South Hebron Hills, Susiya
As the result of an urgent request we went to Susiya, where a very unpleasant incident took place last night. This morning, Farid B. and his family moved to settle on a plot of land in Susiya after a quarrel with neighbors in another village. Yesterday, Saturday night, they arrived at the site, which is opposite the village and on the eastern side of the road. This morning families of settlers apparently on their way to read the Megillah on the 9th of Av, stopped at the small tent and began cursing and yelling, women, men and children and of course the army declared it a closed military area. This morning this incident with the settler families was repeated and the civil administration entered the picture and demanded from Farid that he destroy the tent or that his sons would lose their permit to enter Israel.
After a discussion and apparently an exchange of blows and violence, Farid destroyed his house.
The course of events is not entirely clear between yesterday and today, but in any case, the field worker from B'Tselem, Nasser, was arrested but received blow but was not injured. Everyone was very tense. When we arrived, there were ISM volunteers there, and everyone was waiting for the Civil Administration or the army to arrive and confirm that the permits were still in effect as a result of the demolition. Two soldiers appeared in the middle of the morning but did not enter the area. They stood near the fence and spoke quite comfortably with Farid, and then left.
The presence of ISM personnel in the field is not particularly auspicious - they are usually quite aggressive and this does not benefit the explosive situation on the ground. We understood that the CPT people would come later, and perhaps the Ecumenical group, who are more experienced and relaxed.
We'll follow the story with the licenses.
ISM - International Solidarity Movement
CPT - Christian Peacemakers Team