Peace Activists Gathered for Tree Plantation Near Palestinian Village of Burin

Hundreds of Israeli peace activists, among them Hadash members, turned up Friday morning to assist Palestinian farmers plant olive trees near the occupied West Bank village of Burin, two weeks after an attack by extremist settlers there left several people wounded. Several lawmakers were present at Friday’s planting event, including the Joint List’s Ahmad Tibi and Meretz’s Gaby Lasky and Mossi Raz.

Hundreds of Israeli peace activists arrive to help Palestinians plant trees near the village of Burin in the West Bank, February 4, 2022. (Photo: Zo Haderech)

“This picture of hundreds of Israelis, including those injured by Jewish terrorists, returning to the scene of the attack, two weeks after it occurred, represents a significant victory,” Avi Dabush, head of Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), said in a statement. “We declared that we will not give in to violence and that we would return to the field to stand in solidarity with Palestinian olive farmers against those who regularly attack them. And that is what we did,” he said.

Several settlers from the illegal Givat Ronen settlement attempted to reach the area where the planting took place, but were rebuffed by the army, with which the event was coordinated. However, he Israeli occupation army said one peace activist was detained for allegedly assaulting a soldier, and was then taken to be arrested by police officers.

On Friday, January 21, a group of masked settlers from a nearby colonial settlement arrived to an olive grove and brutally 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 car.

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. Also on Friday, in the Palestinian West Bank town of as-Sawiya near Nablus, at least six cars had tires punctured, and graffiti was sprayed on homes that said, “Our land for our nation,” and “Revenge will come one day.”