Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, July 2021
Israeli Occupation Apartheid Regime Uses its Soldiers and Illegal Setters in Scores of Abductions and Attacks Against Palestinians in the West Bank
July 19, 2021
While brutal force has been used to create Zionist Israel and sustain it thus far, Zionist claims to Palestine are false. Actually, from the five thousand years of known written history, there has been a continuous Palestinian-Canaanite presence in the Holy Land. Despite the Zionist false claims, the ancient Israelites ruled part of the land for only 85 years (during the reign of David, Solomon, and Solomon's son).
After that, the Egyptians conquered Palestine-Canaan in 925 BC, followed by Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, before the Arab Muslim rule, starting from 636 AD.
By the Time Jesus started his mission, the three population groups of Canaanites, Palestinians, and Israelites were melted together in religion and language. Most of them became Christians when Constantine converted in 313 AD. Then, most of them became Muslims in the 7th and 8th centuries AD.
So, Palestinian Muslims, Christians, and Jews are the ones who have the right to claim descent from ancient Israelites, Palestinians, and Canaanites, not Zionists from other continents.
The following news stories are just examples of the Israeli occupation government abuse, mistreatment, and violations of Palestinian human rights, on daily basis.More detailed news stories can be found at the following sources:
http://english.wafa.ps/, https://english.palinfo.com/, https://imemc.org/, https://paltoday.ps/ar/
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Abduct Five Palestinians, Assault Two, In Nablus, Hebron, And Jerusalem
IMEMC, JUL 19, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, a Palestinian and assaulted his brothers, near Nablus, in northern West Bank, and one near Hebron, in the southern part, in addition to three teenage boys in the occupied capital, Jerusalem.
Taleb Mahmoud Hamad, the head of Einabus Village Council, south of Nablus, said several army jeeps invaded the village before the soldiers invaded and searched homes, and abducted his son, Ehab, 36.
He added that the soldiers also attacked his two other sons, causing injuries, before forcing Ehab in one of their jeeps, and drove to an unknown destination.
The soldiers also invaded the al-Koam village, southwest of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and abducted Nidal Yousef al-‘Awawda, after storming his home and ransacking it.
Photo By Silwanic
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded and searched homes in Silwan town, in Jerusalem, before abducting three teenage boys, identified as Anas Somrain, Hamza Somrain, and Soheib Somrain.
In addition, the soldiers invaded Jaba’ town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, abducted two Palestinians, and injured two others.
In related news, the soldiers invaded several areas in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and nearby villages invaded and searched homes, and abducted six Palestinians, in addition to attacking protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.
On Sunday, the soldiers detained a young man, identified as Sufian Salayma, in Bab al-‘Amoud, in Jerusalem, and took him to a room where they repeatedly attacked him, before releasing him. (Video Wadi Hilweh Information Center In Silwan – Silwanic)
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians, Injure Two, Near Jenin
IMEMC, JUL 19, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, Jaba’ town, south of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, abducted two Palestinians and injured two others.
Media sources said the soldiers invaded and searched many homes, before abducting two Palestinians, identified as Amin Khaled Hamamra, 25, and Obeida Adel Hamamra, 24.
They added that the invasion led to protests, and the soldiers fired many rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs, at the protesters and surrounding homes, wounding two Palestinians and causing many to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
Medical sources said the soldiers shot Fateh movement secretary in the town, Razi Ghannam, with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the abdomen, and Sufian Fakhouri who was shot with rubber-coated steel bullets in his legs before Palestinian medics rushed them to a hospital in Jenin.
In related news, the soldiers invaded several areas in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and nearby villages invaded and searched homes, and abducted six Palestinians, in addition to attacking protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets and gas bombs.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Invaded Ramallah, Abduct Six Palestinians, And Attack Protesters
IMEMC, July 19, 2021 imemc
Israeli occupation soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, several areas in the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and nearby villages and towns, before invading and searching homes, and abducted six Palestinians, in addition to attacking protesters with rubber-coated steel bullets, gas bombs, and concussion grenades.
Several army jeeps invaded the center of Ramallah city, at-Tihta, and the al-Irsal areas, leading to protests, and fired a barrage of gas bombs, concussion grenades, and rubber-coated steel bullets.
The soldiers also broke into a print shop in Ramallah, before loading its machines and contents into a truck and drove away.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Beit Liqya town, southwest of Ramallah, before breaking into homes and searching them, and abducted Najeeb Mafarja, a former political prisoner who was just released a few days ago.
The soldiers also invaded Safa village, west of Ramallah, searched homes, and abducted a former political prisoner, identified as Ala’ Nasr Karaja.
In addition, the soldiers invaded Beit Rima village, northwest of Ramallah, searched many homes before abducted Karam Shawar, Mohammad Tawfiq Rimawi, Tareq Samih Rimawi, and Majdi Monir Rimawi.
During the invasions into homes, the soldiers assaulted several young Palestinian men and interrogated the families.
Local sources said the soldiers also flew a surveillance drone over several parts of the village.
