Masafer Yatta is an area in the South Hebron Hills of the West Bank, which is home to twelve Palestinian villages totaling about 2,800 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, the Israeli army declared the area Firing Zone 918, in the early 1980s, 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.
On May 4th, 2022, the Israeli High Court issued its final decision in the decades-long case, rejecting the residents’ petition and giving the army the green light to forcibly evict these communities at a moment’s notice. If the Israeli army moves ahead with the eviction it will be one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades, an alarming precedent that could lead to further expulsions across the West Bank, and a further escalation of Israel’s policies of annexation and Apartheid.
We must not stand by as Israel evicts and expels entire communities. We cannot allow Apartheid to go unchallenged.