Palestinians threatened with deportation by Israel vow to stay on earth
Everything here is improvised, the result of decades of uncertainty. Houses are made of sheet metal and plastic sheets, water is trucked in, and electricity is obtained from batteries or a few solar panels.
The lives of thousands of Palestinians in a cluster of Bedouin communities in the southern West Bank have been on hold for more than four decades, since the land they farmed and lived in was declared a firing and military training zone by Israel. Since that decision in early 1981, residents of the Masafer Yatta area have resisted demolitions, seizures of property, restrictions, disruption of food and water supplies, and the continued threat of eviction. .
That threat grew significantly this week after Israel’s Supreme Court upheld a long-standing eviction order against eight of the 12 Palestinian hamlets forming Masafer Yatta – potentially leaving at least 1,000 people homeless. On Friday, some residents said they were determined to stay on the ground.
The verdict came after a more than two-decade legal struggle by Palestinians to stay in their homes. Israel argued that the residents only used the area for seasonal farming and were offered a compromise that would have given them occasional access to the land.
Palestinians say if implemented, the ruling paves the way for the eviction of all 12 communities which have a population of 4,000, mostly Bedouins who depend on herding and a traditional form of agriculture in the desert. Residents of Jinba, one of the hamlets, said on Friday they opposed any compromise because they had lived in the area long before Israel occupied the West Bank in the Middle East war of 1967.
Issa Abu Eram was born in a cave on rugged mountainous terrain 48 years ago and endured a difficult life as construction is prohibited here.
In winter, he and his family members live in a cave. In summer, they stay in caravans near the cave. His goats are a source of income, and on Friday he had placed dozens of scoops of hardened goat’s milk yogurt on the roof of a hut to dry.
He said his children grew up with the threat of deportation hanging over them. They attend a makeshift school in Jinba, with the eldest son now in 12th grade. “He hasn’t lived in any place other than Jinba. How are you going to convince him…to live somewhere else?” he said.
Palestinian leaders on Friday condemned the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling, which was handed down on Wednesday – when most of Israel was shut down for the country’s Independence Day. Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said the removal order “amounts to forced displacement and ethnic cleansing, in violation of international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions. “. Also on Friday, Israel’s interior minister said Israel was set to advance plans to build 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank. If approved, it would be the biggest step forward in settlement plans since the Biden administration took office. The White House opposes settlement growth because it further erodes the possibility of an eventual two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The West Bank has been under Israeli military rule for nearly 55 years. Masafer Yatta is in the 60% of the territory where the Palestinian Authority is prohibited from operating. The Palestinians want the West Bank to form the main part of their future state.
Jewish settlers have established outposts in the area that are not officially authorized by Israel but are protected by the military. Last fall, dozens of settlers attacked a village in the area and a 4-year-old boy was hospitalized after being hit in the head with a rock.
For now, the families say they have only one choice left: to stay and stay on their land. “I have no alternative and they can’t take me out,” said farmer Khalid al-Jabarin, standing in front of a goat barn. “The entire government of Israel cannot remove me. We will not leave…we will not get out of here because we are the inhabitants of the land.” Referring to West Bank settlers from other countries, he said, “Why would they bring a replacement from South Africa to live in the high mountains, in our country, and replace us, and take us away, why? “
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)