RAMALLAH, West Bank — Burqa, a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, has been in a state of extreme alert, due to the repeated attacks by hundreds of settlers on its residents, since the Israeli army announced Dec. 16 that a settler was killed and two others were wounded at the entrance to the evacuated Homesh settlement, located close to the village.
Since then, Burqa, as well as other villages including Sebastia and Silat ad-Dhahr, have witnessed a series of attacks and incursions by settlers, protected by the army, which the Palestinians met with marches and almost daily confrontations, resulting in dozens wounded after live and rubber bullets were fired. The residents of Burqa, which stretches over 1,000 dunams (247 acres) and is home to about 4,500 people, fear that the settlers will return to rebuild the Homesh settlement. The latter was set up over 900 dunams (222 acres) that were confiscated from the village’s lands, and another 50 dunams (12 acres) belonging to the nearby Silat ad-Dhahr village town. The settlement was evacuated by the Israeli authorities in 2005. Shavei Shomron still stands on its land to the south.