Umm al Kheir - Carmel settlers try to push in and destroy everything they try to build

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Michal (reporting and photographing) with  Muhammad; Translator: Natanya
אום אל ח'יר - כמה קרובה התנחלות כרמל
אום אל ח'יר - גינת המשחקים לזכר שיח' סולימן שנבנתה בכספי ארגונים אירופיים

"It's a lawless area. We can't do anything."

These are the words of policemen who came to the help of the people of Umm al Kheir. This is what H., the head of the Khirbet Umm al Kheir Council, told us and emphasized that this is the name of their village which has existed since 1948. We went to see them because their situation is difficult, as will be described later. On the way to them, right in front of the entrance to At-Tuwani we saw huge tractors and buggers at work, guarded by the security forces.

When we asked what this was about, we were told that they were on their way to destroy in Jawia, which is a village west of At-Tuwani.

And this is, in fact, what I read later.

As the people of Umm al Kheir were waiting for us, we did not tarry there. They were waiting for us in a well-kept playground that also has a kind of club, also for older adults. This was built with donations from European peace organizations and also the PA. We brought them groceries which we bought thanks to your donations.

Their village was established in 1948, after the Jahlin tribe was expelled from the Beer Sheva area and they then settled in their present village. In 1981, the Carmel settlement was established, right next to them.

In the first years there was a kind of quiet coexistence. But in the last 10 years mainly, the settlers have been trying to drive them out and to destroy everything that they have tried to build. Even the taboon where they cooked disturbed the settlers who had it destroyed.

The bakery car that brings bread to Carmel does not offer them bread, as another option. The Hadhalin clan living there have experienced great difficulties, especially since 7.10. Khalil, head of the council for the past two years, says they have demolition orders without a date. They don't know when the demolition squad will come, but in the meantime, many times during the week, settlers wearing uniforms arrive late at night and search, make noise and scare the children, and leave.

 They are also forbidden to graze their flocks. We went to see a plot that they started preparing for ball games of various kinds, but it is abandoned, because to it being too close to Carmel. They are not allowed to get there and use it. We passed through a road with beautiful beds of herbs, mainly sage, maramiya in Arabic.

"Even from here they are capable of evicting us," Khalil tells me. "If they see that we are working on here too long for their liking."

"So now they didn't come because they see me?" I'm asking. They laugh: "Maybe, you should come all the time. Soon we'll have to pick the grapes in the nearby vineyard. Who knows if we'll succeed."

I promised we would come to help. Khalil and his friends also talk about the particularly difficult situation now, because they are not allowed to go out to work in Israel, so there is no salary and they are not allowed to graze their flocks. Before we parted, he asked for help in purchasing notebooks and stationery for about 50 children. We will buy these for them thanks to your donations.

And I think of the saying of our Sage: "Warn the poor people from whom the Torah will come.”

On the way back, before we got on road 60 to see what is happening with the checkpoints/blocks along the road, we saw in front of Dirat a wide dirt road that was used to pass to Samu’, a yellow gate, in a place called Khalet al Mai, of course without a sign.

Indeed, on Route 60, the Sheep crossing is closed on both sides of the road.

At the Dura al Fawwar intersection, the yellow gatesinfo-icon are closed. Later, while entering and leaving Hebron towards Qilqis , everything is blocked and monitored. We saw many small children returning from school, old men and women walking and back-to-back taxis waiting for them at the entrance to Qilqis. While the southern entrance to Hebron, located at the foot of Beit Hagai, the yellow gates are closed. And Israeli flags are flying on each side. At the Dura al Fawwar intersection, both entrances are closed.

At the entrance there is a closed yellow gate.

In short, a completely yellow time.