BURIN | NABLUS
In this picture, Yusef is seen with his grandson. The background picture and the one below, showing fields outside Burin, were taken by Patrick Zoll in 2010.
In July 2011, an EAPPI team met Yusef, to hear from him about multiple incidents where his trees had been set on fire, reportedly by settlers.
Yusef's family has lived in Burin for
generations. For thirty years he worked as a primary school teacher, and raised ten children.
Between 2000 and 2010, his olive trees were set on fire on three occasions, following which he was left with only the 45-50 trees that are planted in front of his house.
❝For ten years now,❞ he said, ❝we have been suffering from settlers burning the trees. We have also been attacked when we try to harvest the olives.
❝When the trouble started ten years ago, we went to harvest the olives and we were told by the settlement security not to come there anymore.
❝When the olive trees were burned this last time [a few days before the meeting took place], I sent my son to see because I am too old. He told me afterwards that everything was gone, destroyed...
❝The army supports and provides cover for the settlers. We want them to arrest the settlers. They see the settlers and know what they are doing. If one of us hits a settler then we will be arrested, if a settler hits one of us nothing is done. To defend yourself you must stay silent.
❝I have not made any official complaints. The village council has taken the names of all of those who lost trees and report this to the agricultural ministry in Nablus in the hope of compensation.
❝These trees provided extra income for the family. We could produce 40-50 jerry cans (18L each) of oil, which we could then
❝Every year, there is less oil produced as more and more trees are burnt. These trees took 60 years to grow, if we plant new
ones it would take 10 to 15 years to have them mature enough for harvesting. But we cannot plant again because the land is so near the private settlement road.
❝Trees for me are life. I am 77 years old. I planted these trees myself in 1952. After school, I would go straight to the olive trees before I would go home.
❝It pains us in our hearts to see the trees destroyed. The earth is the life of the farmer. My blood is boiling with anger because I see my land burning and I can do nothing.❞