Zanuta, Wadi Radim, Maktal Umm Salem - abandoned

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Muhammad and Ariela (reporting and photographing); Translator: Natanya
חורבות של מה שהיה עד לא מזמן ביתם של אנשים

Following a phone call and video that Muhammad received the night before from Nasser, we decided to go to At-Tuwani to see what was happening there and talk to Nasser.

The crossings at the Meitar barrier were open and the positions were unmanned. The parking lot on the Palestinian side was empty. The sentry post watching over the parking lot was not manned either.

Route 60 is almost empty of cars and not a single car with a Palestinian license plate is visible. We passed the place where until a few weeks ago was the village of Zanuta, a village whose residents preferred to destroy it themselves so that they could save something from their property.

Meitar Junction, facing Route 317, is entirely decorated with Israeli flags. On the way you see Maktal-umm-Salem, a place where a family of shepherds lived until a few weeks ago until they were forced to leave the place due to harassment by settlers. Today, the Israeli flag flies over it and the road leading to it, which only two weeks ago was not a road at all, has been prepared for the passage of ordinary vehicles. (meaning not only 4x4 vehicles or donkeys).

On the other side of road 317 is the entrance to Khirbet Radim, Abu Safi's place of residence and birth. No more. He too was forced to leave following the threats and bullying of the settler Kaplan, who flourishes and shines today.

Ruins of what was until recently the home of Palestinians and now Israeli flags fly over them on road 317 in the Eshtaol area.

Further down the road new caravans and on a distant hill two figures are standing (on the skyline), it can be assumed that they are settlers because the Palestinians are not allowed to leave their villages. Maybe they are checking the area, on the way to a new settlement? We will follow this up.

We arrived at At-Tuwani. There is no checkpoint and no soldiers at the entrance, but the village itself looks like a ghost town. There is not a living soul in the streets and the place looks deserted. Even animals are not seen or heard in the village alleys, not to mention children's voices.

We arrived following a phone call from Bassel to Muhammad and a video he sent showing settlers wearing uniforms bursting into the village school. It is seen in the video that they arrive in a vehicle without identification plates.

Bassel says that in the last month, since the fighting in Gaza began, the settlers usually arrive with an ATV or Jeep, wearing military uniforms, but from many years of acquaintance with them he is able to recognize them. At seven in the morning, Jacob Dalia's son from the Lucifer farm arrived at the school accompanied by the army to look for Palestinian flags and cameras that the residents put up to record the settlers. The head of the At-Tuwani Council, Muhammad Muhammad Ar-Rabai, took a picture of them and called the army to complain, but there they told him that there are no soldiers in At-Tuwani now. When the settlers heard that the army was on their way, they tried to escape, but the residents prevented them from doing so until the army arrived and expelled the settlers.

Apparently, there is now a new policy and both the army and the police arrive faster when they are called, this compared to the situation about a month ago, when settlers shot his nephew who is still hospitalized and the police did not come.

Four or five people from volunteer organizations are now in At-Tuwani.

The entire space between Ma'on and At-Tuwani farms is closed, and the residents cannot reach their olive groves to harvest their crop.

Two soldiers stand in the area between the village and Maon preventing the people of At-Tuwani from reaching their plots of land.

Bassel says that the soldiers "see only with one eye - the eye of the settlers". He also said that many buses now arrive in the settlements. They can only reach Yatta on foot. On leaving At-Tuwani we saw that the entrance to Yatta was closed with barbed wire and mounds of dirt. A car trying to go around the dirt mound got stuck.

Back on Route 60, Israeli flags occupied the hills.