Palestinians report vandalism, settler attack in northern West Bank village

Residents of Burin say extremists destroyed olive trees, assaulted homes with rocks

A destroyed olive tree near the northern West Bank village of Burin (Courtesy Yesh Din)
A destroyed olive tree near the northern West Bank village of Burin (Courtesy Yesh Din)

Residents of the West Bank village of Burin reported two attacks on their community by extremist settlers on Saturday.

Palestinians from the village, located southwest of Nablus, told the Yesh Din rights group that in the morning they discovered that 18 olive trees had been vandalized on their lands. Photos showed damage to several trees.

In the afternoon, video released by Yesh Din showed a group of around 30 settlers approach the village from the direction of the Givat Ronen outpost and hurl rocks at homes.

Yesh Din said soldiers at the scene did nothing to stop the attacks. There were no reported casualties.

One family told the rights group it was terrified as dozens of rocks hit its home.

The area saw similar alleged hate crimes against Palestinians last month.

On August 17 Palestinians in the nearby West Bank villages of Arraba and Luban a-Sharqiya woke up to find some 300 and 70 olive trees, respectively, uprooted, B’Tselem said.

Israelis also allegedly hurled stones at several Palestinian vehicles near the Yitzhar settlement and torched a tractor in the nearby village of Urif.

The reported attacks came following the death of an Israeli woman, 42-year-old Hava Roizen, in what was initially suspected to be a car-ramming attack but was later believed to have been a hit-and-run.

A similar crime was reported on August 18 in Ras Karkar near Ramallah, according to B’Tselem, where 74 olive trees were cut down, a water well was damaged, and Hebrew hate slogans were found at the scene. In another suspected retaliatory hate crime, the tires of 15 vehicles were punctured in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, a NGO based in the city said.

“Price tag” hate graffiti scrawled near the West Bank village of Ras Karkar, August 19, 2018. (Iyad Haddad/B’Tselem)

Graffiti was also found on a wall in Issawiya reading, “Jerusalem Arabs are terrorists, Havat Gilad,” according to the left-wing Ir Amim organization.

The graffiti was apparently in reference to the Havat Gilad settlement outpost in the northern West Bank, near where Roizen was killed.

Jewish extremists have regularly carried out so-called “price tag” attacks following Palestinian violence or state demolition of illegal settlement homes in the West Bank.

Palestinian olive groves, mosques, and churches have been targeted by far-right vandals in recent years, as have dovish Israeli rights groups and even Israeli military bases.

Police have opened probes into dozens of hate crime attacks believed to have been perpetrated by Israeli settlers in recent months. While a number of arrests have been made, the only suspects that had been behind bars for the crimes were released last week without any charges filed.

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