In a disturbing escalation of violence, settlers fired warning shots and attacked unarmed anti-settlement activists in the South Hebron Hills region of the West Bank on Wednesday. This incident, along with another attack on Palestinians harvesting olives near the village of Burin in the northern West Bank, has been captured on video.
In the South Hebron Hills incident, a group of six anti-occupation activists rushed to a Palestinian village, At-Tuwani, alerted by residents that settlers were demolishing a villager’s vegetable garden and fruit orchard using a tractor. The activists filmed the demolition from a distance, but when they attempted to get closer, one of the men from the group of settlers aimed an assault rifle at them. Despite being unarmed and on private land, the activists were threatened, shouted at, and even shot at as they attempted to document the illegal activity.
Meanwhile, in the Burin incident, a mob of young Jewish men, likely from nearby settlements, stormed through an olive grove outside the village, vandalizing equipment and chasing away Palestinian farmers. Some of the attackers were armed and caused extensive damage, including burning a tractor and stealing farmers’ belongings.
Despite these blatant acts of violence, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Border Police officers present did not intervene effectively, only firing warning shots into the air to disperse the attackers. The IDF later reported that a confrontation between Israeli citizens and Palestinians occurred near the Yitzhar junction, leading to damage to Palestinian vehicles and the detention of several Israeli citizens involved in the incident.
The situation has garnered international attention, with U.S. President Joe Biden condemning the attacks and calling for an immediate end to the violence. These incidents mark a distressing trend of settler aggression against Palestinians, further exacerbating tensions in the region.