Israeli Colonists Burn More Palestinian Lands in Beit Ummar and Safa

Israeli Colonists Burn More Palestinian Lands in Beit Ummar and Safa
Photo 1: Palestinian lands in Safa turned to charcoal due to attacks by Israeli colonists of Bat Ayin
It seems that Israeli colonists from the colony of Bat Ayin (established atop lands stolen from Beit Ummar and Safa Palestinian communities) have perfected the art of burning Palestinian lands in an effort to destroy the agricultural sector in Safa. Setting dunums upon dunums of Palestinian lands ablaze is yet another tactic used by the colonists to force Palestinians to stop using and accessing their lands. Other tactics used included shooting and hitting with sharp objects, yet to no avail as the Palestinian farmers of Safa are eternally attached to their lands despite all of the attacks.

Photo 2: Fires set by colonists devour Palestinian lands in Beit Ummar.
Safa and the Colony of Bat Ayin:
The small village of Safa is located northwest of the town of Beit Ummar and has a population of 3600 Palestinians. The village has a school and a mosque and is administratively serviced by the town of Beit Ummar. The colony of Etzion is located east of the village while the town of Surif is located west of the village. The colony of Bat Ayin is located north of the village and the town of Beit Ummar is located south of it. In addition to the daily confrontation in Safa, the town of Beit Ummar is also surrounded by colonization and by-pass roads as the colony of Karmi Tzur is located south of the town, a by-pass road is located east of the town, the colony of Bat Ayin is located north of the town while a soon-to-be-placed fence on the town’s eastern entrance will increase the closure and the siege of the town. See Map 1
The Violation:
On the 13th of July, 2009, around 150 Bat Ayin colonists snuck under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces to Safa’s agricultural lands in Abu Rish Valley. They were carrying with them fuel canisters that they have used in setting around 150 dunums of agricultural lands ablaze. The high temperature and the strong wind helped to spread the fire to nearby almond trees owned by farmers from the towns of Beit Ummar and Surif.
Photo 3: A Palestinian from Beit Ummar standing perplexed in front of his burnt land

Photo 4: Palestinian firefighters trying to put down the fire.
Sources indicated that the raging fires continued until 4:00 PM when the fire brigade associated with Hebron and Beit Ummar Municipalities managed to control it. Israeli occupation soldiers tried to prevent the Palestinian crews from putting down the fire while tens of Bat Ayin colonists tried to attack and prevent the crews, as well as Beit Ummar residents, from preventing the fire from spreading.
The following table lists the damages sustained by Palestinian land owners from this crime:
Affected Area in Dunums
Type of Ag. Trees
Fathi Ahmad Al Suleibi
Olives, bushes and peach
Mohammad Ahmad Thalji A’adi
Almonds and bushes
Thalji A’adi family
Almonds and bushes
The burning crime was not the first crime perpetrated by the Bat Ayin colonists as a similar burning was carried out by them earlier in the same month. For additional information regarding the previous fire, please press here. The most recent crime came at the prime time of almond and grape harvest which constitutes a main source of income to Safa and Beit Ummar residents. Major economic losses were sustained by the land owners as colonists keep on targeting their livelihood. For additional information on this regard, please refer to this report (On going attacks by Beit Ayin colony settlers against Khirbet Safa under full army protection, 10,July,2009)
Photos 5+6: The damaged trees of the village of Safa
To follow is a list of Israeli violations against Safa farmers during the month of July, 2009:
1.     Israeli occupation forces prevented on the 7th of July, 2009, about 240 European Parliamentarians and mayors who came in solidarity with Safa farmers from entering the town of Beit Ummar.
2.     On the 11th of July, 2009, Israeli Police and occupation soldiers closed the road leading to the village of Safa and to Abu Rish Valley. The soldiers physically attacked Mr. Fahed Abdullah Jaber Al Suleibi while trying to reach his besieged lands in the Valley. The prevention took place despite the fact that prior coordination with Israeli occupation forces was undertaken via the Beit Ummar Municipality as to allow farmers to reach their lands freely.
3.     On the 19th of July, 2009 Israeli colonists from Bat Ayin attacked Palestinian houses in Safa using firearms. Israeli occupation forces, also, invaded the village under the pretext of searching for colonists and to return them to the colony.
For additional information on this regard, please refer to this report.  Beit Ayin colony settlers continue attacks against Khirbet Safa, 01,June,2009


Categories: Settlers Attacks