Abu Ali, a farmer from the village of Sinjel, Ramallah district has been enduring settler violence for years now. He and other farmers whose land is adjacent to surrounding Israeli illegal settlements are assaulted whenever they go to tend their land. “A few days ago,” Abu Ali narrates, “fanatic Israeli settlers affiliating with the Hilltop Youth harshly beat a Palestinian farmer while he was planting olive trees in his land. His survival was a miracle.”
The village of Sinjel, is surrounded by the illegal settlements of Shilo, Shivout, Ma’alee Libouna, Eli and Rahail. Israeli settlers seek to cut Palestinians’ connection to the remaining agricultural land they have not yet taken over to expand settlements.
The violence of armed settlers, under the protection of combat-ready Israeli soldiers is a daily incident that Palestinians across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem encounter.
In the village of Al-Luban Asharqiyya in the Nablus district, Israeli settlers harass Palestinian students from the village on their way to and back from school. Backed by armed soldiers, settlers usually block off students’ access to school. Sometimes, hundreds of students miss their classes due to Israeli-imposed restrictions on their movement. In response to that, Palestinians staged a protest in the village today. Israeli soldiers suppressed the protesters by firing tear gas against them. Four protesters were injured due to hurling tear gas canisters.
Illegal settlers raid the village of Al-Luban Asharqiyya on a daily basis, assault Palestinians and perform religious rituals as they claim a divine right to the village.
In Jerusalem, divinity is also used to justify Israeli appropriation of Palestinian history, culture and land. As part of Israeli relentless attempts to Judaize Jerusalem, dozens, and sometimes, hundreds of Israeli settlers invade the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound every day. Last week, for example, 900 bigoted settlers performed Talmudic rituals in the mosque and harassed Palestinian worshippers while they were escorted by Israeli soldiers. By invading the Al-Aqsa Mosque every day, the Israeli occupation authorities seek to temporally and spatially divide the mosque between Palestinians and Israelis, similar to the current situation in the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron.
While tens of Israeli settlers were invading the Al-Aqsa Mosque today, other settlers protested in front of the Israeli court in support of the Israeli murderer of Iyad Al-Halaq in Jerusalem. Iyad, 32, is an autistic Palestinian man who was shot dead by an Israeli soldier in the Old City of Jerusalem in May, 2020.
The protest was called for by Itamar Ben Gvir, the Israeli Knesset member who decided to move his ‘office’ by setting up a tent on the land of the Salem family in Sheikh Jarrah. For more than 13 days since he has set up the tent, Israeli settlers and soldiers continue to brutally assault Palestinians in the neighborhood.
The Salem family is one of tens of other Palestinian families threatened with Israeli imminent ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah. Although the Israeli court issued a freeze on the expulsion of the family, which was supposed to take place on March 2, the family remains under the threat of expulsion at any moment.
Not far away from Jerusalem, in the village of Hizma, an Israeli settler opened gunfire into a Palestinian vehicle and injured two brothers who were inside the vehicle on February, 25. Muhammed and Jawad Abu Khadija from Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Jerusalem explained that they had a traffic accident with an Israeli settler near Hizma checkpoint. Immediately after the accident, the Israeli settler, who was holding a rifle shot Muhmmed in the abdomen and Jawad in the foot.
Due to state-sanctioned settler attacks along with with the Israeli soldiers’ violence, Palestinians are deprived of any sense of safety. Daily coordinated acts of violence between settlers and the army aim to cement and intensify the takeover of Palestinian land.