South Hebron Hills – what hides behind the pastoral view

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Muhammad and Michal (photographing and reporting); Translator: Natanya
דרום הר חברון - בנייה מוגברת בהתנחלויות

Route 317: Wadi Radim, Abu Safi.

Abu Safi called on Sunday, saying that settlers are again ploughing his friend's land. We wanted to see for ourselves what was once more happening.

On the way, Tani Goldstein, a correspondent of Israel Times, called. His wife had referred him to us following his question regarding increased construction in the

Southern Hebron Hills since the elections.

So, first of all, yes there is, and we have reported on this time and time again. I sent him in real time:

1. Photos of the new caravans in Mitzpe Eshtamoa.

2. Photos of the bulldozers (whose noise can be heard in the distance) in the new neighborhood being built in Mitzpe Asael. This, apart from caravans that have been added in recent months. The construction is being carried out with great gusto. You can see the clouds of dust.

I took pictures from a distance because we don't dare to get closer after experiencing unpleasant encounters with the head of the settlement.

Abu Safi: Abu Safi is ploughing and sowing wheat and hoping for rain. Abu Safi called on Sunday, 11.12.22, to report the ploughing of Havat Ma'on settlers (an illegal outpost) on the lands of the Mahrij family from Samu’. The ploughing was done by Shimon ben Gigi, the security guard of Havat Ma'on, with a contractor named Yinon, who is also a new settler, and has a farm near Zanota. They claimed that this was state land, and ploughed with a tractor with the Israeli flag flying on it. Fortunately for the owner of the land, the people of the DCO came and drove out the invaders. Abu Safi says that even today, Tuesday, the invaders came back and tried to plough, and once again the people of the DCO came and drove them out.

It will probably be a continuous struggle, with a reasonable chance that at the end of it the lands will be declared state lands. On the way back we met Abu Safi's herd of goats, which are herded by his wife, Nourus, and his daughter Rania (for whom we previously obtained funding for a sewing course, and she got married not long ago and is coming to visit) and her little daughter Farah. Everything here is pastoral and so misleading.