Mahmoud Nasser Asaus (17) and Magdi Loai Najjar (24) were arrested last night by Israeli forces in the village of Burin and are now being held in Kishon Interrogation Centre in Haifa. Residents of Burin suspect this is the start of a wave of arrests following the Al-Manatir protest that took place In Burin at the beginning of February.
Several jeeps entered Burin at around 2.30am to raid Mahmoud and Magdi’s houses, taking them, handcuffed and blindfolded, to Huwwara military base. At 7am this morning they were transferred to Kishon Interrogation Centre where they are still being held.
These arrests come after the neighbourhood of Al-Manatir was established on a village’s hilltop threatened with confiscation by Israeli settlers. The protest camp was aimed at denouncing Israel’s grab of Burin’s land and to recover the hilltop which has been inaccessible for residents of Burin since 2007.
However, the neighbourhood of Al-Manatir, made up of metal huts and tents, was violently evicted by Israeli soldiers and border police on the same day it was established. Israeli forces protected and accompanied settlers from the nearby settlements of Bracha and Yitzhar; while they were stealing metal huts and throwing stones at Palestinian activists. Simultaneously, around twenty settlers attacked several Palestinian homes on the outskirts of Burin and chopped down one hundred olive trees. When Palestinians ran to the area to defend their homes, stone throwing between settlers and Palestinians ensued. Zakaria Najjar (17), was shot in the right leg with live ammunition by a settler.
During the eviction, eight people were arrested and three of them remained in Israeli prison for twelve days, finally being released without charges. Further reprisals took place in Burin the days following Al-Manatir. Ghassan (23) and Mohammed (19) Najjar were arrested for several hours and interrogated about the protest camp. In addition, the village was sealed off by military checkpoints. The hilltop continues to be inaccessible for residents of Burin.
Following last night’s arrests there have been further incursions into the centre of Burin today. The Israeli army again tried to raid the village resulting in confrontations that began at around midday. Tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets were fired directly into the gathering crowd; as yet no serious injuries have been reported. A further arrest was made by the Israeli authorities, Bahar Adnan Imran who is just 14 years old.
- Israeli troops force out 200 from camp (morningstaronline.co.uk)
- Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinian Shepherds In Nablus, Hebron (imemc.org)
Eighteen Palestinian-owned olive trees were destroyed by settlers in the village of Burin, near Nablus, when settlers attacked the Palestinian land Tuesday 4 September 2012. Burin, located in the northern West Bank, comes under frequent attack from the settlements of Yitzhar and Bracha that encircle the village.
Under the cover of dark, settlers from Yitzhar entered the olive grove of the Nasser Qadous family and began cutting the branches from his trees. This is not the first attack on his land. Two years ago the settlers burned his land, which consists of 5 dunums. The following morning Nasser Qadous arrived in the olive grove and found all his olive trees destroyed. After one hour the Israeli army, police, and The District Coordination Office (DCO) arrived at his land. They spoke with Nasser but he says that they have taken no action to find those responsible.
Located seven kilometers southwest of Nablus, Burin is the home to 3000 residents. From every position within the village you can see evidence of the Zionist occupation. Three of the most volatile settlements within the West Bank, Yitzhar, Bracha and Givat Arous reside on the hilltops of Burin. Yitzhar is the largest of the three settlements and was founded in 1984. Yitzhar consists of 1233 dunams and according to Peace Now, 35 per cent of the land is privately owned Palestinian land. The villagers in Burin are predominantly farmers and the fields that surround the village full of olives trees are testament to this. However, the land has been under threat since the start if the occupation in 1967.
Yitzhar settlement is notorious for its fanatically ideological residents, the violence they inflict on neighboring Palestinian communities, and the extremist doctrines they espouse. Settlers have frequently launched attacks with rocks, knives, guns and arson on Palestinian families and property in the area. In one of the most extreme act of terrorism students of the Yitzhar Od Yosef Hai yeshiva fired homemade rockets on Burin in 2008.
Despite West Banks settlements’ status as illegal under international law, Yitzhar was included in the Israeli governments’ recent “national priority map” as one of the settlements earmarked for financial support. Construction has continued unabated in both Yitzhar and Bracha. Yitzhar and Bracha also receives significant funding from American donations, tax-deductible under U.S. government tax breaks for ‘charitable’ institutions.
- One year after killings: Iraq Burin continues its struggle (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Sleepless nights in Burin (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- 8 injured as settlers stone bus carrying worshipers (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Settlers of notorious illegal Yitzhar settlement destroy olive trees in Nablus village (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Terrorist set fire to around 130 olive trees in a northern West Bank village (windowintopalestine.blogspot.com)
Urif is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate of the northern occupied West Bank, located thirteen kilometres South of Nablus. The town has a population of just under 3000 inhabitants and is overlooked by the illegal Israeli colony of Yitzhar. Last week on Sunday, April 22, Urif’s boys school was attacked by mask-wearing settlers supported by four Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers who used tear-gas, sound bombs, and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian children.