Another invasion targeted Birzeit town, north of Ramallah, leading to protests, and the soldiers also fired gas bombs and concussion grenades.
Illegal Israeli Settlers Invade Palestinian Neighborhood In Ramallah
IMEMC, JUL 19, 2021
A large group of illegal Israeli settlers accompanied by soldiers, invaded on Sunday evening, the at-Tira neighborhood in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Eyewitnesses said the colonists and the soldiers invaded the neighborhood from the area in Ein Qinya town, northwest of Ramallah.
They added that the colonists invaded the area in a bus, accompanied by many army jeeps, and headed towards an area to perform prayers after the soldiers closed many roads and prevented the Palestinians from crossing.
The entire area remained off-limits to the Palestinians until the soldiers accompanied the colonists out later.
In related news, a group of colonialist settlers attacked and injured, a Palestinian man, 62, in front of his home, in addition to assaulting several young men, in the Tal Romedia neighborhood in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Illegal Israeli Settlers Attack And Injure Several Palestinians, In Hebron
IMEMC, JUL 19, 2021
Illegal Israeli settlers attacked and injured, Sunday, a Palestinian man, 62, in front of his home, in addition to assaulting several young men, in Tal Romedia neighborhood in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Medical sources said the colonists assaulted Shaher Abu Aisha, 62, causing several cuts and lacerations, while he was standing in front of his home.
They added that local medics provided the needed treatment to Abu Aisha, before moving him to the Hebron governmental hospital, suffering mild injuries.
Several young men were also injured in the attack, while Israeli soldiers just stood and watched.
Resident Bassam Abu Aisha said the colonists invaded Be’er as-Sabe’ Street in Tal Romedia, and attacked the Palestinians while shouting slurs at them.
The colonists came from the illegal Ramat Yishai outpost, which was installed on Palestinian property, and constantly attack the locals to force them to leave.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Abduct Seven Palestinians In West Bank
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers abducted, earlier Sunday, at least seven Palestinians in Jenin, Ramallah, and Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, during massive invasions and violent searches of homes.
The Jenin office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), in northern West Bank, said the soldiers installed a military roadblock at the entrance of Zabbouba village, west of Jenin, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated scores of Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.
It added that the soldier assaulted a young man at the roadblock, identified as Emad Hasan Abu Zeitoun, before abducting him, and moved him to the Salem military base.
The soldiers also invaded Burqin village, southwest of Jenin, before storming and ransacking homes, and abducted two siblings, identified as Sa’id Ali Qablawi and his brother Kasser, both in their twenties.
It is worth mentioning that the siblings also have a brother, Khaled, who was abducted by the army in the year 2018 and was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.
Furthermore, the soldiers invaded Deir Ghassana village, northwest of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, searched homes, and abducted Majdi Shawqi Barghouthi, 34.
In Bethlehem, south of the occupied Palestinian capital Jerusalem, the soldiers invaded Beit Fajjar town, searched homes, before abducting Sanad Ahmad Taqatqa, and Radi Salah Taqatqa.
The soldiers also invaded the Deheishe refugee camp, south of Bethlehem, and abducted a young man, identified as Mohammad Abdul-Qader Sarhan.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Surround Al-Qibli Mosque In Al-Aqsa, Cut Speaker Wires
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
After more than 2100 illegal Israeli settlers, accompanied by dozens of soldiers, invaded the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the occupied capital Jerusalem, on Sunday morning, the soldiers assaulted dozens of worshippers, before surrounding the al-Qibli mosque in the Al-Aqsa compound, and cut its wires to prevent the calls for prayer.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers surrounded the al-Qibli mosque while dozens of worshippers were in it, and sealed its gate with iron chains, in addition to cutting the wires of the speakers of the holy site.
They added that the soldiers also assaulted dozens of Palestinians in Al-Aqsa, and abducted many others after the army and the police accompanied more than 2100 colonialist settlers into the site.
The Islamic Waqf Department in Jerusalem said the invasion was led by the head of the fanatic right-wing Otzma Yehudit party, Itamar Ben-Gvir, and the fanatic right-wing Likud member and former Member of Knesset Yehuda Glick.
It added that the soldiers and the police started assaulting the Palestinian worshipers in the holy site, and forced many of them away, in addition to abducting many others.
The soldiers also fired gas bombs and concussion grenades at the worshipers and chased many of them away.
The Jerusalem Affair Department at the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), called on all Arab and Islamic nations to aid the Palestinians, and perform their duties in protecting the holy sites and in supporting the Palestinian people who are struggling for their survival on their land, and the establishment of their independent state.
It added that, while the soldiers and the police facilitate the invasions into the holy site’s compound, they continue to assault the Palestinians, and prevent them praying in the holy site.
The Department stated that these violations, including the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians in Jerusalem, especially in Sheikh Jarrah, are constantly escalating amidst the silence of the International Community.
In addition, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported that the soldiers also assaulted the Palestinians, mainly women, and children, sitting and walking near Bab as-Asbat, and ordered them to leave.
