Israeli settlers are sowing terror in the West Bank

Israeli settlers are sowing terror in the West Bank

Smoke is still rising from the barn of Nizam Mutam, known to his neighbors as Abu Ali. Tons of feed are consumed for their animals on low heat. Late last Sunday, half a hundred Israeli settlers, accompanied by dozens of soldiers, stormed the hill next to their farm with sticks and gunfire. They set fire to the barn, stole two sheep, killed another, and injured a fourth. His son was hit in the eye by a stone when he tried to close the door to the property and was taken to the hospital. He says from his home: “When I told the soldiers how they allowed my animals to be killed, they told me to enter the house or they would shoot me.” He adds resignedly: “We can't do anything about it. There were too many of them and we don't have weapons.”

Settler attacks are not new in Burqa, a town with a population of 3,000 located a few kilometers from Ramallah where Abu Ali lives with his family. In 2018, groups of Jewish settlers settled on two of the hills surrounding the village. They planted their white caravans among olive groves owned by three Palestinian municipalities in the area, and harassment became a daily affair. “Since then, they have faced great difficulties in taking their livestock out to graze in the mountains. They were left without pasture and had to start buying fodder to feed the animals,” explains a field worker from an international organization documenting the situation. facts.

It wasn't just his farm that was attacked on Sunday. When villagers came to help them, the Israeli army blocked their way by firing tear gas, according to several sources. The fire is also real, although it is not known whether it was from settlers, soldiers, or both. Seven neighbors were shot, three of whom were shot in the chest. “As an occupying force, the Israeli army has a duty to protect civilians because in this area of ​​the West Bank the Palestinian Authority does not have a mandate to act. But they are doing exactly the opposite. They are attacking us together with the settlers,” explains a clearly frustrated shepherd.

See also  Ukraine's accession to the European agricultural sector

Since October 7, settler violence has escalated across Area C of the West Bank, 60% of which is under full Israeli civilian and military control. The United Nations has since documented an average of seven attacks per day, an unprecedented number. Beating and killing, destroying property, burning fields and homes, uprooting olive trees… The rampant crime hides a campaign of ethnic cleansing that succeeded during these six months alone in expelling more than a thousand Palestinians from their lands, according to what the occupation army says. Israeli B'Tselem. Since then, eighteen villages have been completely depopulated with the complicity of Benjamin Netanyahu's government, with several far-right settlers serving as ministers. Among them is Itamar Ben Gvir, head of the Interior Ministry, convicted of terrorist crimes.

The impunity enjoyed by its comrades has led the United States and the European Union for the first time to impose sanctions on a handful of individuals and organizations in the movement. This is an unprecedented measure so far, but at the present time it is nothing more than a symbolic measure. Neither the leaders nor the institutions protecting them were punished, but sanctions were imposed on a small number of extremists responsible for some of the violence and two or three organizations that raised funds to support them. There is nothing really serious because colonization is a state policy, despite being illegal under international law, and settler violence is protected by the Israeli army.

Legalize what is illegal

The Hebrew press reported three days ago that Israel is preparing to legalize approximately 70 initial settlements in the West Bank, which even under its laws are considered illegal. In parallel, the settlers continue to do their work. After Israeli authorities found the body of a 14-year-old settler in the occupied West Bank on April 13 — a crime that remains under investigation even though the army says he died in a “terrorist attack” — dozens of Palestinian villages came under brutal attacks. Attack.

See also  London and Washington are raising their rhetoric against Israel, but they continue to send weapons there

In Aqraba, near Nablus, dozens of settlers, accompanied by the army, set fire to more than 60 homes and shops, as well as more than a hundred vehicles. They stole or killed hundreds of livestock. Two Palestinians, aged 21 and 30, were killed, according to local authorities. Scenes very similar to those witnessed by Al-Mughayir, Beitin, or Douma. The Red Crescent claimed that the army prevented its ambulances from reaching the area to rescue the injured.

In Beitin, the closest to Ramallah, a 17-year-old Palestinian was killed by a bullet to the head. Ayman Hamed, deputy mayor of Beitin, said: “People are afraid and anxious. We have no weapons and no one is defending us.” All roads leading to the town were closed, except for a narrow road that forced its neighbors to take a long detour to reach the Palestinian Administrative Capital. Hamed says: “They want to expel us, but we will not leave. It is the land of our ancestors and the people are committed to standing firm no matter what happens.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *