'Awarta, Burin (Yitzhar), Huwwara, Huwwara DCO, Za'tara (Tapuah), Thu 21.7.11, Morning
No soldiers were seen at any of the checkpoints on the roads. One military jeep was parked in the center space and some soldiers were standing there.
No soldiers in sight. The watch tower by the road to Elon Moreh was empty.
10:10 DCO Headquarters
We went to the DCO headquarters outside Huwwara to meet M. and talk to him about the events in Burin.
On the morning of June 30, as M. sat outside his parent's house, he saw a white van on road 60, driven by a woman, stop on the road to the Yitzhar settlement. All the doors of the van were open - even the baggage compartment. Immediately, as the van stopped, 15-16 young men, with masked faces, jumped out of the van and the woman continued on into Yitzhar. M. took his camera and in his car headed for road 60, where he could see the settlers.
Two minutes later an Israeli police jeep stopped at the road to Yitzhar; the men had disappeared into the grove of olive trees belonging to farmers in Burin. The policeman shouted to the settlers, "Go home! Go home." And then the police jeep left the area. M. was filming it all with his camera. The settlers poured gasoline on the trees and set fire to the grove. The fire spread to fields in the direction of Huwwara. By the time the Israeli firefighters arrived the fire had spread quite close to Huwwara. If the fire had spread toward the settlement they would have put it out; since it spread toward the village they did nothing. People from Burin had come out to stop the spread of the fire. They were pelted with rocks by the settlers who had set the fire. Since Burin is in Area C only Israeli police and firefighters can come to aid the villagers.
On July 15, a Friday, before the end of the midday prayers, the first group of settlers from Yitzhar were seen 3 kilometers inside the lands belonging to farmers from Burin. The settlers began setting fire to the groves. Groups of villagers went out to put out the fire and were again pelted with rocks by the settlers. This time soldiers came to see what was happening, but did nothing to help the villagers or to stop the rock throwing. By 15:30 the fire was finally put out. This happened on the south side of the village toward Yitzhar.
That same day, as the villagers were struggling to put out the fire on the south side, settlers from the outpost, Givat Ronen, that is on the north side of Burin, came down to the fields of Burin to set a fire there too, at about 13;00. The villagers called to Huwwara for help, and also to the mayor of Nablus to send volunteers. Two cars of men came from Nablus to help. As on the south side, the settlers pelted the Palestinians with rocks as they put out the fire. They finally succeeded at about 14:00 or 14:30; more quickly than on the south side because there is a road on the north side and help could come more easily and faster.
As M. said, "We have nothing left to burn, except maybe between the houses." M. had come to the DCO headquarters with a number of farmers who were putting in a formal complaint about the fires. We will try to follow up this story.
As we drove back to Huwwara we passed through Awarta and stopped to ask about the arrests made after the killing in Itamar. Our source told us that there are still 15 men being held, even though the murderers had been caught, supposedly.
In Huwwara we stopped to buy falafel and we saw a Palestinian TV cameraman and a reporter filming a demonstration of a few men with hand written signs urging the Palestinians not to buy Israeli products. Minutes later Nadim pulled into the gas station to fill up gas and there was a big Strauss Ice Cream freezer and a big, colorful sign advertising Strauss ice cream products.