Masafer Yatta | International Solidarity Movement
Colonial violence and ethnic cleansing is quickly escalating in Masafer Yatta, a rural region south of Hebron, in the West Bank.
Settler militias are terrorizing Palestinians by invading their villages during pogroms, armed with assault rifles, often wearing Israeli army uniforms and accompanied by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians and ISM activists have reported and documented cases of settlers beating up Palestinian residents, including women, children and the elderly; settlers and soldiers shooting towards Palestinian houses and houses, destroying water pumps and electric grids, uprooting trees and taking up Palestinian fields, planting Israeli flags on Palestinian land and houses, and even forcing Palestinians to sing pro-Israel chants and to wave an Israeli flag while holding them at gun-point and filming them.
Last night, settlers and soldiers invaded the village of Susyia and threatened residents that if they don’t leave within 24 hours, they will be back and start killing Palestinians in the village. A similar threat to residents of the village of Khirbet Zanuta has already resulted in the community leaving the land in order to save their families.
CALL TO ACTION: Residents call on people around the world to “check in” to Masafer Yatta on FB and Instagram in solidarity with the villagers facing imminent violence. This will throw off Israeli security forces tracking the online activities of both Palestinians and local solidarity activists speaking out against settler violence. It will also show settlers and soldiers that the world is watching and that the residents of Masafer Yatta are not alone.
Check out the hashtag #savemasaferyatta and share content on Masafer Yatta from pages like:
What follows is just a summary of some outstanding cases of settler violence
- On October 25th Israeli settlers and soldiers invaded the land belonging to a Palestinian family in Tuwani and used a bulldozer to uproot trees and destroy the family’s garden.
The soldiers then shot a half a dozen warning shots towards ISM and Israeli activists who were filming the scene.
- On October 13th, an Israeli settler invaded Tuwani and shot a Palestinian man in the stomach at point blank range, while being protected by an Israeli soldier. The day before, Israeli settlers dressed in Israeli army uniforms had invaded Palestinian agricultural land, planted Israeli flags and started shooting towards Palestinians and solidarity activists. Israeli soldiers robbed ISM activists of their phones.
- On October 26th, a resident of the village of Khallet al-Dabaa was arbitrarily arrested by Israeli soldiers. When he was released two days later, he showed clear signs of abuse and turture on his body.
- On October 26th, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) flew drones over villages in Masafer Yatta transmitting the following message in Arabic: “We can see you everywhere. Wherever you are, we are coming for you”.
- On October 27th, Settler militias destroyed over 200 trees, along with irrigation pipes, water pumps, electrical cables, and a water tank belonging to local Palestinian residents in the Al-Ain Al-Bayda village in Masafer Yatta.
- They also severed the water supply pipeline for the community in Saddet al-Tha’ala village, while making death threats against local residents.
- The same day, a large group of settlers attacked residents in the village of Susiya, who confronted the colonists and forced them to run away after an outbreak of a fistfight. Several people suffered bruises. The settlers threatened that they would come back at night with Israeli soldiers, and they did.
- On October 28th, armed settlers forcibly removed a Palestinian man from his car, in the village of Umm Al-Khair, and then destroyed his car by throwing large rocks and by shooting at it.
- On the same day, two armed Israeli settlers dressed in Israeli army uniforms assaulted and detained 6 Palestinians, including a 16 year old girl, who got her hand broken by the settlers during the attack.
- On October 29th, armed settlers and soldiers raided the village of Susiya again and threatened Palestinians there that if they did not leave the village within 24 hours, they would come back and start shooting and killing residents.
- The same day, armed settlers invaded the village of Khirbet Zanuta and told residents: “If you don’t leave, we’ll do to you what we are doing in Gaza”. The community decided that they had to leave to save their families, knowing that they have nobody to protect them.
- The same day, armed settlers raided the village of Tuba and stole 6 sheep from a Palestinian family, as well as a gas cilinder, a phone and a sheep feeder. A few days earlier, settlers had entered Tuba during the night and damaged the water tanks with knifes. Palestinians and ISM activists in Tuba have reported that the settlers appear to be building a new illegal outpost just meters away from the houses of Palestinians in Tuba.
- On October 29th, armed settlers invaded the village of Umm Al-Khair and forced some Palestinians to raise the Israeli flag over their houses and to record videos of themselves in which they spoke against Palestinians in Gaza. The settlers then said that they would come back the next day and that if they did not see the Israeli flags on people’s houses, they would displace Palestinian families.
- On October 29th, Israeli settlers and soldiers assaulted an elderly man and his children in his home, in the village of Sha’ab al-Butm.
The International Solidarity Movement maitains its presence on the ground in Masafer Yatta, with ISM activists standing with Palestinians as they face colonial violence in their villages.