The settlers were led by the head of security for the Yitzhar colony, a man suspected in the murder of a resident of Urif in 2004, a murder that nobody has yet been charged with. He continues to lead brutal assaults against the civilian population of six Palestinian towns in the lands surrounding Yitzhar: Burin, Huwara, Madma, Assria Al-Kalibya, Ein Nabous, and Urif.
The attack began when the Yitzhar head of security and a number of masked settlers approached the school from an overlooking hill. “The children were sitting their mock exams,” said Arif, a member of the local popular committee, “the settlers used foul language and began throwing stones at the windows of the school.”
The settlers were soon joined by four uniformed IOF soldiers who did nothing to stop the abuse and stones hurled towards the school.
“When the army came they were supposed to stop the settlers coming to the school, in fact the opposite happened, there was chaos,” said Arif. A number of Palestinian youth approached the armed Israeli settlers and soldiers on the hill, using stones to resist the attack. The IOF soldiers then threw tear gas canisters down towards them and the school. One canister landed on the roof where a member of the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, Adil Safadi, was filming the attack.
Following the attack teachers from the school collected sixty tear gas canisters, a number of sound grenades, and at least thirty rounds of live ammunition fired directly over their heads.
In the video of the incident wherein International Solidarity Movement (ISM) volunteers are shown, the screams of the children and the loud report of an assault rifle being fired in fully automatic mode can clearly be heard. At one point an IOF soldier took aim with his M16 directly at a Palestinian youth out of camera shot. The sustained assault lasted for around an hour before the settlers decided to leave with their IOF minders in tow.
Whilst some children hid in their classrooms during the attack under the watchful eye of their teachers, many rushed to their homes and were exposed to large amounts of tear-gas and required medical attention. The children of Urif’s boys school, aged between 13 and 18, have been subjected to this kind of brutality on a regular basis since the founding of the school which sits on the outskirts of the village and is thus vulnerable to these kind of attacks. Many of the older kids that attend the school were in the process of studying for their year final examinations which take place in early May.
“You can’t imagine the loss we have suffered as a result of this settlement,” says Arif, “we would like to live in peace and prosperity, but that is something we cannot gain. The settlers are very aggressive, there is no word in the dictionary to describe them.”
This is not the first time the settlers, supported by the military, have attacked the school. Roughly one year ago they attempted and failed to burn it down. ISM was shown pictures depicting the charred remains of one classroom that was severely damaged during the attack.
Incursions from Yitzhar into Urif and Surrounding Villages
Arif and members of Urif municipality informed ISM of the following.
The illegal colony of Yitzhar was founded in 1984. It was not until the beginning of 2000 that it began to aggressively expand into the surrounding Palestinian lands. Yitzhar illegally annexed vast swaths of land and barred access to the Palestinian farmers, shepherds, and villagers that have lived and worked the land for countless generations.
The village of Urif is a mere 1500 meters away from the Israeli colony, and since 2000, over 2200 dunams have been stolen by the nearby settlement. In addition, four thousand olive trees cultivated by the village have been uprooted or burnt by settlers in the past four years.
The villagers of Urif have no access to running water, instead they rely on a small number of ancient wells. Two years ago, members of the village were dismayed to find tear gas canisters had been dropped into one of the wells by unknown settlers, poisoning the water supply.
Any attempt to expand infrastructure in the village is also met with settler attacks. ISM volunteers were shown the remains of a house that had been under construction before it was attacked and completely dismantled.
“Late at night they launch attacks on the residents in this area,” said Arif, pointing to the rubble strewn skeleton of the destroyed house. A tractor and a number of cars belonging to residents of the village had also been destroyed in a series of recent arson attacks.
Settlers have shot through the windows of a number of the homes. Graffiti reading ‘revenge’ in Hebrew was scrawled across one residents house. The widespread attacks of agricultural land has lead to a vast “wasteland” between the outskirts of Urif and Yitzhar. Hundreds of goats, sheep, and a few horses have been stolen.
This is not to mention the violence towards the villagers themselves. Arif reports that hundreds of villagers have been injured since 2000, with as many as 40 serious injuries (many of which were gunshot wounds) and one murder.
The combined effects of this systematic assault on Urif residents’ way of life, economy, and civil society is akin to a form of ethnic cleansing. One of the most stark indicators of the impact of the measures taken against the village of Urif by Yitzhar settlement is that unemployment is as high as 40%. Many people simply cannot survive under these conditions and are thus forced to abandon the village of their birth, leaving behind their friends, family, and identity.
- Jewish settlers attack village, block Nablus road (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Impunity Under the Law: Settler attack in Jabari neighborhood (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli settlers injure three Palestinians, uproot dozens of olive trees in two separate incidents (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian man Fadi Zaitoun killed in a chase by extremist settlers (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- International activists assaulted by extreme settlers in Al Khalil (alethonews.wordpress.com)