‘Ein Samiya, Al Baqa’a‘, Wadi a-Siq, July 19, 2023. Text and photographs: Margaret Olin


Two days ago occupation forces demolished the school in ‘Ein Samiya.

The school was the only building left standing in May when the villagers packed up and fled. In one of our posts, David Shulman related how, after months of terrorism by Jewish settlers, the occupation forces dealt the final blow by handing over a whole flock of sheep to settlers. I had not seen `Ein Samiya, so in July, when I came to Jerusalem, I asked activist Arik Ascherman, director of the NGO Torat Tzedek, to take me there. He readily agreed. Now feels like the right moment to post these pictures.

In July the school was still there. It stood on the hill just above the village, and surveyed the wreckage below through its windows.


When the children left their school every afternoon, they must have eagerly scampered down the hill to a busy village that waited for them below.

Now what waits are ruins that have been repeatedly looted by settlers. That afternoon, we briefly chased a car full of settlers and Palestinian possessions, fruitlessly trying to photograph them, and knowing that even if we did, no one would face consequences.

Orphaned signs lie about, emblazoned with the logo of the European Union. The signs congratulate themselves: “Humanitarian Support to Palestinians at risk of forcible transfer in the West Bank.”


Most of the villagers on `Ein Samiya now live in a cramped area not far away. What remains of their flock — stolen sheep, you may recall, provoked the villagers to leave — clambers along the road leading from their new location, on the way passing salvaged building materials that the bedouins hope will prove useful in building new homes.

A young family has already dared to build a new home, hoping that the nearby settlers will be better neighbors than the last ones were.

We keep our fingers crossed for them. Others are still in mourning for the beautiful setting of their former home.


The settlement outpost at Al Baqa’a’.

Arik made me understand that you can’t stop with just one village.`Ein Samiya would not be the only evacuated village that we visited. In Al Baqa’a’, a settlement outpost had moved in between its two neighborhoods.

The last straw for the families of one neighborhood was not a flock of sheep. Two members of the family were inside when settlers set fire to their house. Fortunately, neighbors saved the family even though they could not save the house. Then they all fled. In that part of town, soon nothing was left but a few empty buildings that flapped open, looted.

a few twisted monuments to former homes,

and rocks. plenty of rocks.

The Israeli settlement continued to frighten the inhabitants so that by the time we arrived, only two families remained, a little less than a half mile away.

About a week after our visit, they, too, abandoned the village. As the first residents were leaving, settlers wandered by, all smiles, and assured the activists helping the villagers, that in this wadi, “We all got along fine.”


Apparently, they also get along fine in Wadi a-Siq. There the inhabitants started leaving months ago; the settlers have sprinkled homes over the area, and, tucked into their cosy outposts, seem to be getting along very well.

This year, at least 488 Palestinians, including 263 children, from seven communities in Area C of the West Bank, have been forcibly displaced due to an increasingly coercive environment, according to the UN. 221 of them are accounted for in the villages mentioned in my post. The average number of incidents per month has risen substantially – nearly 40 percent – over last year, which already represented the highest number in nearly twenty years. These are numbers. But those numbers mean smashed windows, demolished houses, and children who no longer can go to school.

text and photographs: margaret olin © 2023 with thanks to the indefatigable Arik Ascherman.

Al Baqa’a’, July, 2023

2 thoughts on “‘Ein Samiya, Al Baqa’a‘, Wadi a-Siq, July 19, 2023. Text and photographs: Margaret Olin

  1. Beautiful photographs. Beautiful in Stendahl’s sense of beauty: that which promises happiness. Which is to say the educational experience of viewing these photos may help in the education of these gross and growing injustice that may play its part in bending toward Martin Luther King Jr.’s Arc. Do you have any other Hail Marys?

    • Thanks for the support. I wish I did. I have the blog; I have my direct action on the ground, and I have our book, to which you could donate if you like. You could contact your representatives, join us on the ground, donate to our book (see link at the beginning of our newest post), or to another good cause.

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