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More Burin Settler Violence

Burin, nestled in the valley

Responding to reports of settler violence in the picturesque valley village of Burin, two MPTers once again visited that beleaguered community to offer solidarity and accompaniment. In recent years the villagers have suffered an increase in harassment, intimidation and violence at the hands of the settlers from the illegal Israeli settlements of Yitzar and Bracha and the nearby outposts of those settlements.
Incidents have ranged from cars being set on fire, electrical wires cut and home windows smashed to houses being set on fire, fields burned and livestock killed. Villagers have been abducted and assaulted. Even mortar shells and a rocket have been fired at the village from the Yitzar and Bracha settlements (www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1001565.html), home to ultranationalist Israelis who believe all of the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea was promised to the Jews by God.
Senseless act of violence

In late September (see mptinpalestine.blogspot.com/2009/10/burin-tree-massacre.html) settlers from the illegal settlement of Yitzar cut more than 95 trees in one grove of the village. This time, 81 trees had been cut in another grove. Besides causing economic privation to the landowner, such a cruel and senseless act is difficult to comprehend and to view without being reduced to tears. All the spiritual traditions teach respect for Mother Nature and to live in harmony with one’s environment. That the olive tree is the universal symbol of peace makes the violation ever more egregious. The landowner estimates it will take 5 to 10 years for the trees to recover;Italic many may not survive.

Devastation triggered by intolerance

Mother Nature weeps

The MPTers also visited the home of Palestinians who have been subjected to harassment, rock attacks and home invasion by settlers from Yitzar, just up the hill from them. One afternoon, a week ago, 25 settlers threw stones at the house and water tank, cut the plastic water pipe leading to the house, and harassed the family, leaving only when villagers came to the aid of the family. Soldiers of the Israeli Occupation Army and the District Commissioner’s Office arrived three hours later.

Solar panels destroyed by rock-throwing settlers
The family has owned their land since the Ottoman Empire and built the home they now live in 14 years ago. Their problems with settlers have exacerbated since 2000. They have had sheep stolen, their car set on fire, roof-top solar panels destroyed, windows broken, and gasoline poured under one of the doors to the house and set on fire.

The door under which gasoline was poured and set ablaze

Burned floor from the gasoline set on fire

Not long ago settlers ransacked the house, terrorizing the family. Most of the harassment occurs on the Jewish Sabbath, so that every Friday from sundown until Saturday sundown, the family lives in a state of agitation, the children unable to sleep, everyone anticipating settler violence.

One of the many metal window screens in the house damaged by the settlers

Addressing such violence, the Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, has asserted: "The increase in the incidents in which Israeli citizens harass Palestinians in the area of the village of Burin and the West Bank in general, recently highlights the lack of action on the part of the authorities to contain the basis of Jewish terrorism that has taken hold in those areas. The authorities must act assertively against the violators and bring them to justice." (Ha'aretz, August 15, 2008, Special feature / The land of unchecked settler harassment by Avi Issacharoff).

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