Silwanic added that the soldiers also attacked a journalist, identified as Liwa’ Abu Rmeila, while she and her team were reporting from Bab Huta gate area, near al-Aqsa.
Israeli occupation police and illegal settlers raid Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa, assault worshipers
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
JERUSALEM, Sunday, July 18, 2021 (WAFA) –
Israeli occupation forces and scores of Israeli settler fanatics broke into the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday early morning, attacking worshipers at the holy site and detaining many of them.
Witnesses said that as of the early morning hours, dozens of Israeli Police officers started raiding the holy site through the Chain and Moroccan gates before they embarked on beating and assaulting the Muslim worshipers attending prayers at the holy site in an effort to make way for the entry of hundreds of Israeli settlers there.
Israeli Police officers also fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters at the worshipers and forced many of them out of the holy site due to the intensity of tear gas.
Meantime, the police locked down the southern main building inside the holy site, and hundreds of worshipers were left inside and were unable to leave. Groups of Israeli settlers later broke into the courtyards after it was almost emptied of all Muslim worshipers by force.
Israeli extremist groups have called on settlers to force their way into the Al-Aqsa complex in large numbers on July 18, on the occasion of the anniversary of what Israel calls “the destruction of the temple.”
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world’s third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
The so-called Sovereignty Movement in Israel is also preparing to organize a march for settlers around the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem on the same day.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Assault And Abduct Several Palestinians In Jerusalem
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers assaulted, on Saturday night, several Palestinians, especially young men, and abducted some of them in Silwan, the Old City, al-Misrara, and many other areas in occupied Jerusalem, and forced the shops to close, to allow illegal colonialist settlers to hold provocative marches.
Dozens of soldiers invaded the al-Misrara area, in Bab al-‘Amoud, and assaulted several Palestinians, including shop owners who were also forced to close their stores, ahead of the provocative march of scores of illegal colonialist Israeli settlers, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) has reported.
Silwanic added that many soldiers also assaulted a young man in Sultan Suleiman Street, before abducting him.
The soldiers also closed all roads surrounding the Old City of the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, and prevented the Palestinians from reaching their homes, while the fanatic Israeli colonists roamed the streets while chanting racist slogans.
The Palestinians were in the streets, shopping and eating, and just socializing with each other on the even of the Al-Adha Muslim feast.
The soldiers also invaded and ransacked several Palestinian homes, including the home of Midhat al-Isawi who was just released from Israeli prisons, to prevent his family from celebrating his release.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Attack Nonviolent Protesters in Sheikh Jarrah And Silwan
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers attacked, Saturday, dozens of nonviolent Palestinian protesters, holding sit-in protests in Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, in the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers assaulted dozens of Palestinians at the entrance of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and fired a barrage of gas bombs and concussion grenades at them.
‘Aahed Resheq, a member of the Regional Council of Fateh movement in Jerusalem, said the Palestinians are protesting the escalating Israeli violations, including the demolition and illegal confiscation of their homes, and the severe restrictions on their freedom of movement.
He added that the Palestinian people will always resist this illegal Israeli occupation, the illegal annexation of their lands, in addition to the confiscation and the demolition of their homes, in addition to the constant violations against them.
He also said that the Palestinians in Jerusalem, especially in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan are facing escalating assaults and violations by the soldiers and the colonialist settlers.
It is worth mentioning that Israel has recently informed many families in Sheikh Jarrah that they must leave their homes, after granting their properties to the illegal colonialist settlers.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Jenin And Jerusalem
IMEMC, JUL 18, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers abducted, Saturday, two Palestinians, including one who was assaulted by illegal colonialist settlers and summoned to others for interrogation, in Jenin and Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank.
Media sources in Jerusalem said several colonialist settlers assaulted a young Palestinian man, identified as Bakr Oweiss, in the al-Misrara neighborhood, causing cuts and bruises.
They added that Israeli soldiers then abducted the young man and took him to an interrogation facility.
In related news, the soldiers invaded, on Saturday at night, the village of Zabbouba, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and abducted a young man, identified as Emad Hasan Abu Zeitoun.
Eyewitnesses said the soldiers abducted the young man at a military roadblock they installed on the main entrance of the village and added that the soldiers also assaulted him and maced him with pepper-spray, before moving him to Salem military base.
The soldiers also summoned for interrogation two former political prisoners, identified as Saifuddin Kilani and Hussein Herzallah.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Injure Many Palestinians In Kufur Qaddoum
IMEMC, JUL 16, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers injured, Friday, many Palestinians in Kufur Qaddoum, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia.
Morad Eshteiwi, the media spokesperson of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Qalqilia, said dozens of soldiers invaded the village, while the locals were holding Friday noon prayers in Omar Bin al-Khattab mosque.
He added that the soldiers invaded several homes and occupied their rooftops before the locals began the weekly procession.
