NABLUS, Friday, February 04, 2022 (WAFA) - Two weeks after the brutal attack by masked Jewish settlers on activists planting olive trees in Burin, Rabbis for Human Rights Friday returned to the Nablus-district town for olive tree planting.
Hundreds of Israeli activists, including from Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), took part in the olive-tree-planting event in solidarity with the villagers of Burin.
Israeli forces blocked all roads leading to the northern West Bank town to obstruct the arrival of solidarity activists and ambulances to the area, that will see an anti-colonial-settlement protest this afternoon, forcing them to enter on foot.
RHR issued a press statement pledging that its volunteers would continue to plant trees and stand in solidarity with the villagers, while stressing that settler violence will not intimidate them.
On Friday, January 21, a group of masked settlers from a nearby colonial settlement arrived to an olive grove and physically attacked RHR volunteers working with the villagers, inflicting fractures and cuts across the bodies of eight of them.
The assailants set fire to a volunteer’s vehicle and smashed the windshields of another’s.
“Masked men, with no fear of God, attacked with clubs and stones, our volunteers, some of them over 80 years old, thinking that they can impose their vision of Jewish supremacy over the land, from which Palestinian farmers must sustain themselves while living under impossible circumstances,” RHR Executive Director Avi Dabush commented on the January 21 attack.
He slammed the Israeli government for failing to protect Palestinian victims of settler violence and called on it to take action against settler violence, including designating armed settles as a terror group and making arrests.
“I expect from the Government and from law enforcement to act swiftly to declare these Jewish militias as terror groups and the people harmed by their violence as victims of terror. We demand the mapping and evacuating these illegal outposts. Sharpening of the standing orders regarding arresting violent settlers and to give the army and the police the authority to make arrests. We must put an end the situation in which soldiers stand idly by while the violence happens and to make such failures to act an offence under the military justice code. There must be more parliamentary oversight over what happens on the ground. As long as the State and the law enforcement authorities continue to fail to protect Palestinian farmers, the blood that is spilled will be on their hands too.”
Burin town has been the scene of frequent settler attacks, including cutting down fully grown olive trees, setting fire to fields and crops, stealing the olive harvest, attacking olive harvesters and foreign volunteers, and hurling Molotov Cocktails toward houses in the town.
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property is routine in the West Bank and is rarely prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
Settler violence includes property and mosque arsons, stone-throwing, uprooting of crops and olive trees, attacks on vulnerable homes, among others.
Over 700,000 Israelis live in Jewish-only settlements across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in violation of international law.
The number of settlers has almost tripled since the Oslo Accords of 1993, when settlers’ number estimated 252,000. Illegal colonial settlements have leapt from 144 to 515 in that time.
Israel’s nation-state law that passed last July stated that building and strengthening settlements as a “national interest.”