Masafer Yatta: settlers abuse and intimidate the Palestinians

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Smadar and Michal (report and photos), Mohammad (driving)
Seriously? Does this make us safer? Jewish Terror

The situation in all of the occupied territories has worsened greatly and all the villages are blocked with checkpoints. We decided to bring crates of food to the two families we visited. It turned out to be direly necessary.

On road 317, west of the Asael outpost , stands a yellow metal shed, sporting an Israeli flag, containing a vehicle. It’s a new outpost no. 1. Another kilometer further down, stood new outpost no. 2.

Two giant boulders block the main entrance to the village of Sha'b al-Butum. We entered with the jeep and took an unpaved route, barely passable, reaching the home of Mohammad and Laila Jabarin.

Laila and two of her sons were home, and she pointed to every nook and cranny where the settlers of Avigail left their mark (this is a settlers outpost only some few hundred meters from the house).

This is what she told us:

A day before yesterday, around 2:30 p.m., 15 settlers from Avigail, wearing army uniforms, broke into the house. There were five family members at home at the time. The settlers ordered them to place their hands behind their backs and from 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. forced them to sit and not move. All the while they ran a wild vandal rampage inside the house and out. In the kitchen they threw to the floor flour and sugar, cut up the Palestinians’ clothes to pieces (so they have nothing to wear now), broke a window through which one sees the Avigail outpost. They cut up the pipes that run (expensive) water from the water tank, and poisoned the well. The solar panels were smashed. The pigeon and chicken coops were broken and the fowl flew in every direction. About 30 young grapevines were uprooted. The water pump was stolen.

Now there is no water, no electricity, no clothes, no food, no life.

Son Muhanned and his father Mohammad were beaten up and needed medical care, which they received at a Yatta clinic later on.

Laila adds that they were made to stand in the sun by the cucumber patch and when she wished to take a drink from a bottle she was holding, they poured out the water adding curses – “daughter of a bitch”, “whore”.

Son Shadi owns a knife he uses for work in the farmyard that supplies them with vegetables. The settlers said to Laila that this knife is used to kill soldiers.

Worst of all, before leaving the settlers left a live rifle bullet on the gas stove, as an unequivocal threat to the Palestinians’ fate.

At night Mohammad, Laila and the children joined our friend Yishak Jabarin’s home, not far away. There were also international volunteers there (IOS).

At about 8 p.m. settlers came there too, wearing army uniforms. They shackled the men and forced them to lie on the ground. The women and children were placed in rooms. They threatened to destroy Yishak’s house (a residential compound of several families). They threatened Laila not to dare return home or they would destroy it.

Yishak and Mohammad drove to lodge a complaint at the Kiryat Arba police station. This morning at 6 a.m., the day of our visit, they went back home. At night they will return to Yishak.

I ask about their friend Abu Hani and she tells me that 3 weeks ago settlers broke into his area, demolishing the room in which he lived with his wife. He moved to Yatta. Heavy-hearted we drove to Yishak, who added that the tires of his car were punctured.

On our way back we ran into our wonderful friends of the Villages Group – Ariella, Ehud and Yair.

Mohammad updates us that he finally managed to talk on the phone with Abu Safi who was expelled with his family from Wadi Radim to Samu’a. It was a short talk but we heard from him at long last.

This visit was different. We left feeling terrible. It’s hard to convey our feelings in words.