Thursday, October 29, 2020

“Every village has its ups and downs”

By Felix Black - January 28, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Settlers attacks] [Israeli army] [Burin] [steadfastness]

Burin is a village of around 2,500 inhabitants situated just south of Nablus, surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlements Yizthar and Bracha, in addition to an Israeli military base. It is one of countless Palestinian villages throughout the West Bank to be enclosed by Israeli hilltop settlements.

On January 25th, the latest attack on the villagers by the Israeli army took place. 

Following solidarity efforts by internationals, including planting olive trees within the confines of the village, Israeli soldiers took a trip to the village to 'investigate’.

They released me after 19 days, but kept Walid in there for another 9 months

Over the course of the day the road to the village was closed, access was forbidden, and the army began shooting tear gas canisters to disperse and subdue the angered villagers. Ten homes were also reportedly reided.

The village has a history of such incidents alongside settler violence.

Almost weekly there are night raids by settlers and the army, who cut down the village’s olive trees, arrest people at random, and intimidate the villagers from inside their own homes. The settlers repeatedly mob and stone vehicles passing at the village road junction.

During each incident, the village is most definitely on a 'down.’

Walid Eid, on the shoulders of his friends, after being released from an Israeli prison (Photo Adam Whittock)

Yet just over 24 hours after the village’s latest incident, Burin was having an 'up.’

In a miraculous and fantastic upheaval of the village atmosphere, Burin was celebrating the release of 17 year old Walid Eid from an Israeli prison. He had spent 9 months in jail for throwing rocks during a demonstration. 

Thabit Waked, a local theatre actor, was arrested on the same day as Walid, on the 19th April 2012.

“Ten other youths were arrested on that same day – and I was one of them,” Thabit said. “They released me after 19 days, but kept Walid in there for another 9 months. They [the Israeli army] are doing these things without cause or reason.”

Walid’s uncle, Abdulkareem Abu-Hamdeh described the feeling of having him back in the village.

“It is wonderful. There is much joy here today. The army stop him even after he was released, but thankfully he is here now!”

Walid’s expected return was delayed by two hours as the Israeli military stopped him on his journey back to the village, much to the villagers apparent amusement. 

The villagers participated in an hour long session of dabke dancing to loud Arabic music booming from a set of large speakers. Food and coffee was given out and Walid was paraded around the village on the shoulders of his friends.

The indulgence and excitement gives relative relief to the beleaguered villagers.

Abdulkareem added “I have also been arrested, in 2010 for 10 months. It is very bad here sometimes. But every village has its ups and downs!”

Further international solidarity efforts are scheduled, despite Israel’s retaliatory attitude. The villagers welcome the activists into their village regardless; some help and attention is seemingly better than no help at all. 

The fact that there are 'ups’ alongside the 'downs’ of Burin, like so many villages in the West Bank, is truly testament to the profound spirit of the Palestinian people under occupation. 


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