Masafer Yatta, Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills, Susiya
Smadar (photographing), Michal (reporting and photographing) and Muhammad
All breaches in the fence near the Meitar checkpoint were blocked. There is no exit or entry along the fence in this area.
We went to meet Nasser Nawaja’ from Susiya, as he said he was in a multi-participant meeting with landowners in Jimba (a large area in Masafer Yatta, on the edge of the Judean Desert) and Palestinian lawyers, who had gathered near Imnaizel, not far from the the settlement Metzadot Yehuda.
The reason for the meeting is a message received from the authorities that there is a plan to pave a wide road there because it is a military firing zone.
At the request of Nasser, we stayed away from the gathering place and spoke only with him. He said they are waiting for military representatives in order to hear what they have to say and demand that they not harm their lands. To my question, is there a chance that the plan will be dropped and people will be considered, he said he does not know but it has happened in the past that they won a legal battle. I asked him if it was possible that the plan stemmed from the fact that this part of the country, a country which belongs to no one, had become a place where the illegal workers could cross from there to work in Israel, now that they had blocked the gaps in the separation fence.
We will continue to be in touch about the program, keep up to date and also go and document the situation.
Sarah, the daughter of Azzam, says that the settlers of Susiya, accompanied by the army, make it difficult for them, and do not let them graze the sheep in their territories. All winter they were banished when they went to graze, nor were they allowed to cultivate their fields and olive groves.
In addition, it turns out that there is constant activity on the part of the security forces (she does not know how to describe who they are) of confiscating vehicles, claiming that they do not have a license. Sarah says they are blocking the road to Yatta and confiscating vehicles. The method is to impose a rolling barrier, on non-fixed days and hours.
Clearly, these too are actions of narrowing the passage of the Palestinians and creating difficulties so as to weaken them and the lives of those who cling to their land.
We went to see where the security forces were coming from for this activity. We saw the base of the army which is very close to the archaeological Susiya, and overlooks the road to Yatta. On the way there, on large rocks, inscriptions were written in English and Arabic. Translation by Muhammad: "On this earth it is worth to fight = to live."
Before we parted, Azzam's daughter showed us how she makes Afig, which is a traditional yogurt stone. It is prepared in the process of fermenting the yogurt and separating the liquids from the solids. The yoghurt stone is very salty and aromatic, used for dipping (e.g. scraping over a salad) and has no expiration date.