The 3,000 inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Urif, a dozen kilometers from Nablus, experienced more hours of tension and fear on Saturday. As had happened a few days ago, dozens of settlers from the nearby Israeli settlement Yitzhar went to Urif and threw stones and bottles at residents on the outskirts of the village.
Considered among the most extremist of religious Zionism followers, the Yitzhar settlers on May 19, 2012, raided Urif, resulting in the serious injury of a Palestinian who was shot in the stomach by a bullet. Just a few days ago, other settlers attacked Palestinians and Israeli activists with stones in the Jordan Valley.
The reason for this new raid is the control of land between the village and the colony. The Urif farmers are trying to reach their fields in an area considered by the settlers as part of the safety cordon around their settlement. It is a strip of land Yitzhar wants to annex and that the Palestinians want to recover, by cultivating their fields. The uncultivated land plots near the colonies — in most cases, because the owners can no longer get to them — are regularly declared “public lands” by the Israeli Civil Administration and, some time later, they are made available for the expansion of settlements.