Affidavit No. 4461/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, As'ad Abdul Karim Theeb Lolah, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 939310231, born on 2 August 1950, a worker and a resident of the 'Awarta village, Nablus Governorate, would like to declare the following:

At 11:00 am on 14 September 2008, I was present in front of my house east of the village of 'Awarta. At a distance of about one kilometre to the east, I saw some smoke rise from an olive grove southwest of the settlement of Itamar and approximately 100 metres away from the last house in the said settlement.In late 1970, the settlement was constructed on land belonging to the village of 'Awarta and the town of Beit Furik. As the weather was clear, I could see four settlers who wore white clothes. I clearly saw them move around and set fire to a number of olive groves belonging to several residents of our village 'Awarta. Meanwhile, I saw a small car with a cabin belonging to settlers come from a side road northeast of the said settlement. The car stopped several metres away from the settlers. In less than five minutes, a strong fire erupted in four spots. Along with the car, settlers rode bicycles and withdrew to the settlement.

About half an hour later, I saw an Israeli patrol arrive from the eastern area of the settlement and stop at a distance of about 50 metres from the fire. A number of soldiers stepped out of the patrol, looked at the fire, and did not do anything. As I saw the fire destroy many olive trees, I immediately called the village council using my mobile telephone and related the incident. I told members of the village council that the settlers burned down a number of olive trees belonging to several citizens in our village.

Two minutes later, I also called the Nablus municipality's Fire Department in  the village of Burin. I told the person who received my call what I had seen, and that the fire was now spreading to adjacent olive groves. I requested that fire engines arrive and extinguish the fire. The person who answered my call told me that they coordinate with the relevant Israeli authorities through the Palestinian Authority in order to allow them to access the area, which is classified as “Area C” under the Oslo Agreements.

Around an hour later, I saw a fire engine from the Burin Fire Department arrive at the eastern area of the settlement and stop near the Israeli army patrol. An hour after they arrived, I saw firemen try to control the spreading fire. They had to work for two hours before they could extinguish the fire. On the next day, owners of the affected groves told me that more than 400 olive trees had been burnt down by the time the firemen had finally controlled the fire. The damaged trees had been cultivated for over 50 years.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 4461/2008
  • Field researcher: Yousef Qawareiq
  • Affidavit Date: 13 November 2008
  • Name: As'ad Abdul Karim Theeb Lolah
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