Sha'ab al Butum - settlers invaded Palestinian residences and fled when Israeli activists arrived

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Smadar Becker (reporting and photographing) with Muhammad Dabsan (photographing); Translator: Natanya
שעב אל בוטום - אצל ליילה וומוחמד ג'בארין
שעב אל הוטום - בתו היפה והמתוקה של ח'ליל ג'ברין
שעב אל בוטום - אצל יסחאק ג'בארין

Meitar: No Palestinian workers were observed. Sometimes they do come, that is, those who receive a permit for essential work.

We continue on Route 60, and at the Meitar junction we turn to  Route 317 on our way to Sha'ab al Butum to visit several families.

On our way we see on a small hill, in the area near the tall pillbox at the Livna intersection - 2 ATVs and another car. Before the war, a family lived there, next door to Rada and Ziad Abu Awwad, from Wadaba Foka, who had their flocks there during the winter. The 2 families were deported to Samu’.

In Sha’ab al Butum, we meet the family, Leila, Muhammad Jabarin, their sons and daughters. Two volunteers, one from Australia and the other from Finland, are there day and night. They do not belong to a specific organization but heard about what was happening in the area and came to help.

I told them about Machsom watch and our activities. Muhammad says that British TV was with the family from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Documenting the story, accompanied by translators from Ramallah.

Both Muhammad and the volunteers say that the army and police did not enter the family's land because of the presence of the British journalists.

We point out that the stay of activists, the media and any foreign visitors, keep the settlers and security forces from them. This reminds Muhammad that about a month ago representatives from the American Embassy visited them. They were accompanied by Attorney Kamar (who regularly accompanies them) and Nidal Abu Younes, head of the village council in Masafer Yatta. The embassy representative said that the situation must be returned to normal as it is known to have worsened since October 7.

Muhammad Jabarin asked that the Israeli authorities not take their vehicles (which are not  routeworthy) and that they make sure that settlers do not approach them. We understood both from Fares from Zanuta and from Muhammad and Leila that they received the news that there is hope that the expelled residents will return to Zanuta, and Umm Darit, in Sha'ab el Botum they will be allowed to live without the strangulation and violence from the nearby settlers.

On the "Out of the Herd" website, managed by operatives from Masafer Yatta, it was reported that last week another hearing took place in the High Court regarding the petition submitted by the residents of the villages in the southern Hebron mountain, including Umm Darit and Khirbet Zanuta, who have been expelled from their villages or threatened with deportation since October due to settler violence. This is supported almost completely by the police and the army.

Three judges sat in the hearing, two of whom, Amit and Grosskopf, sat two years ago in a ruling in which the green light was given to the army to carry out a transfer in the Mesafer Yatta.

The judges addressed to the representative of the army, the operations officer of the Central Command, and to the representative of the state, attorney Roi Shweika, questions on various topics such as: Why do the settlers appear in the field with masks? Were the settlers who appear in the documents of the attacks questioned about this by the police? And how is the army going to act in order to allow the return of the villagers who were expelled from their homes?

The jury did criticize the army and the police in the hearing, but the hypocrisy screams. After all, the same court ruled on the deportation of 12 villages from Masafer Yatta. What wonder that after such a declaration, the settlers allow themselves to evict villages here and there, with the army and the police behind them?

In addition, the judges determined that eight settlers who were alleged in the petition to have used violence should be added as respondents to the petition. Some of them are settlers whom we have mentioned here many times: Yitzhak Peled, Issachar Man, Yinon Levi, Bezalel Talia and Shem Tov Luski.

In doing so, the High Court of Justice, in contrast to the Israeli government, is trying to preserve the presentation of "the only democracy in the Middle East". In doing so, it is trying to reduce the consequences that the world, which has begun to open its eyes in recent times, will bring on Israel, for all the atrocities it is perpetrating all over Palestine. Let's hope that something will be done about this.

From there we continued to Hitam Jabarin, who asked us to come. Before we entered her home, her neighbour, accompanied by several sweet little children, turned to us and asked for help. It turns out that she is the wife of Khalil, the son of our friend Yishak. The whole family lives in one room, and the poverty is evident.

We moved to Hitam and Isma’il (son of Ishak). They welcomed us happily and remembered we were there. Here, too, everyone lives together, in overcrowding and poverty.

We left clothes and sweets with the 2 families for the children who were so happy. We promised to return.

We stopped by Ishak’s place and he and his family insisted that we go down for coffee and tea. They say that about two weeks ago the family went to Yatta for the wedding of Ishak’s daughter. A 15-year-old son and several of the younger children stayed in their compound. The settlers from Avigail sent a drone, and seeing that the family members were not there, 2 of them arrived, sat down on chairs and enjoyed the invasion.

The son who was sleeping heard their voices, came out and saw both of them, dressed in military uniforms, masked. Neighbours called the activists, who called the army and police, which drove the two away.

What is certain is that the presence of activists from abroad in the area is very necessary. Praise to the Israelis who persevere, they are great.

This is the occupation.