The Settlers had broken three water tanks, demolished the wood frame of the house and another wooden structure, and ripped open large bags of cement with pieces of metal broken off of the house’s foundation.
Construction on the house began twenty days prior. During this time, settlers have demolished the home three times. First on June 10th, then again the morning of the 16th, and once more two hours before MPT arrived in Burin on the 24th. The owner of the house told MPT that on the 16th, some citizens of Burin came to help him when the Settlers were destroying his construction site. The Israeli Army came to the scene and used gas bombs and bullets against the Palestinians. Luckily, there were no injuries. On the 24th, while MPT was present, the owner of the home was making his statement to the DCO. He explained how the Settlers had come into Burin and vandalized his home. However, the officers told the owner that the Settlers come into Burin to pray.
The Settlers came from a nearby outpost, which is located close to the Israeli settlement of Barakha (UN map Barcha or Har Barcha). Outposts are roughly constructed houses or structures built in order to claim Palestinian land for a new Israeli settlement. The Israeli government does not authorize them. Settlements on occupied land are illegal under international law. Outposts are illegal even under Israeli law. Yet they are rarely evacuated by the government. The Israeli group Peace Now just published their annual 2008 Settlement report, which reported that 261 new outpost structures were built last year. The government did not evacuate any of these illegal outposts.
There are many settlements in the area surrounding Huwwara (where MPT lives) that take the land of Palestinian villages and provide regular harassment and violence against Palestinians. In the nearby village of Jit, the Settlers from Havat Gilad had uprooted and burned the seedlings of Palestinian residents the same day MPT visited Burin.
After MPT investigated the vandalized home, we went to the Office of the Burin Village Council. The head of the council, Ali Eid, told us more about the problems of Burin. It is a village of 3,500 people who are bothered daily by Settler and soldier harassment. When there are issues with Settlers, the residents are told to call the Palestinian DCO, who then calls the Israeli DCO. The head of the council said that after Palestinians have made a report with the Israeli DCO, nothing ever comes of it.
[For more information about Burin please see past MPT report—“Burin: A Beleaguered Village” May 13, 2009]