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International Solidarity Movement Podcast episode 10: Resisting demolitions in Khallet-Al-Daba’

In Episode Ten of our podcast we speak to Jaber from the village of Khallet al-Daba’, in Masafer Yatta, in the South Hebron Hills.

The Israeli supreme court has ordered the destruction of several villages in Masafer Yatta, and the occupation wants to destroy Khallet al-Daba’ first. The residents of Khallet al-Daba’ remain steadfast in the face of the demolitions, and are calling for international volunteers to come to the village and support them.



Introduction 0:00

Hey, welcome to international solidarity movement podcast [translation in Arabic]

Tom 0:18

Hey, and welcome to Episode ten of the International Solidarity Movement podcast. My name is Tom and in this episode we talk to Jabba from the village of Khallet al-Daba’ in Masafer Yatta in the south Hebron hills, the village of Khallet al-Daba’ is under threat of complete destruction by the Israeli military. And residents have asked the International Solidarity Movement and other supporters to maintain a presence in the village and support the villagers steadfastness in the face of the occupier. Now, I hand over to Jabba to tell us why it’s urgent that the people of Khallet al-Daba’ receive our support and solidarity. You can find out more by visiting the Save Masafer website. You can find links to this website and to other useful websites about Masafer Yatta in the show notes for this show.

Tom 1:10

Okay, so we’re here with with Jabba from the village of Khallet al-Daba’. and it’s a village where [the] International Solidarity Movement has been staying in the recent months because of the threat of demolition and eviction of the village by Israeli forces. And, yeah, so I just want to – we just wanted to hear, first of all, like, what it was like, well. Listeners [who are] listening to the podcast outside of Palestine won’t know what it’s like in Khallet al-Daba’. So maybe you could describe the village – describe growing up here in the village – you know, give people an idea of what Khallet al-Daba’ is like.

Jaber 1:50

Arabic & fades out

Translation 1:56

So as we know, like most of Palestine, people in Palestine know the situation in Khallet al-Daba’ and Masafer Yatta that’s facing the forced eviction from the Israeli occupation. And Khallet al-Daba’, like other villages in Masafer Yatta is under the threat of being evicted and demolished. They have faced many demolitions since 2018. And even [with] all these threats around them, they will not stop – they will not ever give up against these violations. And even like, before two days [ago], there was a confiscation of their tents, the solidarity tents of the international presence, and the attacks on [Jabba] and his brother – that he was like having a broken leg in a demolition, before that – and for today also they also attacked him with the same injury so they were facing like the pain together. And but at the end they will not stop all of this – like they will not give up, [their] steadfastness against this occupation.

Tom 3:02

Can you tell us about what it’s like day to day in Khallet al-Daba’ not knowing whether the the army will come or the settlers will come… the pressures that the occupation and the settlements put on the daily life here?

Jaber 3:20

Arabic & fades out

Translation 3:26

So this is the reality – that all of this pressure [is] on them every day and as you said, like, no one can stop the Israeli occupation of like his harassment of the human rights. Even like the people outside – like the countries that are against the violation of the human rights – like even they cannot stop the occupation from doing all of these violations. And also the new government that came and that pushed also a lot on the Palestinians in order you know, to let them suffer and to you know, to leave their lands. As I said, okay, all of these things they do around us for the pressure – but that will never make us weak and we will continue and he’s asking for an international presence in here in the village, in order even to make for the demolition …or like if there is a demolition in a day, and there’s like a presence international and Palestinian, so he’d like it to be a kind of hard thing for the Israeli forces in order to demolition or to confiscate something. So these things can help – as like a good example, two days ago when the Israeli forces came and confiscated the tents there was no numbers [of volunteers] and like in the easy way they just take everything and they go. And he was even not expecting that much easy that they will take everything where no one can stop them.

Tom 4:49

And yeah, just for context, so right now [as of December 2022] the number of international volunteers for example is quite small. But does he think that – that we could do more if there were larger numbers of people? Would he like to see more people coming?

