2 August 2009
Settlers occupying an illegal outpost near al-Bueri in Hebron District set alight four fields of grape-vines belonging to local Palestinian families just weeks before the grape harvest season is due to begin.
On Saturday residents raised the alarm as the blaze began to spread shortly after midday on land owned by the Zateri and Jaaber families. Separate fires had been set in fields and stone out-building within one hundred meters of the settler outpost. The 77 year-old head of the family which is closest to the outpost, which was established six-months ago is illegal even under Israeli occupation law, explained that the family have farmed the land for at least 150 years. The family are subjected to frequent setter attacks and have received death threats from settler youths.
When ISM volunteers arrived at the scene they found large swaths of scorched earth and blackened vine-terraces. ISMers used shovels and handfuls of earth to extinguish the last of the flames but the damage was extensive.
Where a combination of the road and wind direction meant that the flames had not caught in some vines, bunches of grapes had been ripped from branches and left to rot on the ground.