On Saturday, Duma was torched, again!!! This time backed up by soldiers!

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Daphne Banai (report), Nurit Popper (photos)
Jewish Terror

After the colonist boy Achimeir from the violent outpost Mal’achei Hashalom disappeared, the West Bank burned. Colonists conducted pogroms in dozens of West Bank villages even before the boy’s body was discovered. Together with the army they raided villages, torched, fired shots and terrorized. 9 years ago, the colonists burnt a whole family at Duma village. Only a single child survived the horror. He was then 5-years-old, suffering burns in his entire body. On Saturday that child stood by the window, looked at the flames and cried: “I don’t want to burn”.

Last Saturday, about 500 colonists accompanied by soldiers tried to repeat the horrific crime. They came to Duma at noontime, equipped with much petrol and gas tanks, and torched houses, cars and tractors.

We drove to Duma to document and express our solidarity. We rather feared entering the village that had undergone such a severe trauma. Out of a half-burnt house came towards us two young people, an elderly man and a woman. With incredible friendliness the woman described the horror that the family experience, present with her little daughters at the house’s second story, while colonists torched it. The girls scream, their mother hugging them, the window smashed as a fire bomb is thrown inside and flames take hold of the house’s ground floor. The colonists are not alone - Israel’s occupation soldiers are with them, making sure the Palestinians don’t dare protect themselves. They also burnt the woman’s car and the father’s truck, the source of his livelihood. He has no insurance for it.

We continued to the village center and on our way saw piles of burnt cars and more burnt houses. People waved at us in friendly greeting, although it was obvious to them that we are Israelis. I have never seen in Duma the kind of hatred that moves Jews to torch cars and houses over their inhabitants.

Since October 7th, with the outbreak of war in the Gaza Strip, Israel has been starving the Palestinians of the West Bank as if they had anything to do with what happened in the Israeli localities near the Gaza Strip. Thousands of workers who have built our houses, tended our gardens, worked our fields, are all locked inside the West Bank with a security excuse. As if someone determined to carry out a terrorist attack could not find the right kind of breach… This is sweeping collective punishment, blind vengeance against the entire Palestinian people. No connection to security. Nearly every village and town in the West Bank are blocked with iron gatesinfo-icon and piles of dirt and rocks. The road that enables purchasing water in the areas controlled by the PA, a gate has been placed, and soldiers are supposed to be there, nut they are not. Palestinians are even prevented access to their privately-owned fields and olive groves. All this without any reason and a violation of the law that states that the occupying state must answer to the needs of the occupied people. Not only does Israel NOT answer to their needs, it prevents in every single way the answer to the most basic needs. Is this harassment provide for our security? I think the rage it produces only endangers us more and incites acts of vengeance.


We continued to the Palestinian Jordan Valley. One of the hardest and lengthiest acts of harassment is denial of water. All ground water in the Valley is pumped by Mekorot Israeli water company and nearly all of it handed over to the colonies. The numerous shepherd communities in the Valley are not even allowed to dig water holes to store rainwater. At an area that suffers 40 degrees centigrade heat for seven months of the year, live thousands of people without water. Their solution is to drive a great distance to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and bring home water in old, rusty tankers. Three times a day they travel this way, for they must also water their sheep and goats.

In the summer, even prior to ‘black Saturday’ - October 7th - Israel placed a gate on the dirt track leading to the water source at Atuf. After that day, the army closed the gate and placed soldiers to open several times a day. As expected, the soldiers come when they feel like it, or when they are available, and not at the times agreed upon with the Palestinians. Consequently, Palestinians spend many hours waiting there, in the heat, for even 3-4 hours.

Since war broke out, this gate is used by Palestinian workers employed in the colonies of the Palestinian Jordan Valley.  They come to work in the vineyards and fields at 4 a.m., and at the hottest hour, noontime, wait for hours to get home. A decent employer would accompany them and see to it that they get home without any waiting. But I have never ever seen a colonist coming to persuade the army to get his workers through with any human agility.

There are another 3 such checkpoints in the Valley. Gitit is unmanned most hours of the day and everyone crosses it unhampered. At Hamra (Beq’aot) Checkpoint and Tyassir Checkpoint the Palestinians are delayed for hours at any time of the day and night, as waiting lines stretch endlessly.