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Video Footage by BT Selem of Illegal Israeli Settlers of Yizhar Setting Palestinian Fields on Fire in Burin and Huwara

BT Selem Release Footage Of Settler Attack

Wednesday July 06, 2011 16:24 by Kevin Murphy - IMEMC

Human rights organisation BT Selem has released footage of Israeli settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yizhar, which is built illegally on Palestinian lands in the West Bank, setting fire to fields near olive orchards belonging to Palestinians in the nearby villages of Burin and Huwara. The ensuing fire consumed dozens of dunams of land and 400 olive trees according to media.

BT Selem has made public a video recorded by Mu’az Sufan, a Palestinian from the West Bank village of Burin and a member of BT Selems camera project, of local Israeli settlers setting a fire that went to cause wide scale damage to Palestinian land.

The film shows a group of settlers stopping on their return from a demonstration and setting light to fields before fleeing in the direction of the local Yitzhar settlement by car. Palestinains complained that Israeli troops later prevented Palestinian firefighters from accessing the blaze. The road from which the fire was lit is closed to Palestinians.

The attack was one of several arsonist attacks against Palestinians around the Yitzhar settlement in recent weeks according to BT Selem. Nobody has been charged in relation to the attacks.

BT Selem provide hundreds of cameras to local Palestinians to document attacks by Israeli settlers and military on Palestinians and their property.


05 July '11: Video documentation: Settler sets fire to field in Burin

On Thursday, 30 June, around noon settlers torched fields surrounding the Yizhar settlement. The action apparently was in response to the knife-point carjacking of a vehicle belonging to a Yitzhar settler the previous night as she was driving through the Village of Huwara. The fires consumed dozens of dunams of land, including, according to military and Civil Administration officials quoted in the media, around 400 olive trees of residents of the adjacent Palestinian villages, Burin and Huwara. Some of the trees were completely destroyed.



A Palestinian from Burin, Mu’az Sufan, a volunteer in B'Tselem’s camera project, documented one of the torchings. The Sufan family home is in the southern part of the village, cut off from the rest of its built-up area by a road. Due to its location below the settlement Yitzhar, the Sufans endured countless settler attacks and document them with a video camera provided by B’Tselem.

The film shows a small group of settlers walking along the access road to Yizhar, on their way from a demonstration that had been held at the Huwarra intersection. One of the settlers walks into the weeds by the roadside and throws some lit matches. As the blaze starts, the settler flees in a waiting vehicle, which drives in the direction of the gate at the entrance to the settlement. The fire rapidly spreads toward the olive orchards on the eastern side of the road.

Ha’aretz reported that the police arrested a number of suspects, and that the court released them for lack of evidence. B'Tselem will provide the video footage to the police with a demand to locate the arsonists and bring them to justice.

The access road to Yitzhar and large swaths of land around the settlement are closed to Palestinians. The access road serves only residents of the settlement, with Palestinian vehicles not being allowed to use it. Additionally, at the time of the incident, the army prohibited Palestinians from using the section of Route 60 between Huwara and the Jit intersection (referred to as the “Gilad Route” by the army). Palestinians complained that Israeli security forces closed the Gilad Route to Palestinian movement until the day after the torching [Friday, 1 July], and that security forces delayed Palestinian firefighters from reaching the scene, and did not enable them to get to all the fields that were aflame.

According to data collected by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in 2011, settlers have damaged more than 3,000 trees belonging to Palestinians. In recent weeks, B'Tselem learned of three other torchings around Yitzhar, on land belonging to residents of Madma. On 30 May and 2nd of June, around four dunums of wheat were destroyed. On 3rd of July settlers and Palestinians had an altercation due to mutual arson claims, in which a Palestinian and a settler were injured by stone throwing.


B'Tselem -
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Palestinian Occupied Territories

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