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Settlers riot in Burin, shooting and setting fire to olive trees

27 July 2010 | International Solidarity Movement

Fire engines struggle to control the blaze

Fire engines struggle to control the blaze in the olive groves of Burin

At 11:30 yesterday, 26th July 2010, settlers from the Berakha Shomronim settlement began shooting at Palestinians in the village of Burin and setting fire to crops on their land.

Trouble flared when Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of a structure in an illegal settler outpost because of the freeze on settlement construction. Israeli police failed to contain the settler riot which followed and closed Huwara checkpoint, near Nablus, in response.

The village of Burin covers 1500 dunams and about 3000 olive trees are planted on this land. Much of this was destroyed yesterday after fires were lit by a group of approximately 120 settlers and then spread to the next village of Kafr Qalil. The Palestinian fire services arrived to help the villagers who were attempting to put out the the flames with olive branches.

International activists from ISM arrived in Burin to report on the incident but were quickly and forcefully dragged away by Border Police, who took their passports and stated that “there was nothing to see here”.  Later they were told that it was unsafe because the settlers were armed – but according to a local witness, Ahmed from Iraq Burin, the Border Police were acting as security for the settlers and preventing an ambulance from entering the area.

The ambulance was called after two Palestinians were injured. Reports received by ISM allege that these injuries were sustained from being shot at by settlers. At present we have been unable to verify this, the identity of the victims, or reports that this morning one  person died in hospital from their wounds. Both ISM and EAPPI members are conducting further interviews and photography on the scene.

There were also reports of settlers smashing the windows of houses and cars, and throwing stones in the village of An Nabi Saleh in the Ramallah region.