|Continuous tension around two settlement areas in Nablus
This week, OCHA recorded seven settler related incidents affecting Palestinians, three of which resulted in injuries and four in damage to property; an additional incident resulted in an injury among Israeli settlers.
Tension around the Esh Kodesh settlement outpost, and the Yitzhar and Bracha settlements, all in the Nablus area, continued during the week. On 6 February, armed Israeli settlers from the outpost clashed with farmers, from the adjacent Qusra village, who were working their land, following which, Israeli forces arrived and fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at the farmers. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) indicated that they had provided on-ground medical treatment for at least two Palestinian children who were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets, in addition to many others who suffocated from excessive teargas inhalation. On 9 February, for unclear reasons, the security guard of Yitzhar settlement fired a tear gas canister into the yard of the secondary school of Burin village while students were inside. A few hours later, a group of armed Israeli settlers from Bracha entered the village from another side, triggering clashes with the residents, which ended in no injuries. Palestinians living or cultivating land in the vicinity of these two settlement areas are regularly subject to systematic settler violence and intimidation, severely undermining their safety and livelihoods.
Another two Palestinians were injured this week in separate incidents involving Israeli settlers, including a truck-driver hit by sticks and stones while travelling on Road 60 near Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah), and a farmer was physically assaulted and hit with a gun when he entered his land near Teqoa settlement (Bethlehem).
The largest incident resulting in property damage occurred on 9 February, when settlers from the Giv’at Hara’el settlement outpost uprooted or otherwise damaged 800 olive saplings, which were recently planted in Sinjil village (Ramallah) through a donor-funded project. An almost identical incident took place in the same place on 22 January. Also this week, a Palestinian family discovered 80 olive trees cut-down near Aqraba village (Nablus) on land adjacent to Itamar settlement, which requires prior coordination with Israeli forces in order to be accessed by its Palestinian owners. In Silwan (East Jerusalem), Israeli settlers slashed the tires of 16 parked vehicles owned by Palestinians and sprayed graffiti on one of the vehicles.
Also this week, according to Israeli media reports, three Israeli settlers from Havat Gil’ad settlement outpost (Nablus) were indicted for an attack in Far’ata village in November 2013, during which several Palestinian vehicles were burned.
Also in East Jerusalem, on 9 February, according to Israeli media sources, an Israeli settler was stabbed by a Palestinian near the Old City, following which Israeli forces conducted a search operation in the area.