself but stole the entire contents of my store – including drinks, chocolate, cigarettes and ice cream.
I can’t take anymore losses. I want to live, make a living and support my family. I don’t want trouble with anyone – Palestinians or settlers. I wasn’t looking to confront them, but I had no choice because it’s my property, which is my family’s only source of income.