Homsa: The abuse continues and the troubles do not end

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צביה שפירא ודפנה בנאי (מדווחת וצילמה)

We drove out late, because we were asked to bring shading material to Humsa, and waited until 2:30 p.m. for the order to arrive.

Zaatara/Tapuach Junction checkpoint is swamped with soldiers (2 days ago a soldier was shot to death there by a Palestinian): 2 communication vehicles, dozens of jeeps and APCs fill the car-park with dozens of soldiers among them, some standing in the hitchhikers’ posts at all 4 direction. The military celebration there is meant to catch the shooting Palestinian.

As usual, we stopped at the vegetable stand in the entrance to Yatma village (100 meters from the Za’atara Junction). He said that for the past 2 days the Israeli army has blocked the entire junction for hours. The question should be raised – does the search for the terrorist justify blocking the most important junction in the West Bank and holding the lives of thousands of innocent Palestinians at a standstill? People did not get to their workplaces, could not get home to break their Ramadan fast, could not make it hospital. Just as 4 soldiers shoot to death a poor woman, old and heavy, who holds a kitchen knife, thus the lack of proportions here in mobilizing thousands of soldiers to find one man – all show weakness rather than power. How would such an army tackle real defense missions?

All along the way we saw soldiers blocking entrances to villages (in Aqraba they blocked all the entrances) and buses pour out hundreds of soldiers to search for one person, who was eventually caught in a totally different district. War atmosphere, for real!

We drove on to visit the home of K.’s family, chased away from Al Hadidiya about 2 years ago, who at an early morning hour were involved in a serious traffic accident in which their babyinfo-icon daughter was killed and the mother seriously wounded. Since then, we had not met because of the Covid-10 pandemic, but missing was mutual and they called and asked us to come. The young couple has had another daughter 9 months ago, and named her Ayisha. Life. Unfortunately, the baby was born with a severe condition in her spine (spina safida) that paralyzes her legs, and other injuries. She is an incredibly sweet child, alert and surrounded with her family’s love. We sat in the large, airy hospitality tent. The mother said that at the end of the fast they hear the Muezzin, and then drink tea and eat yoghurt. Then they pray and only after the prayer, the entire family gathers there for the iftar dinner that includes vegetables, legumes, rice and meat or chicken. Later we were at Makhoul, and as they were would later have their dinner, we learned that they only have meat once a week. Naturally they invited us to join them 2 hours later, but we didn’t stay on.

Humsa: the people are still staying in pup tents donated by the Red Cross, although here and there larger tents appear. The weather begins to heat up (36 degrees today and no shade). The younger women and men were busy milking, and the older Ayisha was busy preparing iftar and baking bread. We felt this was not an appropriate time, even more so because the 6-month-old baby daughter wept bitterly upon seeing us and wouldn’t stop for a long time. After she did, and was placed with her back to us, she began screaming every time she did register our presence. Our visit had a purpose – we bring each family a backup battery for their phones, chargeable by solar energy. This is crucial because they live in such an isolated area, and since the Israeli army ruined their solar panels, they don’t even get the meager supply of electricity they had before.

We apologized, said we were in a hurry and as we sat down in our car, we were chased by Nadim, one of Ayisha’s sons, with a bag of 2 kilograms of cheese! (incidentally the chesses that Ayhisha and her daughters-in-law make are amazing…)

At night between May 3 and 4, the army chased the Humsa residents from their measly tents and sheep pens for the whole time from 7 p.m. until 22 a.m. the next morning, in order to hold a military exercise. In the middle of the Ramadan fast, they could not even properly break their fast with a real iftar dinner, but had to take something with them to eat in the heart of the desert. Israel will do everything in its power to make the lives of these people impossible, and force them to move into that crowded area on the edges of Area A (En Shibli). All this in order to expel all the Palestinians from the Jordan Valley and crowd them into the small Bantustan-like enclaves that Israel has allotted Palestinians in the Oslo Accords, named Area A.