South Hebron Hills

Ariela Slonim (photographing, Michal Tsadik (reporting and photographing); Translator: Natanya

The truth of the settlers of Yaakov Talia Farm in the face of the truth of the villagers of Imanzil and the wisdom of dreaming of the occupation.

We went to visit the people of al-Tuwani after the visit to Susya, which I will report separately

Everything is as usual there so we ask the members of the Italian Peace Organization, Operation Dove how they are getting on. They stay there for a few years and assist the Palestinians and report on what is happening. Two young girls there now say that in November the army escorted the children to the hospital without problems, but in October there were four delays that disrupted the children's walk and reached the school. The children are constantly being threatened by settlers from Havat Ma'on. The settlers "Only" whistle at the children  and curse them  but  the children are very frightened all the time.

While we were talking, they received a phone call from Nasser that there was an “unusual “incident at the Metzadot Yehuda checkpoint near the settlement of Beit Yatir on Road 316. We followed them immediately. It turns out that there were problems  between the people of the Yaakov Talia farm not far from the village of Imnainzil.

When we arrived soldiers  with  their  weapons pointed were standing in front of a group of women, children and men.

The Palestinians say they went to work their land, and the settlers began throwing stones at them. The army was called in and arrested Palestinians, two women and four men who were being questioned at the checkpoint. One of the women had her babyinfo-icon with her while she was working and she was also arrested. The baby was kept by one of the other women.

The soldiers say that they came to the place because they saw in their cameras that the villagers had attacked the  settlers who were working in their fields.

I asked: Did you see the event from its beginning? The soldiers said that the Palestinians were the first to attack.

Whose is the land? The soldiers of the Combat engineering division know that it belongs to the members of the farm.

18-year-old soldiers and who amongst them understands that they are part of  the history of the occupation?

The villagers insist  on coming each year to try  to cultivate their lands. Which  are  now being cultivated by the settlers  of this illegal and  lonely farm.

So every year during the plowing season something happens.

Now everyone was afraid and agitated, both Palestinians and soldiers. The Palestinians because Two women, one of whom  was still nursing her baby, had been detained.

The settlers were also taken for questioning, but mainly to identify their so called attackers, of course. The soldiers because they were scared that the situation would take a turn for the worse and stood with their soldiers pointed at the Palestinians.

The  mother of the detained woman keened and lamented and her friends joined her. The men were on the point of exploding. The officer was young and intelligent and luckily was prepared  to talk to them and to us patiently trying to find a way to calm things down. The mother cried out that the baby's milk and clothes and objects had remained in the field. The IDF agree to allow  two women to go and fetch the things accompanied by soldiers. They were afraid to go there alone.

We volunteered to accompany them. The IDF demanded that they pass only through the checkpoint that the magnometer will examine because they are on the Palestinian side of the separation fence. We went with them to the checkpoint. The person responsible,  aggressive and rude would not allow them to pass because they did not have permits .The IDF does not want the  Palestinians  go through  the fields as the illegal workers through the hills.

I demanded that the  right hand should know what the left hand is doing and that the army should coordinate with The Border Patrol Unit of the Defense Ministry who are  in charge of the checkpoint as to  how to solve such a complicated problem. The problem of  two elderly women who  have to go to the field to take a bottle of milk and baby clothes.

I called Gilad, the director of the Meitar checkpoint, who is also in charge of this checkpoint. It is a humanitarian problem I told him and needs to be handled with discretion. We are accompanied, accompanied by IDF soldiers, what is the problem? He was as honest and cooperative as ever but unable to do anything. Only the DCO can approve such unusual entry, and promise to talk to the man in charge.

The major arrived   and I tried to speak to him. But he was rude and said to me  that he would  deal with the incident and that I was not part of it. Being  a Druze  he went to speak to the villagers in Arabic. He tried to convince them to go home saying that the police had already taken those whom they wanted for  questioning and so there was no point in staying there. He convinced them and they went home

But the two women waited and so did we.

Gilad managed to talk to the officer who did  not want to talk to me and he took the officer of the security force and they disappeared

It was  late and our driver had to report  for another trip.

We asked the two Italian girls to wait and escort the women to the field when the authority was given

And we left.

After two hours at 15:00, I received a phone from them that they were indeed allowed to cross with the women and took the things which had been forgotten in the field. Later we got a call that the young mother had been released.

The stolen Cossacks are given full assistance and guarded and the  Palestinian people who have been robbed of their land are considered rioters.