Palestinians' 'night confusion' protests against settlements

Palestinians brave arrest, injury with innovative 'night confusion' anti-settlement protests
3 min read
28 June, 2021
Palestinians in the West Bank are using innovative non-violent techniques in nightly protests designed to disrupt illegal settlement building, risking assault and detention by Israeli forces.
Palestinians use bright lights and torches on the nightly protests [Getty]

Residents of the Palestinian town of Beita, near Nablus, continued a series of nightly demonstrations against the Israeli occupation and settlements in the West Bank on Sunday, using a recently innovated protest technique.

For several weeks, residents of Palestinian towns have carried out non-violent "night confusion" protests against the construction of illegal Israeli settlement outposts in the vicinity of their towns.

Hundreds of Palestinian protesters have gathered as close as they can to the illegal Israeli settlement outposts and disrupted settlers by lighting fires, shining lasers and bright lights, playing drums, and chanting slogans to "confuse" settlers.

On Sunday night, Palestinian youths gathered atop Mount Sabih, a 570-metre mountain near the settler outpost of Evyatar, setting tyres on fire and causing smoke to rise.

Israeli troops gathered in force at the summit, where Israeli settlers had set up tents on land seized from Palestinian farmers.

The settler outpost is due to be removed soon by the Israeli army amid objections from far-right members of the Israeli Knesset.

One protester near Evyatar, Amer Humayel, told The New Arab’s affiliate Al-Araby TV: "We use any tools we have - slingshots, lighters, tires, blowhorns, and fireworks. This is all we have in the face of the [Israeli] army. Whatever we're able to do, we do."

Israeli settlers have in recent months committed an increasing number of acts of violence against Palestinians and built several illegal outposts on land seized from Palestinians.

Protesters in other towns and villages, such as Beit Dajjan east of Beita, have adopted similar techniques.

Al-Araby TV reported that Palestinians taking part in the protests had been assaulted and detained by Israeli soldiers.

On Saturday, several Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces used tear gas against protesters on Mount Sabih, according to the Arabic news website Arabi 21.

Mohammed Abu Thabet, an activist from Beit Dajjan, told Arabi 21 that protesters cut water pipes and electricity cables leading to a nearby illegal settlement outpost.

The 4,500 residents of Beit Dajjan are mostly farmers and they stand to lose over half their land if the Israeli outpost has its status "regularised" by Israeli authorities.

The wild-cat outposts are constructed by settlers, usually on privately-owned Palestinian land, without the permission of the Israeli government. There are currently over 400,000 settlers living in the West Bank and all settlements there - whether built with or without the permission of the Israeli government - are illegal under international law.

Abu Thabet told Arabi 21 that the outpost near Beit Dajjan was established about 10 months ago and that residents of the village had established a committee to defend their land almost immediately.

The activist added that one person had been killed and dozens of others injured or detained by Israeli soldiers in protests, but that the "night confusion" protests had been successful in making sure that the illegal outpost didn't grow.

"Ever since the confusion protests, the number of homes in the settlement outpost hasn’t grown – out of fear of [Palestinian] popular pressure. It’s just a tent belonging to a settler and his family protected by occupation soldiers," he said.