This is Not Extraordinary

This is Not Extraordinary

UPDATE: THERE HAVE BEEN 3 MORE ATTACKS ON THE VILLAGE OF URIF IN THE PAST TWO WEEKS

Today, November 8, we were interrupted on a quiet day of writing and researching by a call from our coordinator. A village near to Huwarra had seen settler violence and could we go and report please?

It was calm when we arrived. Adel Amer, a worker at the municipality, welcomed us and showed us the film that he had taken that morning with his Human Rights hat on: he has a camera from B’tselem, the Israeli human rights organization that helps Palestinians to document human rights abuses. At great risk he had driven over and filmed three quarters of an hour of violence and injury at close quarters. 

Adel Amer

Adel Amer

The village is situated horribly close to the settlement of Yitzar, which has a fearsome reputation for violence across the whole of the West Bank. The settlers came over the hill,  about thirty masked young men throwing stones.  They attacked the village water tank and the boys’ secondary school. Pupils and teachers came out to chase them away, throwing stones back. This situation lasted for at least ten minutes until the army finally showed up over the hill, along with the head of security from Yitzar settlement, brandishing an automatic weapon. However, the soldiers did nothing to prevent the ongoing attack.

The film we watched lasted for about three quarters of an hour. Soldiers fired live bullets and rubber coated bullets at children and teachers. The head of Urif security fired tear gas and possibly ammunition. The settlers threw stones, attacked a car and carried large sticks. Children threw stones back, huddled behind houses (from which the families had long evacuated).

Four children and an adult were injured, from live bullets, rubber coated steel bullets and gas inhalation.  Two were hospitalized.

Victim of Attack in Urif

Victim of Attack in Urif

Two were hospitalized.

What is shocking is the sight of the army chatting and laughing with settlers and contributing with live fire to this violence against unarmed children in their own village. What is shocking is how ordinary this violence is, happening at least monthly. This summer a similar attack led to the death of a young man, and we saw where he fell. What is shocking is that schoolchildren take slings in their schoolbags to defend their own school.

What is shocking is that the man with the camera documents, we document. But is anybody watching?