Shweika – armed settlers in uniforms threaten Palestinians under false pretenses

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Muhammad, Smadar, Michal (reporting and photographing). Translator: Natanya
ככה הם חיים בטיראן
דיר במערה  בשויכה של משפחת פארס המגורש מזנותא

We dedicated the shift to the deportees of Zanuta, who are now in a small settlement called Shweika in the wadi behind the illegal outpost, Mitzpe Eshtamoa. We went to visit the family of Fares, Abu Safi's son-in-law. They show us their "homes" and tell us about their situation since the deportation. Ismail, son of Fares, says that a month ago at six in the evening the settler, Elyashiv Nahum, arrived. His farm, Havat Yehuda, is on the mountain near Mitzpe Eshtamoa. He and his friends, dressed in army clothes, began to attack and search under the pretext that the family had army equipment and army clothes that they were not allowed to wear. These are clothes they had bought in a store in the Beer Sheva market. He and his uncle were arrested, interrogated and beaten. After 3 hours they were released. Just to scare them, he says.

But since then drones have been sent every day as they shepherd the flock so as monitor and especially so as to startle and disturb the flock. The sheep are frightened and scatter, those who are pregnant drop the unborn out of fear.

A few days ago, Fares says, that his son was grazing the sheep together with Muhammad, the uncle. A masked Elyashiv reached him, threatened him with his gun and said: You are not allowed to graze here, this is state land. They were interrogated and beaten all night. In the morning they were released.

They took away Muhammad's work permit. This is a permit that he just renewed and paid NIS 7000 for, a permit to engage in commerce. Now he is left destitute, unable to support his family. We found out from Sylvia that during the war, when they are not allowed to enter Israel, the revoked licenses are not handled either.

Zanuta is area C. In Shweika there are about 100 people, six families in all. All the rest are now dispersed in Dahariya and near the Meitar checkpoint in Wadi Khalil. Their situation there is bad, they have almost nothing, Muhammad shows us how they live. Heart rending.

We left them money and clothes which we had brought and we promised to help.

Thanks to your donations, we can buy them groceries for two or three weeks. These people, even when they live like this and are poor, insist on preparing and serving us food.

From there we went further on non-road roads to Tiran, also at the foot of the mountain on which the Yehuda farm stands. Also, from their house, we saw settlers watching us.

We followed up on Mira and Ariela's report about their visit to the Za’rur family. They have lived there for over 30 years and now a year and a half ago, Elyashiv Nahum arrived and is making every effort to get them to leave. The man tells us that 4 days ago he wanted to plough his fields at the entrance to Shweika, in order to sow the barley that is used as food for his cattle. But was prevented from doing so. He also says that the army is constantly walking around to see that they do no approach the settlement with the herd and drive them away on the grounds that it is a closed military area. The man says that for the past month, volunteers have been sleeping there and they are taking pictures of everything. He feels that this deters the settlers and thanks to this it is more peaceful for them. According to him, he was promised that they would stay with him as long as needed.

 We will continue to be in touch as well, despite the difficulty of reaching by roads because everything is blocked there by the settlers.