In South Hebron Hills, Even Sheep Are Not Safe from Settlers

12:00 Oct 27 2011 al-Litwani & al-Jawaya, near Yatta, South Hebron hills

by Juwaid al-Tamimi (Wafa)

The villages of al-Litwani and al-Jawaya, in the south Hebron hills, are suffering from settler attacks and even the sheep are not spared. Settlers from the illegal outposts of Ma’on, Susya, and Karmel, all built on land belonging to the Palestinian village of Yatta, made their latest attack on Thursday and killed 10 sheep.

“As always, the settlers attacked the villages under the protection of the army,” said 31-year-old Kamal Ruba’i. “They detain the citizens to give the settlers time to steal our homes and kill our sheep. And that’s not all, they drove 300 of our sheep to eat the crops we’ve been working in it the whole year.”

Ruba’i said the settlers then stole the sheep.

Ratib al-Jabour, the coordinator of the Yatta Committee Against the Wall and Settlements said many people who live in the south Hebron hills came out to help and protect their friends from the settlers, but were stopped by Israeli soldiers, who blocked the area and declared it a closed military zone.

Mohammed Mohayna, 43, said that the occupation has turned thousands of acres of Yatta land into a military training area over the past years and destroyed their income sources. Nevertheless, he says he plans to stay.

“We will keep to our land, living in it and for it,” said Mahmoud Dababseh, 46. “We will not leave until they put us on their shoulders and carry us out, no matter how hard it becomes for us.”

The president of the al-Litwani village council, Sabr al-Hraini, said the village was being targeted because settlers coveted the land, but said “the attacks will only make us stronger.”

“We are in a continued war with settlers,” said Zahran Abu Qubeita, the mayor of Yatta. “No day goes by without an attack on our children, lands and even our sheep.”

According to Yatta municipality figures, of the village’s original 95,000 dunums (a dunum is about a quarter of an acre), Israeli soldiers and settlers have taken around 30,000.
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