Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Despite court order, Israeli military intimidates villagers in ‘Firing Zone 918’

CPTnet | October 31, 2013

In spite of the Israeli Defense Minister’s acceptance of the mediation proposal by the Israeli High Court to find a solution with the Palestinians [in the region] about the Israeli military’s use of Firing Zone 918, the pressure of the army on the local inhabitants does not decrease.

According to eyewitnesses, on Sunday, 20 October more than 300 soldiers arrived at the Israeli military base close to the villages of Jinba and Mirkez.  Some of them invaded fields between the two Palestinian villages and camped there.  For all the week, they did military drills in the area and invaded the Palestinian villages.  During the drills, soldiers broke into the village of Jinba, entering into private properties, preventing some Palestinian shepherds from grazing their sheep on Palestinian fields, intimidating and scaring the inhabitants. On the nights of Thursday 24 and Friday 25, the soldiers trained around the Palestinian village of Halaweh.  On the night of Wednesday 23, the soldiers entered in the houses of the Palestinian village of Al Mirkez, ransacking homes.

Finally, on Sunday, 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers stopped and detained the Palestinian who drives the school transport jeep around Masafer Yatta for the Palestinian Ministry of Education.  Every day he accompanies the elementary schoolchildren on their way from several remote villages to their school in Al Fakheit village.  The soldiers forced the driver to get out of the car; then they questioned him.  Moreover, the soldiers shouted at him and insulted him, and beat him on his abdomen, face and back.  Later, they forced the driver to get in the car and drive on the spikes used at army checkpoints in order to puncture the tires.

Despite the fact that the Ministry of Defence accepted the mediation with the [South Hebron Hills] Palestinians proposed by High Court of Justice, the Israeli government is continuing its policy of threats against the Masafer Yatta inhabitants.

The Italian peace group Operation Dove lives and works in the South Hebron Hills village of At-Tuwani. Christian Peacemaker Teams, Operation Dove, and EAPPI share responsibility for accompanying a vehicle intended for the transport of school children into an area of the South Hebron Hills the Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918.”  The Operation Dove report has been edited by CPT for clarity.

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Susiya resists mass demolition orders

“We will not give up; to give up is to die”

International Solidarity Movement | June 27, 2013

Susiya, Occupied Palestine – Today, June 27, 2013, the Israeli Civil Administration served thirty-four demolition orders in the Susiya village, which is in Area C and surrounded by the Israeli colony of Suseya.  Due to previous demolition orders, every existing structure in the village is now threatened with destruction if they do not obtain permits by July 17.

Original copies of all the demolition orders served today (Photo by ISM)

Original copies of all the demolition orders served today (Photo by ISM)

The residents of Susiya include more than thirty families, who were all evacuated from their homes in the old Susiya village and forced to relocate 200 meters to the southeast, in 1986.  Susiya residents collaborate with the nearby villages in Masafer Yatta, a closed military “firing zone,” also in Area C and threatened with demolition.  On July 15, a hearing will decide whether all the villages in Masafer Yatta can be evacuated by the military.  Hafez Huraini, leader of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee and himself a refugee from 1948, emphasizes that the villagers in Susiya are targeted simply for existing, so everything they do from grazing sheep to visiting family members in the nearby city of Yatta draws violence from the Israeli military and the local settlers.

Susiya has faced six mass demolitions since the establishment of the Israeli Suseya colony in 1983.  The last wave of demolitions in 2011 repeatedly displaced 37 people including 20 children [1]. Residents of Susiya, most of whom rely on subsistence agriculture, are subject to some of the worst living conditions in the West Bank.  Their houses were destroyed by Israeli forces and they now live in tents and shelters, paying more than five times the price nearby villages pay for water and consuming less than 1/3 of the WHO standard per capita [2].  Settlers have violently denied Susiya residents access to over 300 hectares of their land, including 23 water cisterns.  Documented cases of settler violence include beatings, verbal harassment and destruction of property.  Settlers then annex parts of the land by exploiting the Palestinian owners’ inability to access their land.

Of over 120 complaints that have been filed based on monitoring from Rabbis for Human Rights, regarding settler attacks and damage to property, around 95 percent have been closed with no action taken.  In 2010, when 55 Susiya residents petitioned the High Court to be granted access to their land, the State responded that it intended to map land ownership of the area.  Since then they have only closed to settlers 13% of the land Palestinians have been denied access to, reversing only one incursion [3].

Susiya has been the site of creative non-violent resistance for years, resistance that is continually met with brutality.  Events have included marches, picnics on land likely to be confiscated, and Palestinian “outposts.”  This coming Saturday Susiya will be part of a festival in the South Hebron Hills aimed at raising awareness about the situation of Masafer Yatta residents and stress their right to remain on their land [4].  In the words of Hafez Huraini, coordinator of the South Hebron Hills Popular Committee, “We will not give up.”

Sources:

[1] Strickland, Patrick O. “Palestine’s Front Line: The Struggle for Susiya.” Palestine Note RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 June 2013.

[2] “Susiya: At Imminent Risk of Forced Displacement.” Susiya: At Imminent Risk of Forced Displacement – OCHA Factsheet (30 March 2012). N.p., Mar. 2012. Web. 27 June 2013.

[3] “South Hebron Hills.” Khirbet Susiya. N.p., 01 Jan. 2013. Web. 27 June 2013.

[4] Al Mufaqarah. “Al Mufaqarah R-Exist.” Weblog post. Al Mufaqarah RExist. N.p., 24 June 2013. Web. 27 June 2013.

June 27, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Eight villages face expulsion in Firing Zone 918

CPTnet | March 9, 2013

Imagine that your neighborhood was declared a firing range. You are threatened with forced evacuation. Demolition orders are issued for your home, your church and the school your children attend. Your land will cease to belong to you, and your livestock will be removed.

This is what a thousand Palestinians living in Masafer Yatta face.

Twelve villages lie within the area Israel claims as firing zone 918. Residents of four of the villages have been told they are excluded from the attempted eviction because the ammunition being used by soldiers training for war near their homes is not live. The one thousand residents of the other eight villages, half of them children, could lose their homes, schools, crops and livestock, their mosques and their way of life within the year.

These Palestinian families were forcibly removed by the Israeli military in 1999 and many of their homes, wells and animal shelters were destroyed. Some of the region’s residents returned in 2000 and live under constant threat of home demolition, settler violence and military harassment.

On 16 January 2013 the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition on their behalf and the Israeli court granted a temporary order preventing forcible transferring of the families pending a further decision. The temporary order is all that is currently preventing the forced removal of the families living in Masafer Yatta.

During the past month soldiers have repeatedly driven large vehicles across planted fields, confiscated residents’ cars, cameras, phones and livestock, landed helicopters next to dwellings and livestock, and threatened families with imminent eviction and destruction of their homes. Children in the region find unexplored ordnance as they walk to and from school, and families are awakened during the night by the sound of repeated firing and by military helicopters and jeeps driving near their homes.

March 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment