Since October 7, Mus’ab Rawai and his family have endured intensifying harassment and intimidation by illegal settlers from the nearby outpost of Havat Maon. Built on stolen village land, it has some of the most violent and “ideological” settlers in the area.
The family home, which is located on the edge of at-Tuwani in Masafer Yatta, the village the family have called home for generations, became a target for attacks as the nearest home to the outpost following its establishment eighteen years or so ago. The family were prevented from accessing their grazing land for livestock and were often subject to violent attacks.
Over the past seven weeks, Mus’ab and his family have been subjected to almost daily harassment by heavily armed settlers / settler militia (most wearing army uniforms) from the outpost. This has taken the form of everything from preventing access to their land for harvesting olives, theft of equipment and vandalism to physical attacks and beatings, death threats and raids by soldiers / settler militia.
On one such raid five weeks ago, internationals were with the family and witnessed the aggressive behaviour, including smashing of mobile phones, physical manhandling, extensive damage done to property and food stores under the pretext of a search and threats to “come back and do much worse”.
Today, the family were subject to a further serious attack by two heavily armed settlers accompanied by three “soldiers” who invaded his home. Mus’ab recognised them as the same group who had invaded his home and beat him and his brother two weeks previously as they objected to the family looking out from their home towards the settlement
On this occasion, apparently incensed by Mus’ab letting his sheep graze on his own land adjacent to his house, one of the settlers (in army uniform) pointed his gun at Mus’ab threatened to kill him or anyone who came to help. The settler threatened to kill his wife and children, directing his weapon towards them, telling the women that if they didn’t get back in the house he would kill them all.
For no reason, the settlers then took Musab’s 40 year old brother, Amjad, zip tied his wrists behind his back and tightened them further and forced him to the ground when he complained they were to tight and then abducted him, throwing stones at Musab’s house as they did so. The settler-soldiers kept him captive for around one and a half hours, a period of intense anxiety for the family. He was taken by another group of soldiers in a vehicle along the main road to around 15km away from the village and ordered out. From there he had to find a lift back.
The cumulative effect of these incidents is having a devastating impact on the family’s wellbeing. The constant stress of anticipatory anxiety as to what will happen next, of having to maintain watch at night every night , and the sense of injustice arising from the impunity with which the illegal settlers perpetrate their crimes, takes its toll.