Horror on the Road to Gaza – Why Jewish Settlers Attack Palestinian Trucks

35-year-old driver Ibrahim Al-Razem managed to escape death after more than a hundred Israeli settlers attacked him. (Photo: Supplied)

By Fayha Shalash – Ramallah

They stole the merchandise, attacked the driver then burned the truck, all under the watchful eye, in fact the protection of the Israeli army.

Illegal Jewish settlers have repeatedly blocked humanitarian aid trucks on their way to the besieged and war-torn Gaza Strip from the occupied West Bank. 

Videos circulating on social media showed trucks on fire near Israeli military checkpoints, settlers blocking aid trucks and assaulting Palestinian drivers, as well as throwing boxes of supplies on the ground. 

Observers in the West Bank believe that illegal settlers do not only target humanitarian aid trucks headed to Gaza but every Palestinian vehicle, regardless of its destination. 

The Palestine Chronicle spoke with 35-year-old driver Ibrahim Al-Razem, who managed to escape death after more than a hundred Israeli settlers attacked him while he was driving his truck in the northern occupied West Bank.

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They Tried to Kill Me

Al-Razem, who has been working in transporting goods via truck for seven years, was carrying a load of soft drinks last Thursday from the city of Nablus to the town of Kafr Aqab, near Jerusalem.

Near the Kochav Hashahar illegal settlement, which is located east of Nablus, al-Razem was surprised to find a group of settlers blocking the path of Palestinian vehicles while at the same time, throwing stones at them.

“I tried to change my route, but they immediately surrounded me and began interrogating me about the load,” al-Razem said. 

“I showed them the papers proving that it was an internal cargo for shops in the West Bank. They knew that I was not carrying aid to Gaza, but they asked me if I was Palestinian and began attacking me.”

The attack took place in the presence and under the protection of the Israeli army, who, according to al-Razem’s testimony, pretended to be unable to stop the settlers.

Al-Razem managed to escape by driving away at high speed. The settlers, however, followed him in their vehicles for more than six kilometers.

“When I arrived in the Mikhmas area, east of Ramallah, the settlers were able to intercept my truck and forced me to stop,” the driver explained. 

“Their numbers increased from six to more than 120. They had called for reinforcements from the Kochav Hashahar settlement before chasing me,” he added.

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Brutal Aggression

The hostility was brutal, Al-Razem recounted. 

“They wanted to kill me. Armed and organized militias were trying to kill me. This is what I can say.”

He described how they assaulted him with their hands, feet, and iron batons on the head and back, all the while hurling obscene insults at him. 

Then, the settlers burned al-Razem’s truck, only after looting the entire load.

As soon as the attack subsided, the Israeli soldiers urged the settlers to leave the area, without even questioning them.

Al-Razem was taken to the hospital, where it was determined he had two fractures in the skull, three in the back, a fracture in the shoulder as well as two in the ribs, in addition to deep cuts and bruises.

As a breadwinner, having to provide for his four children, the truck driver will need several months to recover before returning to work.

“With all that happened to me, I thank God I could return to my children and family alive,” Al-Razem said.

He does not intend to file a complaint against the settlers. Palestinians know very well that this could be a waste of time and money because Israeli judges do not sanction Jewish settlers’ crimes.

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It’s Not About Aid

Settlement affairs expert Jamal Jumaa told the Palestine Chronicle that settlers are using the pretext of blocking aid to Gaza to aim at something much deeper.

According to Jumaa, Jewish settlers know full well that the aid heading to the Gaza Strip does not pass through the streets of the West Bank, but through Jordan.

​​He believes that these attacks aim to create a new paradigm by further isolating Palestinians amid aggression and intimidation.

“Jewish settlers forcibly displaced 26 Bedouin communities in the West Bank and regularly practiced terrorism in all its forms without oversight or accountability,” Jumaa stressed. 

“These gangs are fully supported by the Israeli government, and Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich funded them logistically, while National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir armed them with machine guns.”

Jumaa described the settlers as organized gangs that did anything to terrorize the Palestinians to displace them. 

He believes that settler militias are being used to implement the annexation plan that the Israeli government is working on while continuing to enforce a system of apartheid, which besieges the Palestinian population within the confines of their villages and cities.

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Forcing Palestinians to use narrow and rugged secondary roads is a major part of this plan, he said. 

He presumes that if the main roads become too dangerous and Palestinians do not receive any protection from settler attacks, no one will dare to use them.

“This is part of a clear, planned and strategic system that aims at turning everything in the West Bank into settlers’ property,” Jumaa emphasized.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

– Fayha’ Shalash is a Ramallah-based Palestinian journalist. She graduated from Birzeit University in 2008 and she has been working as a reporter and broadcaster ever since. Her articles appeared in several online publications. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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