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Burin: A Beleaguered Village

A task of the MPT spring team was to gather information about the areas where the future teams will be working. This week an MPTer and Zakiraya, our Palestinian contact here, visited three villages near Huwwara that have ongoing problems from the illegal Israeli settlements and consequently the Israeli occupation army.

The map below is helpful in understanding the situation. The map covers a small area, e.g. from Huwwara to Nablus is about 5 miles. Although there is no scale, the map appears to cover an area of 15 -30 miles. The illegal Israeli settlement of Barakha, (UN map Barcha) (established in 1987) is southwest of Nablus and northwest of Huwwara. A bit south of Barakha is Yitzhar settlement (established in 1984). The Palestinian village of Burin, sandwiched between these two settlements, has suffered numerous attacks by residents of the settlements. Villagers have been shot at by settlers, been beaten, had their animals stolen, had olive groves and wheat crops burned.


Israeli peace activists and internationals came to assist the Burin villagers in the fall 2008 during the olive harvest. Yet, in October 2008, acres of olive groves were burned in what appeared to be arson by Israeli settlers. In one case, tarps, buckets, and ladders were burned. In the past eight months, thousands of olive and citrus trees have been burned in Burin. The Israeli army blocked the Palestinians fire trucks, supporting the settlement actions. [For further detail on settler attacks visit:

Ali Eid - Head of the Burin Village Council

The head of the Burin Village Council Ali Eid told the MPTer of the past problems with settlers. He said that the village had demonstrations every Friday during April 2009 to protest the settlers plowing on land confiscated from the village and ongoing attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers in their village. Ali Eid stated that the head of the DCO (Israeli army District Coordinating Office] threatened to arrest and kill him. The Israeli army has thrown gas bombs behind Ali Eid’s home.

Ali Eid stated that although the Burin villagers have documents dating back to the Ottoman Empire – more than 117 years old - the confiscation and destruction of village land by Israeli settlers, and the terrorizing of villagers continues. The DCO and the Israeli court have told settlers to stop construction on the settlement. As of now, no construction has stopped.

A Burin land document dating from the Ottoman Empire

Looking south from Burin

Ali Eid mentioned that someone from the American Consulate visited Burin in 2008 after Israeli settlers burned ancient olive trees and stoned villagers. The Consulate also sent someone in April 2009 when there were further problems with settlers. This seems to indicate that the US State Department does know what is going on in settlements and does nothing.

This village council head closed his remarks about Burin and then said clearly in English, “Gaza. No one helped with Gaza. No one said anything.”

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