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Standing Watch in Iraq Burin

Two MPTers went the nearby village of Iraq Burin on late-morning Saturday, November 14, 2009. This village has had many demonstrations against the confiscation of their land by an illegal Israeli settlement and Israeli Occupation Forces harassment. As the crow flies, one could be there in no time from Huwwara. Walking, though possible, would be long, over high hills, rough and through areas of potential risk. The most direct road has been blocked. So the trip involved two rides in vans (“services”) and significant time loss negotiating the city streets of Nablus. Such is life in the OPT – Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Iraq Burin appears to be typical small village. Sheep are herded through the streets.

This is quiet rural village is frequently harassed by the illegal Israeli settlement on hilltop in the distance. [Click picture to enlarge.]

This settlement is about one mile from Iraq Burin.

Settlers for this settlement attacked Iraq Burin on both of the last two Saturdays. On Friday, November 13, Israeli Occupation Forces entered the village during prayer time at the mosque. Boys responded with stones; Israeli soldiers responded with tear gas. Internationals arrived on Saturday to provide a protective presence and a possible deterrent.

Soldiers [10 men] on about midway up the hill, slightly to the left. The white object at the bottom is the village well.

Soldiers appeared on the hillside across a valley from the village at 11:30 and remained until after 4:00 p.m. Village youth, preteen and teen-age boys, and a few village men stayed in the village watching across the valley from the soldiers.

At first the settlers appeared like sticks on the horizon, but young men in white shirts (common settler dress) could be clearly seen with binoculars.

Settlers arrived later and seemed to disappear from the hilltop horizon about 3:30. Binoculars were needed to see clearly who was present in the distance.

At one point the soldiers approached the village well which is part way down the distant hill side. That movement was met with loud calls and shouts from the villagers. Villagers reported that settlers had bathed in the water at previous times. The soldiers backed off a bit. The villagers, internationals, soldiers, and settlers watched each other from across the valley for the entire afternoon. MPTers and the other internationals left at about 4 PM. Concern was expressed that the settlers might return after internationals left. It may have been that the presence of internationals was a deterrent for this Saturday, since there was no settler or soldier attacks that day.

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