Many Palestinians then hurled stones at the invading army jeeps, before the soldiers fired gas bombs and concussion grenades, causing dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The soldiers also abducted a young man, identified as Ma’an Amer, and took him to an unknown destination.
The protests in Kufur Qaddoum started eighteen years ago after the soldiers closed the main town’s road and barricaded it, to allow easy access for the colonists driving to and from the illegal Kedumim colony, which was built on stolen Palestinian lands.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Injure Dozens Of Palestinians Near Nablus
IMEMC, JUL 16, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers injured, Friday, at least seven Palestinians with live fire, and caused dozens to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation in Beita and Beit Dajan towns, south, and east of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Local sources said dozens of Palestinians held the weekly nonviolent processions on their lands protesting their illegal takeover and the constant attempt to confiscate more lands for the benefit of the illegal colonialist activities.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said one Palestinian was shot with live Israeli army fire, and two with rubber-coated steel bullets in addition to many who suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, in Sbeih Mountain in Beita.
The PRCS added that four Palestinians were shot with rubber-coated steel bullets and dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation after the soldiers attacked the protesters on their lands in Beit Dajan.
On Friday, June 11th, the soldiers killed a child, identified as Mohammad Sa’id Hamayel, 15, after shooting him with a live round in the heart, and injured more than 110 Palestinians, including 11 who were shot with live rounds, after the army attacked nonviolent protesters in Jabal Sbeih mountain.
Israeli Occupation Soldiers Injure Many Palestinians In Hizma
IMEMC, JUL 16, 2021
Israeli occupation soldiers injured, Friday, several Palestinians during a nonviolent procession against the illegal takeover of Palestinian lands to pave a new road for the army and the colonialist settlers in the ath-Thaghra area, west of Hizma town, northeast of the occupied Palestinian capital, Jerusalem.
Media sources said the Palestinians marched carrying Palestinian flags and chanting against the escalating Israeli violations and the ongoing occupation and headed towards their lands to perform noon prayers on them, for the third consecutive week.
They added that the soldiers attacked the Palestinians with rubber-coated steel bullets, wounding at least one, in addition to firing many gas bombs, causing many to suffer the effects of tear gas inhalation.
The Palestinians were also protesting the illegal takeover of dozens of Dunams of their lands in the area, and the Israeli restrictions preventing the farmers and the shepherds from entering their farmlands and grazing areas.
Joint militias: How illegal Israeli settlers and soldiers teamed up to kill four Palestinians
IMEMC, July 17, 2021
A Local Call investigation reveals how on a single day in May, Israeli settlers and soldiers cooperated in attacks that left four Palestinians dead. The unprecedented spate of joint assaults has inaugurated a new era of terror.
Nidal Safadi was a quiet man, his neighbors said. He lived in Urif, a Palestinian village of several thousand people in the West Bank. Just 25, Safadi had three children with his wife and a fourth, a girl, on the way.
Urif is not always quiet. With the Palestinian city of Nablus less than 10 miles away, the occupying Israeli military established a base on a nearby hilltop in 1983. A year later, it was turned over to civilian purposes: part of Israel’s illegal settlement program in the Palestinian territories. Since 2000, the settlement, called Yitzhar, has been home to a yeshiva known for its hard-line Jewish nationalist views; the settlement has become known for its extremism. The so-called outpost settlements it has spurred — illegal even by Israeli law, but nonetheless defended by the Israel Defense Forces — have gradually encroached on villages like Urif. Over the past 10 years, settler aggressions have given rise to violent recriminations between the Israelis and Palestinians living nearby.
On May 14, though, Urif was calm — unlike much of the West Bank. In dozens of places around the territory, Palestinians protested against recent Israeli provocations: police storming Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and heavy bombardment, in response to Hamas rocket fire, of the Gaza Strip.
“There were many protests in the area, but Urif was quiet,” said Mazen Shehadeh, head of the village council. “It is a small village and the residents stayed indoors. Had the settlers not arrived to attack the houses, nothing would have happened.”
Shehadeh said a group of settlers arrived at about 2 p.m., along with six soldiers, and began wreaking havoc. “The settlers uprooted almost 60 fig and olive trees,” he said. “Then they attacked the school with stones and broke its solar panels.” The damage was still evident when I visited a month after the attack. “While the settlers did all of that, the soldiers covered for them by gunfire,” Shehadeh continued. “The soldiers led, gave orders, everything looked coordinated. The soldiers pointed for the settlers, where to go, where to uproot, and then they shot at anybody who tried to get close. After a few minutes, residents came to protect the village.”
One of the villagers who arrived was Nidal Safadi. “Nidal arrived at the school terrified,” said his brother, who asked that his name not be used for fear of retribution. “We have relatives who live nearby, and the mosque’s loudspeaker announced that the settlers were attacking, so he ran.”
Photos and videos from the scene show settlers and soldiers from the IDF aiming their weapons toward the Palestinian villagers. One video, obtained by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, shows a shirtless settler with a face covering walking around and chatting with nearby soldiers. At one point, the settler, armed with an automatic rifle, stands directly in front of a solider, takes aim toward the villagers, and opens fire. Other photos show settlers and soldiers alike with weapons raised.
