18 Nov 14 Urif
Settlers attack a secondary boys school in Urif again. The Army arrives and tear gases the Urif residents.
The 300 students of Urif Secondary School went to school Tues morning expecting a day of studying. Unknown to the students or the teachers a group of 30-40 armed settlers had set out from Yizhar settlement to cover the 6-7 km with the intent of attacking the school.
About 10AM the settlers, having left
their cars out of sight, entered the gate of the school yard armed
with axes, swords and at least one had a firearm (apparently 8-10
soldiers accompanied them). But what alarmed the teachers most was
that some settlers carried Molotov cocktails. Fearing that the school
would be set a fire they evacuated the students. The settlers started
throwing stones at the exposed students. At least 4 students were
taken to the hospital by ambulance, one with a face and nose injury
and another with a lower leg injury. As word spread the residents of
Urif ran up to the school to protect their children.
|School yard, school and Yizhar behind|
|School yard gate - now it is closed|
About 11AM 8-10 occupying army jeeps (with one white one in the middle of the convoy) came up through the center of town to the school. They moved between the settlers and residents and fired tear gas and stun grenades at the residents of Urif. A reporter who was among the occupying army heard the boarder police tell the army that he wanted them to blanket the whole village in tear gas, he said he wanted tear gas in every house.
As tear gas filtered through the homes
in Urif residents talked about the living near Yizhar. There have
been repeated attacks, usually targeting the houses highest up the
hill and the school which is also high. Previous attacks on the
school have been on Thursdays or Fridays when students were not in
the school and the attacks were focused on doing physical damage to
the school building. Attacking the children is a dangerous
|sooty wall where trash bin was set afire and dumped|
|After settlers and residents have left soldier aim teargas into the village|
|Resident recycles some of the spent tear gas cases|
Urif has been attacked over 100 times by settlers from Yizhar. Four or five weeks ago they attacked in the village rahter than the school sending 3 or 4 to the hospital. The village built a wall to help protect one exposed house which has been attacked over 15 times. But the village attributes 17 miscarriages directly to army tear gas attacks. Some attacks have been to steal live stock; horses, goats and, sheep have all been stolen. One time while the settlers were stealing sheep they broke the hand of the owner and his son. Three years ago settlers attacked the new mosque which was not complete but was being used for prayers and burned the rugs and door. Six years ago an 18 year old boy was kidnapped while picking olives and taken up to the settlement where he was killed in an animal shed.
The residents say the Yizhar settlement was started in 1983 on land stolen from Urif residents. It was land the family we talked to grew wheat and animal fodder on. The residents say the early residents of Yizhar were criminals and murders who had been released from Israeli jails to start Yizeh.
Like many other villages near settlements, many of the olive orchards cant be plowed, fertilized, pruned or picked with out a permit from the occupying army. This year they were allowed 2 days to pick the olives which it takes 10 days to pick. But when they got to the olive trees they found there were no olives on the trees.