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Israeli Settlers’ Violence Report – September and October 2010
By Ahmad Jaradat, Alicia Isani
Alternative Information Center (AIC)


The following report highlights a drastic change in Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, not only because of the increasing number of aggressions but also because of the evolution of the violence itself.

In September and October 2009, only a few aggressions against Palestinian farmers – related to harvest, land and farming equipment – were reported. Yet approximately 22 incidents of this kind were reported this year for the same period. Even if this time of year is particularly violent in the West Bank due to the olive harvesting season, other notable changes can be observed this year.

One explanation for the violent evolution that took place over the past two months is the end of Israel’s ten month partial settlement freeze on 26 September 2010. On 26 September, settlers and their supporters publicly celebrated the beginning of a new wave of illegal construction in the West Bank, a celebration they had been preparing since the beginning of September. The month of October was thus particularly characterized by a new wave of violence, land grabbing and destruction due to the construction of new outposts and the expansion of existing settlements. This decision – along with the inability of international leaders to force Israel to apply a new settlement freeze so that negotiations could continue – was largely perceived by the settlers and their leaders as recognition of their presence in the West Bank and as encouragement to go ahead with their colonization. According to a report written by the Israeli organization Peace Now, 1,126 construction sites have been opened in the West Bank since the end of the settlement freeze.

This report highlights three worrying phenomena related to the strengthening of the settlers and to the tacit recognition of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, as well as to the settlers’ violence against Palestinians.

First, these last two months have been characterized by an expansion of the geographical area in which violent settler attacks took place. For example the Jericho District, generally spared from settler attacks, was targeted twice in two months.

Second, there is increasing cooperation between settlers and the Israeli army. The end of the settlement freeze has indeed led to army intervention and participation in building, including helping to bulldoze targeted Palestinian lands.

Last, but unfortunately not least, settlers have demonstrated increasing organization in their actions. In the same area, on the same day, different sites have been attacked in the same manner, as can be seen throughout this report. More demonstrations of violence have also been witnessed through these last two months, from important groups of settlers gathering with a common agreement for a shared and coordinated attack.

As you will see throughout this report, the settlers` recent attacks took place almost on a daily basis, especially in the northern West Bank. As they grow more organized, spread across the West Bank and are supported by the army, the Israeli settler violence against the Palestinians reach a worrying threshold.

* * *

Hebron district and the southern West Bank

September 20 – Settlers from Kiryat Arba and Giv’at Kharsena settlements (north-east of Hebron) cut down 100 grape trees in Al-Bowaira. The trees belonged to farmer Abed Elrahman Shareef Sultan. Sultan told the AIC that six dunams of 15-year-old grape trees were completely damaged. This area is well known for being targeted by settlers in an attempt to annex it to the settlement. Many international and local committees are committed to protest actions to prevent the settlers from taking this land.

This case was reported to the Israeli police station in the old city of Hebron. The Israeli police came and took a report of the aggression.

September 22 – Settlers attacked Palestinian children on their way to the Ibrahimiya school (downtown Hebron), justifying their action by saying that these pupils attacked settler children first. Afterward, witnesses said that around 200 soldiers encircled the school and arrested two children.

September 26 – Dozens of settlers from the region of Hebron celebrated the beginning of the construction of a new kindergarten. This building is situated near the Avraham Avino outpost, in downtown Hebron. Settlers were also seen at the entrance to Palestinian villages and towns in the southern Hebron district, preventing children and students from going to school.

September 29 – Five settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement (east Hebron), beat and threw stones at Baha’ Jawdat Al-Ja’bai, eight years old, while he was returning home through this part of the city. According to his father, Jawdat Al-Ja`bari, the child was injured on his hands, chest, and torso, and was taken to the hospital to check for internal bleeding. His father registered a complaint at the Israeli police station in Hebron.

October 2 – During the evening hours, Sameer Abu Mariyya, 24 years old, from the town of Bait Ummar in the northern Hebron District, was injured when a settler hit him with his car. He was taken to Hebron`s hospital for treatment. The settler ran away without providing any assistance. Medical sources reported that his life was not in danger.