Amid the chaos, Safadi was struck by four bullets in the chest and abdomen, according to Shehadeh. He died of his wounds.
“We do not know whether it was a settler or a soldier who shot him,” Shehadeh said. “We had many who were wounded by gunfire that day. Nine people were hurt: one in the abdomen, another was shot three centimeters from his heart. And there was Nidal, who got killed.”
Shehadeh went on, “It was a planned attack. Revenge, not a confrontation. We used to have clashes every day and it never looked like that. They didn’t use live ammunition before, only tear gas and rubber bullets. Also, more soldiers used to be present.”
Safadi’s death was one of 11 violent killings of Palestinians in the West Bank on May 14, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. While Israeli media reported that the killings occurred amid “clashes” — implying the widespread protests over Al-Aqsa and the Gaza bombings — at least four of the deaths occurred during deliberate attacks by settlers and soldiers on Palestinian villages, an investigation by Local Call and The Intercept found.
The joint attacks by Israeli settlers and soldiers were not linked to protests in the targeted villages; no demonstrations preceded the violence in three of the four locations. The incursions all occurred at almost the same time, around 2 p.m., and all involved the settlers destroying agricultural land, including by setting fires, as well as stone throwing and the use of live ammunition.
Attacks on Palestinians by stone-throwing settlers, as Israeli soldiers stand idly by, are a common occurrence in the occupied Palestinian territories. But scenes like those from May 14 — settlers and soldiers attacking villages in apparent cooperation, with live ammunition — are unprecedented.
“The only way I can describe this is by calling it militias,” said Quamar Mishirqi-Assad, an attorney and a partner in Haqel-Jews and Arabs in Defense of Human Rights, an organization that works in the Israeli court system to represent Palestinians who have faced settler violence. “These cases, in which soldiers enter villages together with settlers, and in which there is massive gunfire by settlers — this is unprecedented.”
Five such attacks on May 14 left four Palestinians dead. One was killed in the village of Asira Al-Qibliya, in the Nablus area; another in Iskaka, near the Israeli settlement Ariel; a third in the village Al Reihiya, in South Mount Hebron; and Nidal Safidi in Urif. In the fifth village, Burin, which is also near Nablus, a similar attack ended without any deaths.
Videos, photographs, and villagers’ testimonies of the attacks indicate that, in at least three cases, Israeli settlers and soldiers acted as a combined fighting unit, effectively working as a joint militia attacking civilians and firing interchangeably at Palestinian residents. Coordination between the military and settlers is a burgeoning political issue in Israel: On Tuesday, 100 former combat soldiers sent a letter to Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz demanding he take action against settler violence that they themselves had witnessed during their service. “In the past year, settler violence has intensified and manifested in, among other things, property destruction, stone throwing, and physical violence against Palestinians,” the former soldiers wrote. “We are the ones who witnessed how the ‘lords of the land’ behave unrestricted and what this violence looks like on the ground. We were sent to defend them but were not given the tools to deal with them.”
Local Call and The Intercept sent a detailed description of our findings to an IDF spokesperson, including photographs and footage. The spokesperson said the cases “are under processes of checking and investigating.” Though the IDF spokesperson declined to comment on many of the specifics, they acknowledged, in response to one of the photographs showing a settler closely interacting with an IDF officer in Urif, that the settler was in the area without permission.
No autopsy was carried out on Safadi’s body, nor on those of the other Palestinians killed that day, so there is no way of determining whether soldiers or settlers were responsible for the deaths. Israeli police have not announced any inquiries into the killings.
Despite the common timeframe and modus operandi, there is no evidence that the May 14 attacks were coordinated. Some settler ideologues, though, did note the confluence of events. Zvi Sukot, a spokesperson of the settlement Yitzhar and a rising online star of the movement, posted photos from some of the incidents on Facebook. The photos he shared show, among other things, a dead Palestinian with a bullet in his head and another with a bleeding chest, as well as a host of bodies lying prone in various settings.
“The security situation in Samaria is excellent. No need for protests!!” Sukot wrote in his Facebook post, asking his fellow settlers to stay at home. He used the common Israeli term “Samaria” to describe the northern West Bank. There are “casualties, lots of people injured and serious trauma on the Arab side,” he wrote. “In all my years in Samaria, I do not remember the army being that determined.”
Many village residents interviewed by Local Call and The Intercept attributed the attacks to “revenge” by both soldiers and settlers — apparently for protests against the Israeli assaults on Al-Aqsa and Gaza, as well as unrest in “mixed” cities inside Israel. The incursions fit into a pattern of so-called price tag attacks, where settlers launch retributive assaults on anyone deemed to be even remotely viewed as an obstacle to their movement.