Jabba 5:11

Arabic & fades out

Translation 5:15

So for sure the international presence would help and with the more international volunteers would be more important as you said like he understands the situation that now in the end of the year and there is Christmas and most of the people cannot be here, everyone you need to go for some time home. And this is like the time for occupation to do his crimes. Because no social media can go out with the [volunteers] to know, and to like spread awareness. So this is like the time for them to push on the Palestinians here. And even though they have talked with many organisations to have more volunteers, but like unfortunately, like, there is no presence yet from the other organisation[s].

Tom 5:57

And we’re hoping that the listeners to this podcast will share the information about what’s happening here with their comrades and, and maybe hearing the voices of people here will inspire people to come. I wanted to ask about – you talked about steadfastness on the land, and this form of resistance, which is being connected to the land and remaining on the land, despite all of the pressures. Could you talk about that? And also, you know, whether you feel a particular connection to this area – to the natural landscape?

Jaber 6:31

Arabic & fades out

Translation 6:37

So Khallet al-Daba’ – the Israeli DCO [District Coordinating Office – part of the infrastructure of the occupation created by the Oslo agreement] knows and we have all of the [legal] proofs that it [belongs to] the Palestinians. And they are, you know, creating policies in order to evacuate the people and steal the lands and even transfer the settlers to stay here. So they have many plans. And he said, like, their plans will lose because it’s our land. And like, even they can demolish, but they will not steal our hope and we’ll not go out from the land. They will demolish our homes, but we will not go out of the land. And okay, they are like pushing the people and how they can do, but at the end, [the Palestinians] can stay and steadfast against the occupation. And because you know, the view of the people, how they will respond against all of these violations that happen around them and all these pressures, because the people also, you know, they just have these lands, where afterwards can they go? Because afterwards if they will be evicted, they will be refugees after this. So they didn’t have just like this piece of land to stay and they own this land. So no other choices to go out or [anything but] just to resist this occupation… So they defend the land that belongs to them, and they want to stay on it, there is no other choices, as you say.

Tom 8:02

And the Israeli state strategy in the area is not only about Khallet al-Daba’, it’s also about the whole area of Masafer Yatta. So do you think that if the Israeli state is successful here in Khallet al-Daba’ and – of course we hear that the people here will resist and will not allow that to happen – but the state will also attempt to evict other communities here in Masafer Yatta?

Jaber 8:29

Arabic & fades out

Translation 8:39

So they have decisions to evict other villages in Masafer Yatta. But like, as you said, like they have the power to evict, and to break, and to demolish and to destroy, but they didn’t have the power to take the people out of their lands.

Tom 8:54

Thank you very much. And yeah, if people want to learn about how to get involved, people can have a look at the Save Masafer Yatta website, and also palsolidarity.org, the website of the International Solidarity Movement – and check out the International Solidarity Movement on social media too. But yeah, thank you very much. Is there anything else that you’d like to say about the situation here?

Jaber 9:21

Translation to Arabic and fade out

Translation 9:36

So what he said like okay, Khallet al-Daba’ is the first village that’s going to be evicted from the decision that the court gave on the 28th of December. So he spoke about the international presence about like how it was the example – [the last time where] they confiscated the tent. That was like even a simple thing, but when they will demolish a house it will be [much] worse, for them it will be a disaster, because it’s like – a house is really hard to rebuild again. So like given the plans – how to be an international presence here – to be in the village. Because if you would be out of the place that will be evicted, it will to be hard for you to come in. For example, like the last demolition that was here when they confiscated, the first thing is they didn’t see the international presence and [therefore] that no one is taping, [so] they just started to attack. When like we came in and arrived to the place, they start you know with a with a simple thing to you know, divide the people to not reach their machines or to not reach the people who are confiscating. So this [volunteer presence is] how to effect them to not use violence against the Palestinians.

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