Rabbis for Human Rights volunteers attacked by settlers in the West Bank

By agency reporter
October 21, 2019

Volunteers from Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) were attacked on 16 October 2019 by masked men from the settlement of Yitzhar as they assisted Palestinian farmers in harvesting their olives in the northern West Bank village of Burin. The attackers wielded metal rods and stones and also started a fire in the harvest area which spread to surrounding groves.

Among the injured was Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, 80 years old, a member of the RHR’s executive board, who suffered an injury to his head and limbs and was evacuated to hospital by ambulance.

RHR’s Executive Director, Avi Dabush: “We will continue with the olive harvest and stand together in the face of violence, bullying and theft. This is the Jewish and moral answer to extreme and violent messianism, and it is the only hope for a future of peace and a shared life.”

RHR volunteers joined Palestinian farmers in the northern West Bank village of Burin for the olive harvest. They were assaulted by a group of masked men who set the groves on fire and beat the volunteers with metal rods. Rabbi Moshe Yehudai, an RHR board member, suffered a head injury and was evacuated to Meir Medical Center in Kfar Saba for treatment. Police and emergency medical services were called to the scene, and the remaining volunteers were evacuated from the area. Earlier in the week, settlers from Yitzhar threatened to harm the Palestinian land-owners, their groves, and their harvest.

Avi Dabush, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights: “The violent attack this morning on Rabbis for Human Rights’ volunteers is another testament to the ‘wild west’ atmosphere of the West Bank led by jealous fanatics from the areas around Yitzhar. We will continue with the olive harvest as we have for the last seventeen years and stand together in the face of violence, bullying and theft. This is the Jewish and moral answer to extreme and violent messianism, and it is the only hope for a future of peace and a shared life.”

For seventeen years Rabbis for Human Rights has harvested olives alongside Palestinian farmers and land-owners. RHR’s assistance helps ensure Palestinian farmers can more safely and completely fulfill their right to harvest their olive trees in the face of the failure of the security forces to address violent extremists and vandals from neighbouring Israeli settlements. The army often unfairly restricts Palestinian access to their agricultural lands, making it difficult for them to complete their harvest, while extremist settlers often trespass on Palestinian land, causing damage to olive trees or stealing olives.

* Rabbis for Human Rights https://rhr.org.il/eng/

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