Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Family home in Burin attacked with firebombs

By Calum Toogood - November 28, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Burin] [settler violence]

The area where one of the molotovs struck the building. Photo by Calum Toogood.


A series of Molotov cocktails were thrown at a family home in Burin, south of Nablus, late Monday night during a malevolent attack.

The improvised fire bombs were launched at the house of Ghassan Omran, who at the time was within his residence along with his wife and three sons.

“I had been teaching my son English, after my wife had come through to say something was wrong outside the house.  All of a sudden I could see fire outside.” Ghassan explained in an interview with the Palestine Monitor.

Ghassan described how he had immediately rushed to another small window to look outside, but was unable to catch sight of the culprits.

Soon after the incident, Omran contacted the local authorities.  They arrived at the house later that night and stayed for over an hour while they collected information from Ghassan concerning the incident.  They were, however, unable to offer Ghassan the security he wishes to receive against the potential of any future incidents.

Despite the fact that he was unable to see the assailants of the attack, Omran believes that it was settlers from the nearby settlement of Bracha.

Omran told the Palestine Monitor that settlers from Bracha had targeted his house two times before, both incidents occurring one month prior to the most recent.  He also described how his neighbours had been victimised by the settlers in similar ways, two weeks before.

Although there was no severe damage to Ghassan’s property, the implications could have been far worse, since the firebombs struck the house only several feet away from where the house’s gas supply is stored.

Ghassan Omran's gas supply is stored only a few feet away from where one of the molotovs struck. Photo by Calum Toogood.

Such attacks by settlers have become almost commonplace in the village of Burin, which is surrounded by the settlements of Bracha, to the northeast, and Yitzhar, to the southwest.  This area is one of the most renowned districts for such attacks; Yitzhar has been labelled by the UN as one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank.

Residents of Burin experience huge difficulties particularly maintaining their olive trees due to attempts by settlers to destroy the trees and ward the farmers off their land.  During this year’s olive harvest, many residents were attacked by stone throwing settlers, which resulted in the harvesters being expelled from their lands temporarily, interrupting their harvest.

The consequences of such attacks on Ghassan’s residence and on the villagers of Burin can also be seen in the mental health of the children.  Ghassan claims that his children suffer from abnormal levels of anxiety.

Omran, who works as a nurse at a hospital in Salfit, described his fear of leaving his family alone after these attacks:

“My children, they are complaining and have anxiety.  One of them has insomnia.  I am afraid to leave my family alone while I go to work.  My children will not play outside in the evening.  Where is the freedom for my children, for our village?”

Omran believes that his children’s psychological difficulties are a direct result of the village’s intermittent harassment by settlers.

Afraid to let his children walk alone in the village, Omran says that every day he accompanies his three sons to and from their school in Burin.

According to the NGO Medicins du Monde (MdM), such violent settler attacks are having a highly negative effect on the mental health of many Palestinians.

“We met people suffering from depression, anxiety, symptomatic stress and Post Traumatic Stress Disorders. These mental health disorders are heightened by the recurrence of violent events, the impunity of the perpetrators, the sense of injustice felt by Palestinians and their anticipation of renewed abuses” stated Malake El Turk, MdM Field Coordinator for the Nablus area.

MdM is working in the area of Nablus in attempt to minimise the medical and mental health impact of such violent attacks against the Palestinian population.

Ghassan Omran outside his family home with his three sons. Photo by Calum Toogood.

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