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Zanuta: The Return

On November, 29th 2023, International Day of Solidarity with Palestine, Palestinian villagers forcefully displaced from their lands through threats of murder by Israeli settlers, returned to their village, Zanuta, in Masafer Yatta. 

Supported by Israeli activists, and with international press in attendance, the villagers made their way to the site despite the road entrance having been blocked by the Israeli occupation forces. Soldiers did not prevent villagers from accessing the site but stipulated that they were not to repair any structures or build anything new.

Ethnically cleansed, abandoned village of Zanuta; photo by Bob

Ethnically cleansed, abandoned village of Zanuta; photo by Bob

After the soldiers left, a group of settlers turned up and threatened the villagers that if they remained at the site then they (the settlers) would “throw a big party”. The implication being that the villagers would be attacked.

As the villagers and activists were leaving, an armed militia, suspected to be settlers, wearing army uniforms and masks arrived. They stopped the villagers, searched the cars and inspected their IDs. Under observation from the activists and press, the militia let the Palestinians go.

The villagers of Zanuta have exercised their right, in the face of intimidation and threats, to return to and reclaim their homes and land.