Israel forcibly transfers the community of ‘Ein Samia

12:00 May 22 2023 Ein Samiya (عين سامية, Samia) and Israel's Kochav Hashahar (כּוֹכַב הַשַּׁחַר) settlement and Habladim outpost

Ein Samia, May 2023. Published by Btselem

Residents leaving the Palestinian village of Ein Samia in the West Bank, Tuesday. Credit: Looking the Occupation in the Eye. Published by Haaretz

by Btselem (The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories)
May 23, 2023

Yesterday (Monday, 22 May 2023), the last residents of the Palestinian community of ‘Ein Samia, a community next to Ramallah that was home to about 200 residents, were forced to leave their land. Israel has made their lives unbearable, leaving residents with no other choice. For years, residents of the community have suffered from violence carried out by Israeli forces, from settler violence carried out with the full backing of the State, and from extreme restrictions on building homes and infrastructure, as well as demolitions. The community’s school is set to be demolished soon, following a recent court approval.

Israel’s policy, whose goal is to allow the state to take over more and more Palestinian land to be used by Jews, is applied across the West Bank against dozens of Palestinian communities. This policy is illegal. Forcible transfer is a war crime.

'I Left for My Children' | West Bank Palestinian Village Residents Flee Amid Ongoing Israeli Settler Violence

Speaking to Haaretz, residents said the problems go back about five years, but the 'last straw' came a few nights ago – when settlers arrived in the village and threw stones at homes

by Hagar Shezaf for Haaretz
May 24, 2023

A community of some 200 Palestinians living in tents and temporary structures in the West Bank village of Ein Samia have decided to leave their home, which they have been inhabiting since the 1980s, due to ongoing Israeli settler violence.

Speaking to Haaretz, two of the residents said that the problems began about five years ago, but worsened over the past year. Ein Samia is located near the Israeli settlement of Kochav Hashahar and the Habladim outpost, which is regarded as a center of violence in the West Bank.

The B'Tselem nonprofit organization has documented several settler attacks in the area of the village over the years, including one in which a Palestinian was attacked with a bat and another involving spike strips being placed on the road leading to the village.

“We decided to leave out of fear of the settlers,” Khader, a father of nine, told Haaretz. “I left for my children. My youngest said to me, ‘I don’t want to live here – the settlers come and throw stones. Tomorrow they could kill me.’”

Khader said that several days ago, settlers came to the village at night and threw stones at houses, some of which had children inside. That incident was the last straw and led to the decision to abandon the place, he said.

Settlers used to "bring their sheep to eat the wheat I had sown," Khader said, adding that he would call the police but the settlers would leave before they arrived.

"The army brought us here [to Ein Samia]. Before that we lived in what is today [the settlement of] Kochav Hashahar," he went on to explain, adding that the army relocated them in order to establish a military base that soon became a settlement. Khader added that the members of the community once lived near Be'er Sheva, but were relocated from that area. A school that was built for them several years ago was immediately demolished by Israel.

Mustafa, another resident of the village, said that a few years ago a settler came arrived in the village and referred to himself as "their manager." According to Mustafa, he suggested to the settler that they live side by side like neighbors. "I told him, let's be friends here – I'll help you and you'll help me. He responded, 'The fact that you live here, I don't feel good about it. I want you to move elsewhere,'" Mustafa said.

In a Whatsapp group for "hilltop youth," which consists of radical, often violent Israeli settler youth from illegal outposts – a message was shared celebrating the villagers' decision to leave. “Good news! Two Bedouin encampments that had taken control of land next to Kochav Hashahar in recent years are leaving the place," the message read.

Alon Cohen Lifshitz, an architect working for the nonprofit Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, said in response to the news that "Israeli authorities’ desire to evict herding communities from Area C by demolishing homes and cisterns all the time is nothing in the face of their silence on the horrific violence perpetuated by settler rioters, who effectively executing the policies of the current government."

B'Tselem said in response that “Residents of the community have suffered years of violence by Israeli forces, draconian restrictions on residential and infrastructure construction including demolitions and settler violence with the complete backing of the state. The community school was supposed to be razed soon after a court approved the demolition. Similar policies, whose purpose is to enable Israelis to get control of more and more Palestinian land for use by Jews, are being employed in large parts of the West Bank toward scores of Palestinian communities. These policies are illegal – expulsion is a war crime.”

Under settler terror, Palestinians tear down and flee their village

Twenty-seven Palestinian families made the devastating decision to leave their homes in 'Ein Samia, hounded out by Israeli settlers and army pressure.

by Basel Adra for 972Mag
May 25, 2023

The 27 Palestinian families who lived in the small village of ‘Ein Samia, located northeast of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, finally made the painful decision to leave their homes of more than 40 years after months of escalating Israeli settler violence. Some of the families said they were moving west to the village al-Majeer, while others told +972 they didn’t yet know where they were going.

On Tuesday, in the now depopulated village, I saw dozens of residents, most of them women, under the blazing sun, destroying their houses with their own hands. I had never witnessed anything like it, and I wasn’t sure what to say to them.

A man who was cutting through his roof with a saw looked at me and yelled: “Why are you taking pictures? What will that photo do to help us? Photographers have come and taken many photos in the last few years. They document how the military destroys our homes, how the settlers attack us, but no matter how much we scream and beg for help, the world sees it all but does nothing to stop it. The situation is only getting worse. Now we’ve decided to destroy our homes ourselves and to leave. Now the settlers will take the land, just like they wanted.”

Residents say they were compelled to leave after a fierce spate of violence over the previous five days, during which settlers attacked them at night, blocked the roads to the village, and threw stones at the old homes. The mental toll of the attacks, especially on the children, was the decisive factor in the residents’ choice to destroy the village and move away.

Amid the half-wrecked homes that lay in every corner of the village, I saw families packing their belongings into trucks. Little kids gathered their toys and books into piles while men and women packed their clothing, mattresses, and kitchen appliances into cars, and then destroyed the aluminum buildings and tents they have lived in for decades. I watched the village disappear before my eyes.

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Villagers forced to abandon Ein Samiya due to Israeli population transfer policies and settler violence 5/22/2023
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