Settlers Stone Palestinian Home, Set Brush Fires Alight Nearby

Masked Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian home on the outskirts of the occupied West Bank village of Burin on Saturday, October 16, pelting it with stones and setting fire to a nearby field. A video of the incident shows settlers lighting fires and hurling stones at a Palestinian home as Israeli occupation troops appear to be standing idly by the latest in a spate of violent events accompanying the ongoing Palestinian olive harvest.

Israeli settlers light fires and hurl stones at a Palestinian home near the West Bank town of Burin on Saturday, October 16, 2021.

Israeli settlers light fires and hurl stones at a Palestinian home near the West Bank town of Burin on Saturday, October 16, 2021. (Photo: Yesh Din)

In videos from the scene collected by the Israeli NGO Yesh Din, the settlers, some of whom are wearing tzitzit, or garment fringes mandated by Jewish religious law, grabbed fistfuls of grass and set the ground ablaze. Jewish law forbids lighting fires on the Sabbath — a prohibition that dates back to the Torah, Judaism’s central text. One young man in jeans could be seen setting fire to grassland, while a brush fire rages behind them on the parched hillside.

Another young man in the video could be seen throwing a stone at the direction of a Palestinian. The attack took place on the border between the Palestinian village of Burin and the adjacent illegal Israeli outpost of Givat Ronen.

On Friday, dozens of Israeli settlers and Palestinians hurled stones at one another near Yasuf, a Palestinian town in the central West Bank. At least two Palestinian cars were said to be damaged during the violence. Yesh Din also charged that settlers had sprayed pepper gas in the face of a 50-year-old Palestinian woman. Palestinian media reported that the Yasuf residents were harvesting olives on their land when they were attacked. 

Hadash lawmakers have expressed increasing concern over the recurring violent incidents in the West Bank. A recent stone-throwing attack by dozens of settlers in the small hamlet of al-Mufaqara in the south Hebron hills sparked condemnation by Hadash MKs labeling it an act of terrorism. The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee held a meeting on the phenomenon last week, with Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) charged that occupation forces were assisting the settlers in carrying out such violence.

Yesh Din Executive Director Lior Amihai called on Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev to take action. “How long will we endure this violence being carried out in our names?” Amihai asked. “Gantz, Bar-Lev – this is your responsibility.”

“Settler violence has long since become part of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation. Israeli security forces enable these actions, which result in Palestinians casualties – injuries and fatalities – as well as damage to land and property. In some cases, they (the security forces) serve as an armed escort (for the settlers), or even join in the attacks,” said the Israeli information center for human rights in occupied territories, B’Tselem. “Investigations, if even opened, are usually closed with no action taken against perpetrators as part of an undeclared policy of leniency. The long-term effect of this violence is the dispossession of Palestinians from increasing parts of the West Bank, making it easier for Israel to take over land and resources,” said B’Tselem.