by ISM media team, October 17th
The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported yesterday that settlers from the illegal colony of Susia, east of Yatta in the south of the Hebron region, annexed 150 dunams of farmland, plowed them and planted several trees. The annexed orchards are located near the colony. According to the agency, the settlers planted olive, almond, and evergreen trees, while Israeli soldiers closed the area and barred the Palestinian owners of the orchards from entering it.
The Palestinian residents did not receive any annexation orders from the Israeli authorities and were not given any chance to defend their lands in front of any Israeli court. Most of the newly annexed areas belong to the families of Al Shamesty, Abu Sabha, and Al Sha’abeen.
Settlers in the south Hebron Hills are notorious for their violent attacks on local Palestinian farmers and their property. In September masked settlers attacked and hospialised 79-year-old Khalil Nawaja, just the latest in a series of attacks on farmers. In the summer, international human rights workers volunteering in the area at the invitation of local Palestinians were attacked by masked settlers from Susia.
In a separate incident, settlers expanded a cattle ranch in the Um Zeitouna area, which is a Palestinian area located between the illegal Israeli colonies of Karmiel and Maon, south-east of Hebron city. Farmers in the area told WAFA that colonist’s bulldozers are destroying the annexed Palestinian lands in order to expand the ranch.
The farmers added that the colonists placed concrete blocks, some fixed to the ground, and installed barracks in the ranch that was constructed 15 years ago on lands annexed from the Palestinian residents.