South Hebron Hills: Settlers set a house on fire in Hirbet a-Sfay. The villages of Simia and Shweikeh are blocked.

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Muhammed (phone vonversation), Mira Balaban (Reporting)

Hirbet A-Sfay is a small village in Masafer Yatta located southwest of the violent outpost  Havat Maon.  Previous reports spoke about the demolition of the elementary school in A-Sfay.   

We spoke to Yusuf, who told us what had happened there since the beginning of the war.  On Sunday, October 8th, settlers came and vandalized the water tanks.  Since then they have had no water and have had to rely on cisterns.

The residents of the village attempted to bring water with their tractor, but were arrested by the army and detained for hours.  The soldiers then confiscated the keys to the tractor and have not yet returned them.

During the past week settlers wearing army uniforms invaded the village and forced people out of their homes.  Yusuf thinks that they want to evict them, but the village residents are strong and will not leave. 

On Sunday night the settlers set fire to a house , which luckily was empty.

The Palestinian villages along Route 60 have been blocked off. 

Hirbet a-Simia is a very small village located to the west of Route 60 between the settlements of Shim'a and Otniel on the opposite side of the road.   

Farhan is a social activist in the village as well as the main organizer in the school that was demolished several times.  He explained: On Saturday, October 7th all the exits from Simia to Route 60 were closed.  The entrances to the town of Samu on the opposite side were also closed.  The village of Simia is dependent upon the village of Samu for commerce and social services.   Samu can now be entered from Karameh which is north of Samu because it has one entrance that is still open.   Occasionally the blockade to Route 60 is opened.  They play with the army by opening the blockade and the army closes it again.  People are forced to drive around until they reach Karameh to the north in order to purchase food.   

There is also a shortage of water because the people are forced to use cisterns and must do without showers. 

The village of Shweikeh, southwest of Simia is also closed with dirt embankments on all sides. 

Farhan parks his car in Samu on the other side of the road and crosses on foot, carrying all the groceries and a gas balloon as well.

In addition to all these difficulties, they are extremely afraid of the settlers.