The yeshiva in Yitzhar, near Urif, was instrumental in formulating the religions justification for “price tag” attacks. The concept gained notoriety among some Israeli Jews because it rationalized attacks against the Israeli military in rare cases where, for instance, the IDF was used to evacuate settlement outposts. The most common targets of “price tag” attacks, however, are Palestinian civilians. On May 14, soldiers were far from being targets or even ineffectual bystanders. Instead, they were active participants and collaborators in the joint assaults.
“The army now perceives the settlers as an auxiliary fighting force,” said Mishirqi-Assad, the human rights lawyer. “The cooperation is more transparent. No one is ashamed of it. The soldiers see the settlers as a backing force, it is very noticeable. And the settlers, too, are more fearless. It’s clear that things have become more organized over the last year.”
Asira Al-Qibliya: ‘They wanted to unload their rage’
Just a few miles away from Urif, in the Nablus Governorate, lies the village of Asira Al-Qibliya. Atop a nearby hill sits the outpost of Ahuzat Shalhevet, overlooking the outskirts of the Palestinian village.
On May 14, Hussam Asaira, 19, along with other young people from the village, responded to a settler incursion. At around 2 p.m., according to accounts from village residents, a group of soldiers and armed settlers arrived together. The settlers began throwing stones at the houses near the edge of the village.
“It was a tough attack,” said Hafez Saleh, head of the village council. Saleh was standing on the roof of his sister’s house, watching events unfold and snapping photos. “About 20 settlers came — half of them armed with rifles — and 12 soldiers escorted them. Youngsters from the village were called to come and protect the houses.”
A few young men arrived and started throwing stones at the settlers, Saleh said. The settlers fired “very intense” volleys of live ammunition. Then the soldiers joined the shooting.
“I shouted to the soldiers, ‘Stop shooting! You are near people’s homes!’” Saleh recalled. “I addressed one of them in Hebrew and told him that he just needs to get the settlers out of the village and it will all be over. He said, ‘That’s not my job.’ In other words, it was clear that the soldiers were there to cover for the settlers and protect them. They wanted to unload their rage on the people, as revenge. They were determined to kill. I felt that their goal on that day was to kill as many Palestinians as possible.”
Saleh filmed the incident. The footage, published by B’Tselem, shows a group of Israeli soldiers and civilians — all armed, and the settlers with their faces covered — standing together in a field. One settler jaunts away from the group, fires a few rounds at Palestinians, and then goes back to the soldiers. To one side, a settler throws stones at a Palestinian home; another runs in the field with his gun drawn. The confrontations lasted around four hours, winding down around 6 p.m. The soldiers retreated several hundred meters to a nearby hill, toward Ahuzat Shalhevet, the settler outpost.
“There were no longer clashes or stone throwing,” Saleh said. The atmosphere on the video still appears tense. “One soldier, who was standing far away, went down to the ground and took aim at the youngsters,” Saleh said. “I shouted at them to be careful. And I screamed to the soldiers, ‘Enough! There is nothing going on anymore!’” In the video, the soldiers and the settlers are standing on the hill, about 300 meters away from the young Palestinians. A villager standing next to Salah says in Arabic, “They want to shoot.” Saleh’s voice can be heard shouting a warning to the young people: “Go back, go!”
They all start running away — except Hussam Asaira. His back to the soldiers, he keeps walking along the wall, a white Covid-19 mask covering his nose and mouth, seeming not to notice what was going on. “Then there was a shot,” Saleh recalled. Asaira stumbles, then collapses. Fellow villagers catch him and carry him out of view. Asaira was taken to the hospital, where he died of his injuries.
Iskaka: ‘The first time one of our residents was shot’
Iskaka is a small village with a population of 1,000. Nearby is the mega-settlement of Ariel, one of only four settlements to have grown large enough to enjoy status as an Israeli city and, of the four, geographically the farthest into the West Bank.
When the settlers and soldiers came on May 14, Awad Harb, a 27-year-old husband and father, was at a friend’s home. Harb and his friend heard a call from the local mosque about the incursion, said the friend, Mouid, who asked that his full name not be used for fear of retribution. They ventured out to see what was happening. “It all happened within 10 minutes,” Mouid told me.
The incursion into the village had been unprovoked, eyewitnesses said. “It started at 2 p.m., when settlers attacked the village,” said Nabil Harb, Awad’s brother. “They came in and stood by the municipality building, armed. They came deep into the village.”
“I’m 57,” Nabil Harb said. “I was born here. Nothing like this ever happened before. On that day, everybody was at the mosque and then went back to their homes, to rest, to have lunch. And then the settlers came. They came to kill.”
When I arrived in Iskaka a month after the attack, Fauzi Lami, the head of the local council, took me on a tour in his car. “Up until then, it was a normal day,” he told me as we drove around. “Settlers never came in here before.” The soldiers and settlers came as a convoy, he said. “They walked between the houses and shot at water tanks. Residents locked themselves in. The call came from the mosque, through the loudspeaker, for the young men to come out and defend the village.”
Nabil Harb noted that only three soldiers were present. “All the rest were settlers, Israeli civilians,” he said. “Young people from Iskaka arrived and started throwing stones at the soldiers and the settlers.”
