October Update from Masafer Yatta

Since Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza began on October 7th, the situation in Masafer Yatta has deteriorated dramatically. Every day has been marked by at least one attack in the area by settlers and IOF soldiers. Settler militias are terrorizing Palestinians by invading their villages, armed with assault rifles, often wearing Israeli army uniforms and accompanied by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians and international activists have reported and documented cases of settlers beating up Palestinian residents, including women, children, and the elderly; settlers and soldiers shooting toward Palestinian houses, destroying water pumps and electric grids, uprooting trees and taking up Palestinian fields, planting Israeli flags on Palestinian land and houses, and even forcing Palestinians to sing pro-Israel chants and to wave an Israeli flag while holding them at gunpoint and filming them.

On October 7th, settlers set up roadblocks throughout Masafer Yatta, preventing villagers from accessing vital services and disrupting their daily lives. On the same day, a group of settlers entered the village of Khallet al-Dabaa, attacking one resident and breaking his arm.

On Tuesday, October 10th, settlers in military uniforms entered Umm al Khair and proceeded to detain the young people of the village, checking their IDs and confiscating cell phones.

The settlers claimed that they had seen someone from the village walking ‘dangerously’ close to the fence surrounding the settlement of Carmel. This turned out to be Mohammed Hathaleen, a disabled man, who was left with severe brain damage after being brutally beaten by Carmel settlers 23 years ago.

The settlers left with a warning that they would shoot anyone who came in close proximity to the fence that separates the settlements from the village.

On October 12th, Israeli settlers dressed in Israeli army uniforms invaded Palestinian agricultural land, planted Israeli flags, and started shooting at Palestinians and solidarity activists. Israeli soldiers also robbed activists of their phones.

Israeli army and settlers attack Palestinians in South Hebron.
Israeli army and settlers attack Palestinians in South Hebron.

On October 13th, an Israeli settler invaded Tuwani and shot a Palestinian man in the stomach at point-blank range, while being protected by an Israeli soldier.

On October 25th Israeli settlers and soldiers invaded the land belonging to a Palestinian family in Tuwani and used a bulldozer to uproot trees and destroy the family’s garden. The colonial attack occurred in the Palestinian village of  Tuwani and targeted the Hourani family. The settlers and soldiers came from the illegal Israeli settlement of Havat Ma’on, located a few hundred meters away from Tuwani. The soldiers then shot half a dozen warning shots toward the activists who were filming the scene.

On October 26th, a resident of the village of Khallet al-Dabaa was arbitrarily arrested by Israeli soldiers. When he was released two days later, he showed clear signs of abuse and torture on his body. On that same day, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) flew drones over villages in Masafer Yatta, transmitting the following message in Arabic: “We can see you everywhere. Wherever you are, we are coming for you”.

On October 27th, Settler militias destroyed over 200 trees, along with irrigation pipes, water pumps, electrical cables, and a water tank belonging to local Palestinian residents in the Al-Ain Al-Bayda village in Masafer Yatta. They also severed the water supply pipeline for the community in Saddet al-Tha’ala village, while making death threats against local residents.

On October 28th, armed settlers forcibly removed a Palestinian man from his car, in the village of Umm Al-Khair, and then destroyed his car by throwing large rocks and shooting at it.

On October 29th settlers and soldiers invaded the village of Susyia and threatened residents to leave the village within 24 hours. A similar threat to residents of the village of Khirbet Zanuta has already resulted in the community leaving the land in order to save their families. The same day, armed settlers raided the village of Tuba and stole 6 sheep from a Palestinian family, as well as a gas cylinder, a phone, and a sheep feeder. A few days earlier, settlers had entered Tuba during the night and damaged the water tanks with knives. Palestinians and international activists in Tuba have reported that the settlers appear to be building a new illegal outpost just meters away from the houses of Palestinians in Tuba.

On October 30th, settlers stroke again with a horrible attack by setting up on fire a Palestinian house in the village of Sfai in Masafer Yatta.
Youth of Sumud, alongisde other solidarity groups, maintains a constant activist presence on the ground to respond and report these attacks. Follow us on social media for other updates.