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Burin: Palestinians Resist Settlers Nonviolently

Saturday, 4 July 2009

MPT was called shortly after 7pm about a settler attack in the nearby village of Burin (right). We had previously reported on settler vandalism in Burin, particularly on the damage done to the construction of a Palestinian’s house.

Before our arrival, we were told that one of the settlers had shot a gun at the house’s owner and the District Commanding Officer (DCO) had been called. When MPT arrived, settlers stood at the edge of the illegal Urusi outpost of the Har Bracha settlement, peering down through binoculars. MPT kept their cameras on the settlers, deterring any possible assaults from them other than the earlier gunshots. The DCO was seen at the edge of the settlement several minutes after the settlers had retreated, and they told the homeowner’s brother that there could not have been an attack because the settlers were in the middle of their evening prayers.

Settlers looking at us (click to enlarge)

The DCO looking at us (click to enlarge)

Meanwhile, the villagers showed us a few olive trees that settlers had broken at a previous time. In addition, many of their olives had been stolen.

Broken olive tree

When the owner of the vandalized house noted that the settlers damage the property on a daily basis, MPT realized that the owner was resisting nonviolently. Despite the destruction of his home numerous times since construction began, and despite knowing that these attacks will probably not stop after moving into his home, he continues to build – he had laid new pavement since we were last in Burin.

24 June 2009

4 July 2009

This man’s situation is a good example of how difficult it is for Palestinians to build homes anywhere in the West Bank. Under the Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, 1995, the West Bank was divided up into three zones: A, B, and C. In Area A the Palestinian Authority has full control de jure. In Area B the Palestinian Authority is in control of administrative matters, but the Israeli army occupies it. Area C is under full control of Israel.

Area C contains the majority of West Bank land, yet it is nearly impossible for Palestinians to obtain a building permit from Israel in order to build housing or any other structure. In the time period of 2000-2007, 94.5% of requests from Palestinians for building permits in Area C zones were rejected.

Owner of house showing us damage done by settlers in the past

The man in Burin noted that his house is in Area B, Palestinian land under both the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli army. But he described how Area B can seem like Area C – Palestinian land under the Israeli army that’s forbidden to most Palestinians. His house, he told us, is an example of how Palestinians often cannot even build on Area B. But he is determined to keep his property, despite the problems that come with it.

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