October 4 – Settlers set the Al-Anbiya Mosque in Beit Fajjar on fire. Slogans were also written in Hebrew on the walls. An eyewitness reported that the settlers left the area in a white car bearing an Israeli license plate and headed in the direction of the Etzion junction. 15 copies of the Quran were apparently burnt and the pillars inside the mosque collapsed. The event was reported to the Israeli police, who publicly declared that an investigation was underway.

October 8 – A settler from the north of Hebron shot a Palestinian resident, Ibrahim Muhammad Sharif Basal. He was hospitalized and medical sources indicate that his condition was stable.

October 10 – Dozens of settlers from Neve Daniel and other settlements south of the Al-Khader village (Bethlehem district) began building a new outpost close to Neve Daniel. The settlers gathered in the morning and started to level the land with bulldozers. This land was already targeted by settlers before Israel’s decision to partially freeze settlement construction (November 2009), but the decision stopped their work. They re-started construction one week after the end of the settlement freeze, on 26 September 2010. The 20 dunams of land, where grape trees are planted, belong to Al-Khader village families, in particular to the Salah family.

October 12 – Israeli bulldozers started working and damaging the land close to the Karmei Tzur settlement in the north of Halhoul. This land, approximately 15 dunams, belongs to families from Halhoul and Bait Ommar. Sa’eed Madya, an activist from the Committee against Settlements in Halhoul, declared: “The settlement is located very close to both towns, and over time it expanded onto our land, which is surrounded by more and more fences such that it became easier for the settlers to confiscate it. We face aggressions when we go there, despite the presence of the army.”

October 17 – The settlers from Kfar Etzion (north of Hebron District), opened the pipes of a drip basin for sewage over the agricultural land belonging to the Sabarna families from Bait Ommar. According to local sources and local farmers, dozens of dunams planted with grapes were flooded by sewage. A municipality representative declared that “it is not the first time such aggression happens. The settlers regularly do this, especially in summer. The land which was targeted here is located in the southern valleys, near the settlement.` The spokesperson of the Palestinian Solidarity Project in Bait Ommar, Mohammed Awad, said that in addition to flooding of the land by sewage, the settlers also damaged a bulldozer belonging to Omar Awad.

October 17 – Settlers from Giv’at Kharsina, with the help of the army, bulldozed more than five dunams of cultivated land in the Al-Bowaira area (north-west of the settlement). This area has been one of the most targeted places by settlers during the last year. The settlers want to confiscate it in order to expand the settlement.

October 19 – The settlers from Beitar Illit (west of Bethlehem) set fire to around ten dunams belonging to Mohammed Hilmi Darweesh, Ismaeal Jamil Shaheen, Ibraheem Hafee Hamamreh, Hilmi Abed- Elfattah Darweesh and Lafi Nimer Shosha from the Husan village. The farmers went directly to the land (west of Husan) and put out the fire.

October 19 – Ra’fat Ibraheem Salman, 25 years old, from Takou’ village (south-east of Bethlehem), was seriously injured when a settler hit him with his car. The incident happened while Salman was walking on the main road of the village, which is also used by settlers. The settler escaped without providing any help. The Israeli army came and took Salman to Hadassah Hospital, in Jerusalem.

October 21 – Settlers from the southern part of the Bethlehem district, especially from the settlement of Neve Daniel, built new houses close to the outpost of Bait Ha’een on land belonging to families of the Al-Khader village. These new houses were destroyed a week ago by the army but the settlers renovated them. According to Israeli sources, the aim is to build a new outpost.

Nablus District and the northern West Bank

September 2 – Dozens of settlers gathered in the evening on the road to Jericho, stood at the main entrances of the city and threw stones. As a result, many Palestinians` cars were stoned and the road was closed for three hours. Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers came but didn’t stop the settler aggressions. On the contrary, they forced the Palestinians to leave the road.

September 3 – Samih Ayyoub and Moammar Jaber from Jensafout village were attacked by settlers while they were traveling to Ramallah. On the main road, near the Shilo settlement, groups of settlers threw stones at their car breaking the windows.

