One week in the lives of Palestinians in Masafer Yatta area– May 29-June 4, 2022
South Hebron Hills
The devastating implications of the Israeli Supreme Court ruling for the Palestinian communities in the area declared as ‘Firing zone 918’ in Masafer Yatta were made clear this week during a tour of the area, given by DCO officers and the army’s attorney to the lawyer representing the Palestinain inhabitants and local spokesmen. The new confiscation order – also covering the track-road between Bir Al Eid and Jinba – will close off the entire eastern part of ‘firing zone 918’ to Palestinians, and prevent them from entering the village of Jinba. Alongside a military patrol track, a dirt dyke will be raised to the height of 3 meters, preventing the inhabitants from crossing with their vehicles the huge area declared as a firing zone. Already at present, the occupation army operates a manned checkpoint preventing inhabitants of the area from entering Jinba. On Monday, May 30, the army began helicopter practice in the zone, exercising landings and takeoffs between Dakaika and Majaz. That day, soldiers attempted to stop construction work in Dakaika, and 3 immediate demolition orders were issued to inhabitants of Umm Kusa. On Wednesday, June 1, army forces accompanied by heavy equipment raided Fakhit and Mirkaz, where they demolished and confiscated 9 tents, donated to the villagers and used for dwelling as well as shelters for their sheep, following the wave of demolitions in these communities two weeks earlier. 20 family members, 6 children among them, remained homeless. The occupation forces have also started preventing entrance of activists and vehicles into the firing zone: they detained a local teacher at a roadblock and threatened to confiscate vehicles. On Saturday, June 4, villagers and activists held a march from Rakiz to Mufaqara, protesting the Masafer Yatta transfer. The occupation forces dispersed this march violently, using stun grenades, and detained an Israeli activist.
On Sunday, May 29, the Israeli army placed checkpoints at the entrance to Susya and Carmil and prevented teachers from getting to their school. Only after a local activist had intervened, the army enabled the teachers and school children transports to proceed.
On Sunday, colonists invaded a tended Palestinian-owned field in Wadi Tawamin. Police was summoned to the site and a complaint was lodged. On Tuesday, colonists from ‘Havat Maon’ and their flocks invaded Palestinian-owned fields in En Al Beda; The occupation forces refused to intervene. On Thursday, a colonist and his flock from ‘Mitzpe Yair’ invaded the fields of Mirkaz – inside ‘firing zone 918’. On Friday, June 3, a colonist and his flock invaded an olive tree grove and a tended field in Atariya and damaged both trees and grain. The same day, Friday, a colonist and his flock invaded a tended Palestinian field officially closed to Israelis in Umm Al Arais, in full view of soldiers present. A colonist and his flock once again invaded the field in Atariya on Saturday. Activists summoned police, who refused to arrive.
The army escort for Touba children back from their school in Tawane was over an hour late on Monday, and the soldiers instructed the children to proceed alone, unescorted, over more half of the way. On Tuesday, too, the noon escort was over an hour late, and in the morning, soldiers prevented activists from escorting the children, without authorization.