Mouid showed me where he and Awad Harb had walked out into the street. “Here is where he was shot,” Mouid said, gesturing at a sewage cover between two houses, about 600 meters from the hamlet’s entrance. Black bloodstains were still visible on the ground beneath the white flecks of sand. Mouid said that the shooter was a civilian — an Israeli settler — but documentation of the claim was hard to come by. “He stood there, with two soldiers,” Mouid said, pointing down the road, “and shot a bullet from 18 meters range.”
Harb collapsed and bled out. He was later pronounced dead.
“This was the first time in Iskaka’s history that one of our residents got killed,” said Lami, the village council head, referring to the fact that no residents had been killed by Israelis inside the village’s borders. “We never had any confrontation.”
Lami said, “We are all in mourning now.”
Al Reihiya: ‘We have no one to protect us. Nobody.’
The attack on the Tubasi family, in South Mount Hebron, also came on May 14. As Local Call and the Israeli National Broadcasting Corporation’s Kan News previously reported, a group of settlers, accompanied by soldiers, arrived in the village of Al Reihiya around 2:30 p.m. The settlers began vandalizing villagers’ properties and setting their fields on fire.
Ismail Al-Tubasi, a 27-year-old villager, went to put out a fire on his family’s land. A group of settlers then ran toward him, according to his brother and nephew. Suddenly, five shots rang out. Jamal Al-Tubasi, Ismail’s nephew, found his uncle lying on the ground bleeding. Ismail urged his nephew to escape; settlers were still nearby. Jamal saw axe-wielding settlers approaching, so he ran.
Eventually, help was able to reach Ismail. As he was being taken to the hospital in the nearby city of Yatta, however, Jamal noticed something: Ismail had deep wounds on his face. Those wounds, the nephew said, were not there when he’d first spoken with his uncle in the field. “The one thing I’m sure of is that when I reached my uncle, after his first injury, his face was clear of wounds,” said Jamal.
The hospital workers were unable to save Ismail Al-Tubasi. In a post-mortem photo, deep wounds are visible on Ismail’s face. According to the hospital report, he was killed by a bullet that penetrated the back of his head; the face injuries were caused by “sharp tools.” (Kan and Local Call were told by military sources that Israeli soldiers were present, but when they arrived on the scene Ismail was already injured. Ha’aretz reported that the Tubasi family tried to file a complaint about the shooting at Hebron’s police station, but the Israeli police has not opened an investigation.)
When I arrived in Al Reihiya, 10 days after the shooting, the Tubasi family’s lands were scorched. Khaled Al-Tubasi — Ismail’s brother and Jamal’s father — invited me into his home and, in a small, darkened room, offered tea with a shaking hand. The death of his brother had led him to discomfort, both bodily — he was physically tight with rage during my visit — and morally. He was reconsidering everything, from the peace process to his job as a Palestinian police officer. “I work for the Palestinian Authority,” he exclaimed, “and today I say: I was wrong.”
In the West Bank, where Mahmood Abbas’s Palestinian Authority rules with a heavy hand, only the security forces are allowed to possess firearms. Increasingly, though, Palestinian police are accused of acting as a brute force on behalf of Abu Mazen, Abbas’s nom de guerre. The police frequently crack down on protests and are often said to be acting as a de facto arm of the Israeli occupation — keeping Abbas in power and keeping the peace for Israel.
“Abu Mazen’s way is a mistake,” Khaled Al-Tubasi said. “The security coordination — it is all a mistake.” He said, “Palestinians need weapons to protect themselves. We have no one to protect us. Nobody.”
Burin: ‘I was afraid the settlers might burn the house’
Muhammad Amran lives in the eastern end of the village Burin, near Nablus. At 2 p.m., on May 14, he heard an explosion. His neighbor Abu Al-Atsi’s car was on fire.
“Dozens of armed settlers were standing there,” Amran said. “They had set the car ablaze, 200 meters away from me. Only girls live in the house over there, both their parents are dead. So I hurried over to put the fire out. I work as a firefighter with the Palestinian Authority, and I have fire extinguishing equipment.”
The settlers, Amran said, had come from Givat Ha-Ro’eh, a nearby outpost that was illegally built on Palestinian lands. The Israeli High Court had previously ruled that the outpost should be closed down, but enforcement of the ruling has been intermittent, at best.
A few minutes before the car was set ablaze, dozens of young men from Burin arrived to defend the village. They threw stones at the settlers, who responded by firing live ammunition. “The settlers had the lead. The soldiers only protected them: shot tear gas at us, rubber bullets, and live ammunition,” Amran said. “When the youngsters arrived, one of the settlers turned toward them and started shooting randomly. He just sprayed them, without looking where he was shooting, without taking aim. Nobody went near him — and he shot like a madman.” Residents said seven of villagers were hit that day by live ammunition, but no one was killed.
As Amran was trying to extinguish his neighbor’s burning car, settlers descended on his home. “First they tried to get into the house, but they couldn’t, because my wife locked the door,” he said. “So they broke everything from outside. They smashed the solar panels, the pipes, the air conditioner outside, and the security cameras. Then they got on the roof of my house, with my family still in it, and started attacking other villagers.”
In a video filmed by one of the village residents, four settlers can be seen, their faces covered, standing on Amran’s roof and throwing stones. Eight armed soldiers are standing near the house — also with their faces covered.
“I went crazy with worry. I have three children, and they were all at home when it happened. I have two girls and a boy,” Amran said. “The army stopped me from getting near the house, where the settlers were standing. I tried from all directions. I called my wife and said, ‘Get out so you don’t get suffocated by tear gas.’ She said she was scared. She didn’t want to open the window and let the gas get in. I said to the soldier, ‘Let me take the children. They will suffocate in there.’ He told me, ‘Go away.’”
“A few minutes later, the settlers broke all the windows of the house, and the tear gas thrown by the army started getting in,” Amran said. “I heard my children screaming and choking over the phone. I was afraid that the settlers might burn down the house, throw a Molotov cocktail in. My wife and the children got into the bathroom, sealed the windows and locked themselves in.”
The family weathered the attack in the bathroom of their home and eventually tried to return to normal, but it proved difficult. “Almost two months have passed since the attack,” Amran said. “My children can’t sleep at night. They wet their beds. I want to do something — sue the settlers somehow — for the trauma they caused my family.”
Urif: ‘When the settler was done, the soldiers gave him more ammunition’
When I arrived in Urif, near Nablus, evidence of the attack that killed Nidal Safadi was everywhere. Entire fields were burned, punctuated with uprooted olive and fig trees. Dozens, if not hundreds, of shell casings were strewn about the road. “All the shooting was out of control,” said a villager, Muntaser Al-Safadi, who witnessed the attack. “They put in a magazine and then emptied it all at once — without taking aim, without stopping — in our direction. Nobody got to throw a stone. They were shooting to kill.”
Shehadeh, the village council head, took me for a tour. We passed by Urif’s school, the site of Safadi’s killing. The school is surrounded by a tall concrete wall, and the playground is covered by a huge, white plastic shed. “It looks like a prison, doesn’t it?” Shehadeh asked when he saw me eyeing the structures, unusual for school grounds. “We built it to protect the children against the attacks of the settlers from Yitzhar. Anything that happens to Jews — no matter what, whether it is in Jerusalem or in Lod — they come here to take revenge.”
On May 14, Shehadeh had watched the attack unfold from one of the nearby houses. He observed as villagers like Safadi raced to the scene, some taking up stones and throwing them at the Israeli soldiers and settlers.
“What would you have done?” Shehadeh said. “Armed people arrive, attack your home, your school. And there is no power to protect you. The soldiers arrive with them and help them.”
Shehadeh had been snapping photos during the attack. Some of them show soldiers and the settlers taking aim with their weapons while standing or lying down in a sniper position. Shehadeh captured several moments of apparent cooperation.
“One of the soldiers gave his weapon to a settler,” Shehadeh said, referring to one of the photos he had taken. A shirtless civilian with his face covered can be seen standing very close to an IDF captain. “They were shooting together,” Shehadeh said. “When the settler was done shooting, he went over to the soldiers and they gave him more ammunition.”
One conspicuous presence in Shehadeh’s photos is a tall, bearded settler wearing a black baseball cap. On the back of the settler’s shirt is the lettering “OSC,” which stands for ongoing security coordinator. Local Call and The Intercept identified the man as Itzhak Levi, the ongoing security coordinator of Yitzhar. In the photos, Levi can be seen wielding a rifle, alternately conversing with soldiers and his fellow settlers. In one photo, he appears to be directing the soldiers’ attention. In another, Levi is standing behind three soldiers, one of whom is taking aim with a rifle-mounted tear-gas launcher. In yet another snapshot, Levi appears to be reloading his own weapon.
I reached out to Levi and asked what brought him to Urif and what he knew about the attack on the village. He refused to respond to my questions. “I don’t remember that date. There were dozens of incidents and riots,” he said. Eventually, Levi became irritated and asked, “What are you getting at? Do you have nothing better to do with your life?” Then he hung up.
Shehadeh’s photographic documents of the day carry with them a sad irony: he is afraid to have his own photograph taken, because he worries he will lose his permit to work in Israel. Many West Bank Palestinians with the permits rely on the elevated wages inside Israel proper. The arbitrary revocation of work permits can smack of retribution, even guilt by association.
Shehadeh’s fears are well founded. It was a common situation in the wake of the attacks: the Israeli government revoking working permits for families of those killed. Two days after Nidal Safadi was killed, the Israeli General Security Service took away the work permits of two of his brothers. In Iskaka, relatives of the slain Palestinian Awad Harb had their work permits revoked by the Israelis. After Ismail Al-Tubasi was killed in the attack on Al Reihiya, members of his family also lost their permits.
Basil al-Adraa contributed reporting to this story.
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