Our Tax Dollars at Work: Destroying a Palestinian Family’s Home and Livelihood

Al Fakheit is one of 12 villages located in the Masafer Yatta area that Israel claims as Firing Zone 918. The Palestinians living in these villages have fought a long legal battle to remain in their homes. On January 3 the Abu Sabha family lost their last legal appeal in an Israeli court.


The Abu Sabha family’s home and barn

Mohammed, the father of the family, was born in the village, in a cave home that is over a century old. In the 1990s Mohammed built tents for his family near the home, and in 2016 he built two homes, all on his privately owned land. Eighteen people lived in these homes. On January 3 the Israeli army issued demolition orders for these homes.


The Abu Sabha family’s animal barns


Members of the Abu Sabha family outside their home learn on January 3 that their legal appeals are exhausted.

On the morning of January 12 the Israeli Civil Administration arrived in the village with border police and bulldozers, and demolished 8 Palestinians structures including homes, two sheep barns, and a water well, leaving several families homeless and without shelter from the weather.


Israeli border police force families back from their homes on January 12.


Israeli forces confront a woman whose home is being demolished.

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New Film on Hebron at the New York Times

Mission: Hebron by Israeli filmmaker Rona Segal was published recently in the opinion section of the New York Times website, and can be watched there (with a subscription) or on YouTube.

Mission: Hebron is a short documentary based on interviews conducted by the director with Breaking the Silence testifiers about their service in Hebron. Describing a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, and violently dispersing protests, they paint a picture of what serving in the second largest Palestinian city in the occupied territories requires, the atmosphere in the city, their interaction with the local population, both Palestinians and settlers, and how they felt about it all.

Screened around the world at international film festivals, the film won the Shagrir Prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival and is now long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

The Residents of Firing Zone 918


This morning, residents of Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv awoke to find posters depicting the faces of Palestinians from Massafer Yatta splashed across their cities.

Since the late 1990s, the Israeli army has been trying to operate a military training zone (Firing Zone 918) in Massafer Yatta. After a twenty-year legal battle to remain on their land, a final decision could be taken by the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2022. If the court rules against the residents, it would be one of the largest displacements of Palestinian communities in decades – with over 1300 people being forcibly transferred from their land.

The inhumanity of occupation is often justified under the guise of Israel’s ‘security needs’ but we must see through this. There is no justification for ethnic cleansing or stealing Palestinian land. Forcible transfer is a war crime. Solidarity with the residents of Massafer Yatta #savemassaferyatta

Learn more and get involved at SaveMasaferYatta.com

Photo credits: Activestills

What Happens to a Palestinian Who Protects His Land

Home Invasions and False Arrests: Aref Jaber defies settlers’ attempts to take over his plot of land near Hebron, and finds himself facing harassment from the army too

Amira Hass, Haaretz, Aug. 28, 2021

On December 11, a structure made of wood and cinder blocks appeared on a piece of land belonging to Aref Jaber of Hebron. Just before he found the structure, relatives told him that Israeli Jews were squatting on his land, on a hill east of Hebron in the West Bank, in an area called al-Bak’aa.

Since that day, Jaber and his family have been constantly harassed: raids on his land and home, other illegal structures going up and being demolished, intrusive drones, imposter Israel Police officers saying they’re from the Shin Bet security service, and false arrests by the army and police.

Watch My Neighbourhood, the story of Sheikh Jarrah

A remarkable, nonviolent struggle against settlement expansion in East Jerusalem

Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area.

Shortly after their displacement, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin holding unarmed protests against the evictions, determined not to lose their homes for good. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. Among them is Jewish West Jerusalem resident Zvi Benninga and his sister Sara, who develop a strong relationship with Mohammed and his family as they take on a leading role in organizing the protests.

Through their personal stories, My Neighbourhood goes beyond the sensational headlines that normally dominate discussions of Jerusalem and captures voices rarely heard, of those striving for a future of equality and pluralism in the city.

My Neighbourhood follows Mohammed as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, the film chronicles the resolve of a neighbourhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.

My Neighbourhood is directed and produced by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, who documented Mohammed’s story over two years, and acclaimed filmmaker Julia Bacha. It is the latest production by Just Vision, an award-winning team of Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American filmmakers, journalists and human rights advocates dedicated to telling the stories of Israelis and Palestinians working nonviolently to achieve freedom, dignity, equality and human security in the region.

July 29, 2021
Webinar: What’s happening in the South Hebron Hills?


In the South Hebron Hills, the southernmost region of the West Bank, there are about 122 communities of shepherds and farmers totaling about 80,000 inhabitants. The communities settled there in the early 19th century in order to be close to the pastures and agriculture they owned. In recent decades Palestinian residents have suffered abuse from violent settlers, which the army either turns a blind eye to or cooperates with. Living in a land declared as a ‘closed military zone’ by the army, Palestinians in the area experience daily the expropriation of their land, the demolition of their homes, and the cutting of their water pipes. (tv.social.org)

What’s happening in the South Hebron Hills? Perspectives from the ground
July 29, 2021 12:00 PM Central Webinar

Join Just Vision and +972 Magazine on Thursday, July 29 at 1pm ET / 8pm Jerusalem time for a conversation on what’s happening in the South Hebron Hills, speaking with activists who have been organizing in the area for years.

In the South Hebron Hills (known locally as Masafer Yatta) in Area C of the West Bank – which the Israeli military has full control over – authorities demolish homes and infrastructure on a regular basis while refusing to grant building permits. For residents of the area, fear of violence from the Israeli settlers that surround their villages is ever-present, and the heavy military presence only leads to greater impunity for the settlers.

In the face of this decades-long struggle, Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills, with support from Israeli and international activists, are using tools – from journalism and social media, to storytelling and non-violent direct action – to resist ongoing annexation and draw local and international attention to the injustices they experience or witness daily.

Speakers for this event include Basil Al-Adraa, a Palestinian journalist, activist and resident of the area; Yuval Abraham, an Israeli reporter for Local Call, our Hebrew-language news site co-published with 972 Advancement of Citizen Journalism; and Natasha Westheimer, Australian-American water management specialist and anti-occupation activist based in Jerusalem. The discussion will be moderated by Just Vision’s Executive Director and Local Call Co-Publisher, Suhad Babaa.

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