May 22, 2019 – On Friday, 17 May 2019, settlers torched unfarmed fields in Burin and ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah. In both villages the settlers threw stones at the residents’ homes. In ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah, where the area is controlled by military watchtowers, a settler even fired shots in the air. Soldiers nearby did not arrest the attackers and prevented the Palestinians from approaching their burning land.
The torched fields in Burin are situated approximately 400 meters from the village homes, and one kilometer from the settlement of Giv’at Ronen. The military prohibits Palestinians from entering these areas except on predetermined days twice a year. Even then, entry is only possible after coordination with the Israeli DCO.
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At a certain stage the settlers extinguished the fire, probably due to concern that it would spread toward the settlement. Predictably, none of the settlers who torched the area were arrested or investigated, and as always they enjoy almost full immunity. The military even blamed the Palestinians for starting fires in the area of ‘Asirah al-Qibliyah. This complete backing from the state authorities is consistent with Israel’s longstanding policy in the West Bank, under which such acts of violence serve its interests and help it achieve its goals.
B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, strives to end Israel’s occupation, recognizing that this is the only way to achieve a future that ensures human rights, democracy, liberty and equality to all people, Palestinian and Israeli alike. www.btselem.org