September 7 – At midday, an armed settler from Giv’at Gil’ad in the Qalqilya District stopped on the main road and threatened Palestinian drivers. Eyewitnesses said that “a settler`s car, a Subaru, stopped on the road. An armed settler came out and asked the Palestinian drivers to stop while he was pointing his machine gun at them. Some drivers escaped and informed the army about the event. The army came and asked him to leave.”

September 13 – Around 20 settlers, in cooperation with the army, entered the site called “Ain Elsha’ra” where a water spring is located. This water spring belongs to the Madama village (south of Nablus). The settlers closed the main road leading to the place and threw stones in the spring. The local council of Madama declared: “This area is targeted from time to time by settlers who claim that the site is holy for Jews. The settlers regularly come and conduct religious celebrations there. At the same time they were damaging the water spring, they attacked the trees and closed the area. The water spring is important for the life of village, providing water for farming activities and also for home consumption when the other sources are drying up, especially in summer.”

September 14 – In the morning, settlers began actions against the Palestinians and their land in the Nablus district, especially in the south of the district. In the early morning they burnt a car belonging to Daoud Husain Safad I from Oreef village. The car was completely destroyed. The settlers came from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. The car was a Subaru and was parked near the house when the settlers burnt it. According to Chairman of the Local Council, Fawzee Shihada, “They tried to expand the fire but residents confronted them and forced the settlers to leave the village.” In addition, other settlers from the Shilo settlement started to bulldoze land close to the settlement. The land belongs to farmers from the Doma and El-Moghaeer villages. The settlers damaged around 20 dunams. Another group of settlers entered the land belonging to farmers from the Karyout village to take measurements. According to Ghassan Doglos, the Director of the Settlement File in the northern West Bank, it appears the settlers want to confiscate and take over the land, which measures about 15 dunams and is planted with olive trees.

September 15 – The settlers from the outpost of Giv’at Horo’eh added two mobile houses to the outpost. According to Kamal Shabana, a member of the Farmers` Committee in the village of Sinjel, “The outpost is composed of 14 houses, and located in the north of the village. By adding more houses it means that they want to expand it, which means more land confiscation around it.”

September 20 – Dozens of settlers from settlements in the northern West Bank began harvesting Palestinian olive trees in three different places. First, settlers from the Yitzhar settlement (south of Nablus District) harvested trees belonging to farmers from the nearby village of Boreen. Second, settlers from the Ramat Ji’ad settlement harvested trees belonging to families from Jensafout village (between Nablus and Qalqilya Districts). Third, settlers from the Giv’at Gi’ad settlement harvested trees belonging to the village of Fara’ta (Qalqilya district). Confrontations took place between the farmers and the settlers, especially in Boreen. The army, which came later, asked the settlers to leave but they also allowed them to take the olives they had already harvested.

September 26 – More than 2500 settlers from many settlements in the West Bank and their supporters, including several Israeli Knesset members and party leaders, gathered in the settlement of Rafaf in the northern West Bank to celebrate the official end of the partial settlement freeze. Many roads were closed by the settlers, preventing the Palestinians from using them during the day. Some settlers were reported throwing stones in the area. 2,000 balloons were released by the settlers, representing the 2,000 houses they were planning to build on Palestinian lands during the following week.

September 28 – In the morning, four Israeli settlers attacked several locations in the village of Qaryut, south of Nablus and broke into some houses, local sources reported. Residents of the nearby Sara village told media that they saw settlers riding horses and carrying blades and clubs, and heading to Qaryut. The residents said that the settlers threatened to kill them all. Abu Bashar, resident of the Sara village, said that settlers broke into two houses, although some village youth clashed with them and forced them to leave. Najla`a Abdelfattah told media sources that three settlers broke into her house and threatened her.

Also near the northern city of Nablus, another group of settlers trespassed into the olive orchards in the village of Awarta and stole olives. The villagers told media sources that the settlers came from the nearby settlement of Yitzahar, adding that this is not the first time the settlers have invaded the fields and stolen olives.

