Sansana (Meitar Crossing), South Hebron Hills

Observers: 
Nili and Hagit (report and photos); Translator: Tal H.
08/08/2016
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Morning

Meitar Checkpoint – the Hebron children who go on “Beach Day” today crossed without problems, and immediately followed by 5 buses of prisoners’ families on their way to visit their imprisoned relatives.

Ever since we began our MW shifts here in 2004 we have maintained close ties with the inhabitants of Khirbet Tuwane. Today we were glad to see the impressive road sign indicating their village name, and the paved road. The barrier that blocked them from proceeding to Yatta town has also been removed.

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Some information about Khirbet Tuwane and the neighboring localities:

In the South Hebron Hills Palestinians live without running water and electricity supply, with no legal possibility of constructing and developing their localities, and under constant threat that the structures they did put up without ‘legal’ permission – as no such permission is issued – will be demolished. About one thousand people in this area, half of whom are children, live under tangible threat of expulsion from their homes and destruction of their villages and hamlets, on the claim that they are living inside a firing zone. Background: the Massafer Yatta area, the southern part of the South Hebron Hills, is located in the southern West Bank, close to the ‘green line’, on the edge of the desert. The largest community in the region is the town of Yatta. To the south and east of it, over 30 hamlets are scattered, populated by over 4,000 inhabitants. The area, called Massafer Yatta- Yatta’s offshoot villages – is rich with natural caves. According to a study published by the Ministry of Defense Publications, the first third of the 19th century saw the beginning of a process that lasted until the late 1940s, of Yatta inhabitants leaving the town and living in caves of this area. Some of the caves served as permanent dwellings for families who left Yatta for economic reasons and tilled the land around. Other caves served as seasonal dwellings for shepherds in the grazing season, lasting about 7 months a year. Some caves turned into the shepherd families’ permanent dwellings. At present the inhabitants of the area live mainly in tents and other provisional structures and find meager livelihood in some agricultural crops and sheep- and goat-herding. A field study conducted by B’Tselem and ACRI in autumn 2012 in 12 of the hamlets in the area included within the firing zone shows that most of their inhabitants live there on a permanent basis. Most of their produce is for their own consumption. The Civil Administration does not recognize the Massafer Yatta hamlets and refuses to approve construction plans for them, except for the village of A-Tuwane, inhabited by 350 people, and for which a plan has been prepared. In February 2009 Bimkom organization presented its objections to the proposed plan. 

The South-Eastern entrance to Bani Na’im is still closed off.