Photos of Palestinians facing home razing hung in Israel
Dozens of photographs showing pictures of Palestinians threatened by Israeli expulsion were hung in Israeli cities on Sunday night.
The photographs capture some of the 1,300 residents of communities in Masafer Yatta, in the southern occupied West Bank, who face the possibility of forced transfers from their homes pending an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in March 2022.
The photos, on display in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and South Hebron Hill, are part of a “Global Week of Action” organised in solidarity with the residents of Masafar Yatta in advance of the court hearing.
“The campaign stems from an ongoing desire to build Jewish, Israeli and Palestinian solidarity,” one campaign organiser told The New Arab.
“The aim is to bring this issue to the Israeli public... moving away from technical debates and putting a human face on the occupation,” said the organiser, who asked to remain anonymous.
Some of the photos show young school children with the caption: “[Her or His] entire school is ordered to be demolished.”
Others show residents outside or near the homes they might be expelled from.
QR codes on the photographs direct observers to a website with testimonies from the people featured.
One of those stories is from 23-year-old Ali Awad, a resident of the village of Tuba.
Tuba is one of 12 villages that was declared “Firing Zone 918” by the Israeli military.
“In the past 21 years, we have lived in fear of being evicted while simultaneously watching the settlements and outposts around us take over more and more of our roads and pasture lands,” said Ali.
Ali’s family was evicted by the Israeli military in 1999. They were able to return in 2000, but they have been waiting for the Supreme Court’s final ruling on the status of their land ever since.
“My oldest memory is fear. With the excitement of every house we succeeded to build in Tuba came the fear that it could be demolished at any moment,” he said.
If the Israeli Supreme Court votes to expel the local Palestinian communities next year, it will be “one of the largest forced eviction of Palestinian families in Israeli controlled territory in decades,” according to the photo campaign.
“These are strategies [used by] the Israelis to justify pushing Palestinians off their land in the name of security,” the campaign organiser said.
“That’s just not right.”
The activist said it is important to raise awareness about this case with “life-altering consequences” for the local community, because international and public pressure can make a difference.
“We need to gather together to stand against the forces of occupation. We cannot let them evict thousands of people for training or for any reason,” said a Palestinian activist and resident of Masaffer Yatta, Basil Adra.
The South Hebron Hills are located in Area C of the occupied West Bank.
The area is subjected to Israeli control and Palestinian residents are often targeted by illegal settlers.
During a recent violent clash in September 2021, a Palestinian toddler was hospitalised after Israeli settlers attacked the village of Al-Mufaqarah.