September 29 – In the evening, Mohmoud Mohammed Al-Haj Jom’a, 32 years old, resident of Nablus, was injured when a settler hit him with his car to the east of Qalqilya. He was taken to Dr. Nazzal Hospital in Nablus. Jom’a said, “While I was standing on the side of the main road to the east of Qalqilya, waiting for a shared taxi to go home to Nablus, a settler car came from the Tzofin settlement. The driver directed the car at me and ran away quickly.” According to medical sources, his right leg and chest were injured; his life isn`t in danger.

September 30 – The settlers distributed flyers calling for an action to destroy the mosque of Boreen (south of Nablus). The mosque is still under construction. The flyers were distributed along the roads leading to the village, in two languages: Arabic and Hebrew. The residents of the village think that the settlers are from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar, The mosque has been targeted many times before by settlers (see previous AIC reports).

October 1 – In the afternoon, the settlement security guards from the Itamar settlement in the southern Nablus district set fire to land cultivated with olive trees in the Awarta village. An eyewitness, No’man Shafeeq Awwad, 40 years old, declared: “the settlement’s security green-colored Jeep is known to be used by the settlements` security guards. The Jeep stopped in Al-Bayada, a site located close to the settlement. The security guard went out of the car and burnt the trees. I directly called the Chairman of the Local Council in my village, who called the fire brigade. They came and stopped the fire. Around ten dunams were burnt”.

October 6 – Dozens of settlers cut and uprooted around 50 olive trees in the Al-Naqqara area (west of Hawwara village, south of Nablus). According to the Settlements File in the northern West Bank, a majority of settlers came from the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. The trees belong to Najeh Issa Mohammed Odah Hawwara. The same day, settlers damaged 16 olive trees near the village of Yanoon (south of Nablus). The Chairman of the Local Council, Rashed Morrar, declared: “The farmers saw settlers` cars coming to the land from the Jad’eneen settlement, which is located at the west of the village, and the settlers damaged the trees. The settlers then harvested other trees in the area … The settlers started to build a new road to link the settlement from the east side with the main road. This means that tens of cultivated dunams of land will be confiscated for construction of the road.”

October 7 – Settlers from the Yitzhar settlement (south of Nablus) set tens of dunams of olive trees on fire in the area of Altereh. These trees belong to the Hawwarah village. The event happened around midday, when the farmers came to harvest. The settlers stopped and forced them to leave the land before setting the trees on fire.

October 7 - The settlers from the settlement of Mechola in the northern valley started to expand the settlement to the west. According to eyewitnesses, at least three new mobile houses were brought in. This settlement is one of the biggest agricultural settlements in the West Bank.

October 12 – Israeli military bulldozers started to damage and level Palestinian lands near the settlement of Alei, south of Nablus. The land belongs to families from the Alloban, Alsawiya and Karyout villages. The land is located between the settlement and the outpost of Hufil. According to the Settlement File in the northern West Bank, the settlers` objective is clearly to connect the settlements by a new road. Construction of such a road implies confiscation of dozens of dunams of land and the isolation of hundreds of others.

October 13 – Around 50 settlers from the Yitzhar settlement set fire to tens of dunams planted with olive trees in the Al-Mayadeen area (south of Boreen village). The event happened around midday. The settlers also attacked farmers and stole already harvested crops. Farmer Nimer Al-Tirawi, 18 years old, said, “The settlers entered the area and they immediately burnt the trees. Then they attacked us with stones and threatened us with machine guns. They continued for about one hour until the Israeli army came and stopped them.` Tirawi added that, “this is not the first time that they attack us here. Last year, they burnt 40 dunams of my land, and several hundred others belonging to many other farmers from my village.`

October 15 – A group of settlers from the outpost of Giv’at Gil’ad (east of Qalqilya) set fire to 30 dunams of olive trees belonging to Far’ta village. The settlers and the army delayed the firemen, worsening the damages. A great number of the Palestinians were at the mosque, as the event happened during the Friday prayer.

