For Second Time, Israeli Settler Filmed Expelling Arab Family Having a Picnic

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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Zvi Bar Yosef.
Zvi Bar Yosef.
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

A West Bank settler was filmed trying to eject an Arab family from a public area on Friday, three weeks after being filmed ejecting, with the help of a soldier, an Arab family having a picnic in the same area.

The video of Zvi Bar Yosef, a resident of the nearby unauthorized outpost of Havat Zvi near the village of Jibiya, joins other reports over the past year by Palestinians about being removed from the area.

The unauthorized outpost, partially built on state land and partially on privately owned land, is one of many that have proliferated in the West Bank, which control large tracts and deny access to Arabs. 

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Last month, soldiers told a family of Israeli Arab citizens having a picnic to leave after settlers from the unauthorized outpost called them to the site. In videos of that incident, settlers, including an armed Bar Yosef, are seen demanding that the family leave the area, which is a public site that is not even in the municipal area of any settlement. 

On Friday afternoon, four families lighting a campfire were confronted by five settlers who “began to say in Arabic, ‘Go home,’” said a witness who asked to remain anonymous. “Suddenly one of them poured water on the campfire and began pushing our plastic chairs with his feet and shouted, ‘get out and go home.’

“They had guns. We became extremely anxious and began to look for our children, who were playing nearby,” she said. The family captured only the end of the incident on camera. In the video, Bar Yosef can be heard telling the group to put out the campfire “and get out of here,” and being told in response: “I won’t leave. Don’t use your gun.”

The family called the police to report the incident, and said they packed up their belongings because they were worried about the children. Another witness said he saw one of the settlers push a Palestinian woman. The family said they tried to file a police complaint on Friday, but the police station in Beit El was closed, and they will file it this week. 

During the incident involving the soldiers filmed in February, Ben Yosef, armed with a rifle, is seen grabbing the Arab family’s belongings and pouring out the drinks from their cups on their campfire after they refuse to leave. Ben Yosef then says that they “aren’t Israelis, they’re Arabs,” and “You, we did you a favor when we let you stay.” 

In another case, filmed last August, an armed Bar Yosef demands that a Palestinian family in the area show their ID cards, saying he won’t let them leave without presenting them. A girl is heard crying in the background, while someone tells her in Arabic: “Don’t be afraid of him.”

In yet another video, Bar Yosef and another settler tell a Palestinian picking mushrooms with his family in the area: “This is Palestine? It’s Israel, man.” 

In August, Bar Yosef filed a lawsuit against the Kerem Navot organization, which reports on settlement activity in the West Bank, demanding 70,000 shekels in compensation over a Facebook post calling him a “violent settler” who attacks Palestinians and does illegal construction.

In its defense brief, the organization provided a long list of incidents attributed to Bar Yosef, as well as a response from the Civil Administration, the government authority that implements civilian policy in the West Bank, to a request from a lawyer concerning illegal construction in the outpost. According to the response, the structures in Havat Zvi were issued final demolition orders in February of 2020.

Bar Yosef declined to answer questions from Haaretz.

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