Masafer Yatta is an area in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, which is home to twelve Palestinian villages totaling about 1,300 residents. The area is spread out over about 35,000 dunam of land, where agricultural communities have lived for generations.
In opposition to international law, which prohibits the expulsion of a population from its land and the use of occupied land for military training, in the early 1980s, the Israeli army declared the area Firing Zone 918, in order to dispossess Palestinians from their homes and strengthen Israeli settlements in the area.
Since this declaration, residents have lived under the daily threat of demolitions, evictions, and dispossession. Families in Masafer Yatta are denied access to their land, roads, sources of water, schools, medical services, and hospitals. This is in addition to nearly daily violence from settlers in the region.
The legal outcome for the area remains a question, as residents await a court ruling which will determine their futures. If the Supreme Court decides to permit the expulsion of residents, it will be one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades and a further escalation of Israel’s policies of annexation and Apartheid.
We must not stand by quietly as the State evicts entire communities in our name. We cannot allow Apartheid to go unchallenged.