October 15 – Armed settlers from Alon Moreh in Nablus District set fire to a land in Azmout village, close to the settlement, while farmers were harvesting olive trees. The farmers were thus forced to leave the land. The same day, other fires were set by settlers in Tal, Sorra and Jitt villages. According to local sources, in the northern West Bank around 45 dunams of land were burnt.

October 16 – Three settlers from Migdalim settlement entered the village of Qasra (southern Nablus district), around midnight, burning two cars. The settlers left the village when its inhabitants started to gather to confront the settlers. The cars belonged to the Akel family and were both parked near their house. The settlers wrote “Death for you” on the doors of the shop belonging to Akel family. According to Iyman Akel, the owner of the cars, the settlers came in a Peugeot registered in Israel (yellow license plate). The event was reported to the Palestinian police.

October 19 – Dozens of settlers, some of them armed, from many settlements in the southern part of Nablus District, attacked the farmers from Boreen village (south of the district), and forced them to leave the land while they were harvesting olive trees. Injuries occurred as the farmers tried to stop the settlers. Farmer Moneer Qados was injured on the head by a stone thrown by a settler. He was taken to Nablus` hospital. The settlers took the olives harvested. Israeli soldiers intervened and arrested Ismael Qados, a Palestinian farmer. The settlers left without being charged.

October 19 – Settlers from the south of Nablus entered the village of Al-Sawiya. They entered the Secondary School for Girls and set its library on fire, and damaged tables, chairs, sport equipments and other materials belonging to the school. The book store burnt entirely. The settlers also wrote on the walls slogans like “Peace from the top of the Hills” referring to the settlements, mostly situated on hilltops. The Israeli army came to the school and reported the attack. The Headmaster of the school, Maisoon Sawalha, commented the event saying that, “this is not the first time settlers do such actions. It happened many times before. Last year, armed settlers entered the school while the pupils were studying and set fire.` Sawalha called on human rights organizations and the international community, asking for more efforts to protect the educational institutions and freedom of education from settlers` attacks.

October 21 – Early morning, dozens of settlers entered the village of Kofer Qaddom (east of Qalqilya) and wrote racist slogans on the walls. They then gathered near the northern mountain until midday, forcing the villagers to stay home and preventing them from going to work. Some of them were armed.

October 21 – Settlers from Areal settlement (Salfit District) harvested hundreds of olive trees on a land close to the settlement. The trees belong to families from Kofel Hares village. The settlers kept harvesting throughout the whole day.

October 23 – Settlers from Ma’ale Labona and A’ili (west of Nablus District), cut and damaged 40 olive trees belonging to families from the village of Alloban Al-Sharqiyya (south-west of Nablus). One of the owners the trees, Akram Jameel Owais comments: “When we went to the field to harvest the olive trees, we found that 40 trees had been mechanically damaged. The land is close to Ma’ali Loboneh. We directly informed the Israeli Army of the event. The settlers aimed at this area many times during the last years, and mostly when we were there, the settlers used to come and threaten us. We know that they want to annex it to the settlement.`

October 30 – Settlers from Shvut Rachel south of Nablus District added 12 mobile houses to the settlement with the help of the army. The houses were built on the land that was leveled one week ago by settlers, again with the help of the army. This 15 dunams of land belongs to families from the nearby village of Jaloud.

October 31 – The settlers from Maswu’a, Jericho District, built a fence on ten dunums of land belonging to farmers from Jeftlik village. One of the owners, Shehda Mohammed Du’iais, commented on the aggression saying, “When we went to remove the fences, the Israeli soldiers came and threatened us. We were even attacked and some international activists came to help us.” The soldiers arrested a Spanish woman and Omar Mohammed Du’ais, a 52-year-old farmer, whose land is located to the east of the settlement; land which has been targeted by settlers for a long time. The settlers claim this land is part of the settlement. The last attack occurred despite a decision made by the Israeli court confirming that this land belongs to the villagers. The action took place with full cooperation of the settlers and the army. While the settlers were setting the fence the army seized the village and asked its inhabitants not to leave.

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