Home / Reports / IWPS: Settlers spray unknown chemicals on Palestinian farmers

IWPS: Settlers spray unknown chemicals on Palestinian farmers

To view the International Women’s Peace Service website, click here

At approximately 5.30pm on July 21, 2008, two Palestinians farmers from Immatin in the Qalqiliya district were working on their land, in a valley close to Far’ata when they saw five settlers from the illegal Israeli outpost of Havat Gilad approaching, two on horses, three on foot. As the settlers started surrounding the two Palestinian farmers, they phoned their family for help. In the meantime, an additional fifteen Palestinians from Far’ata who had been working in their land nearby rushed over towards the farmers from Immatin to help them. Seeing this, the settlers went up the hill, yelling at the Palestinians that they would beat them, throwing stones on them and starting smaller fires. Approximately 15 more masked settlers gradually joined them.

At approximately 6pm some 15 Israeli soldiers arrived. The Palestinian farmers reported that they did not do anything to push the settlers away. When a 54 year old Palestinian farmer approached the soldiers to ask why they were letting the settlers attack the farmers on their lands, a settler came between the soldier and the Palestinian and sprayed the Palestinian with an unknown chemical substance on his arms, hands and in his eyes, which caused them to burn and inflame so that he could not see. Other settlers joined in hitting this Palestinian with a stick on the back of his neck and on the top of his hand. When his 22 year old son tried to stop the settlers from attacking his father, the settler sprayed his arms and hands with the same unknown substance.

According to the victims, the soldiers did nothing to stop the settlers from hitting them. However, they began shooting tear gas and rubber bullets at the Palestinians. A 34 year old Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet at the top of his thigh from approximately thirty meters away. After this, a soldier threw a tear gas bomb directly in front of him.

The farmers reported that the fires, some started by the settlers and others started by the heat of the teargas canisters, destroyed 50 olive trees at one location and 10 more at another location, before Palestinian firemen could put them out.

After the confrontation had ended, the injured Palestinians went to the local clinic where they received medical treatment. Both Palestinian men who had been sprayed with the unknown chemical substance reported that the burning sensations caused by the spray had not subsided the following day.