The barbaric attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7th has set off a bloody war whose end no one can foresee and whose main victims are, again, innocent civilians. That attack is also proving to be a huge boon to extremist Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.
a room and a shop in Susiya, and a break during field work. photographs: Margaret Olin
Two buildings in Umm al-Kheir, 2017 and 2022. photographs: Margaret Olin
Last week we sent out a plea to help save the Palestinian communities on the West Bank that are in immediate danger of being expelled from their homes by marauding Israeli settlers, usually backed up by the army and the police. Already the list of the communities who have gone into exile has grown long, too long; some twenty of them have been fully or partly forced to leave their homes. The settlers, emboldened by their success in pursuing their long-time goal of ethnic cleansing in the occupied territories are moving from village to village, wreaking destruction and uttering threats of more. At Susya in South Hebron, a place close to our hearts from many years of activism, armed settlers invaded two days ago and told the Palestinians they had 24 hours to evacuate, and if they refused, the settlers would come back and kill them all. The same pattern recurred yesterday at Umm al-Khair, and other villages in the Jordan Valley and in South Hebron are next in line. Just the other day, the entire community of Zanuta, also in the South Hebron Hills, was evacuated to the last person.
A family in Zanuta, and their grazing ground. Photographs: Margaret Olin
The second Nakba is proceeding apace. We need practical and immediate intervention from the international community to pressure the Israeli government, which is, as everyone knows, thick with fanatical settlers: it is the only chance there is to put a stop to this ongoing crime. Please call upon your leaders to help release the kidnapped, bring this war to an end, and stop the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.
text David Shulman and Yigal Bronner – please share [image at top in banner: a child in Susiya’s school, 2016. photograph: margaret olin]