There is nothing I wish to write about less than settlers. If only I could just write about the good stuff, the posts that seem to take no time at all because im so excited to be publishing happy times and inspiring events. This isn’t one of those pieces. It’s also my 5th attempt of getting it out-of-the-way so I can continue with more boastful posts of this village that has stolen my heart. I hope I can find a balance in the coming paragraphs that can make you stop and think. To take a deep breath, sigh, stare out in to space and try for a minute to imagine life under the Israeli occupation. We will never fully understand, but we have a duty to try. Without empathy it is not possible to stand in solidarity. Without solidarity there is no hope for freedom. We are in this together.
Armed settlers with back up of soldier.
I should first explain what a settler and settlements are. I will try to keep it professional. settlers are a huge role in the Zionist movement which is the eradication of the Palestinian people in order to create a holey Jewish state. Many methods are used to create this and for Israel it must seem like a bit of a long and drawn out process to ethnically cleanse the entire population of Palestine. Not to mention expensive, but with the financial aid of America on their side they manage to scrape by. Settlers are used as a tool, indoctrinated from birth to believe that the land is theirs and Palestinian lives may be forsaken in the battle to endure this. There are around 327,750 settlers living in the West bank. Living on stolen land. Primarily situated on mountain tops seeking to intimidate. Their behaviour ranges from harassment to murder and from the burning of cars to the burning of Mosques.
A residents car torched by Settlers.
I will begin with Yitzhar.
Yitzhar was founded in 1984 and is the largest of the three settlements. The name Yitzhar in Hebrew has the meaning ‘high quality olive oil’ I can assure you and many will agree that the olive oil of Palestine is of high quality but it of no ownership to the settlers, and particularly of no responsibility to them either! Yitzhar consists of 1223 dunams and according to Peace Now 35% of this is privately owned Palestinian land. This land has been stolen. But this isn’t where the troubles end, as well as blatant land theft Yitzhar offers consistent harassment for not only Burin but 5 other surrounding villages. Harassment from the settlers within Yitzhar and all villages nearby Burin did not start until the second intifada and have been increasing ever since. The crimes committed against the residents of Burin are largely focused on olive trees, there techniques range from uprooting, hacking in half and burning to the ground. This year alone Burin has lost 4000 trees due to fires. Although I state that they are largely focused on the olive trees, this does not rule out attacks on houses, cars and people.
Settlers burning Olive trees.
Then there is Bracha
In typical Israeli style any opportunity to rub salt in the wounds is latched onto and the naming of this settlement is no different. Bracha, ironically means ‘Blessing’ in Hebrew. As you will guess, it is found by all to be anything but. Founded in 1982 and consisting of 258 dunams of heavily built up land Bracha, in the most literal sence imaginary is Yitzhars partner in crime. Settlers from both areas join forces to attack Palestinian land and bring crime and distress to the residents of Burins front door. It is important to remember that the settlers are armed, have killed before and have no moral obligations that may prevent them from killing again. Inch by inch, they believe that what lies on this land is theirs for the taking, be it a tree, a car or a person.
Olive trees hacked to death.
As well as the two mentioned settlements there is an outpost named Givat Arousa as well as a military camp, Houwara. It has been noticed by a resident of Burin that nearby from the Bracha settlement three new homes are being built within privately owned land, more on this accusation to follow.