Resistance against ghettoization and home demolitions in South and East Yatta
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Resistance against ghettoization and home demolitions in South and East Yatta

On Wednesday May 31st, the people of South and East Yatta resisted attacks on their villages, as Occupation forces stepped up their isolation and expulsion policies in south Hebron district. Clashes broke out in Um Lasafa, where homes have been demolished, and in South Yatta villagers forced the Occupation to dismantle parts of the Wall in order to grant them access to Yatta, from which they have been isolated.

Last Wednesday, the Occupation finished laying the foundations for the Wall along the Jewish-only “Road 80”. This road will isolate the villages of Wadi al Amaireh, Imnezel and She’eb al Buttum from much of their lands, nearby Yatta and the rest of the West Bank. This Wall will be a parallel Wall to the one running closer to the Green Line. Together the two walls will imprison the people in southeast Yatta from both sides. People in the area risk completely losing access to urban facilities and services in Yatta and Hebron, upon which they are dependent. As a result, the 1,500 people living in the area will be forced to leave their lands and homes.

In protest against their ghettoization, the people spontaneously gathered and blocked the racist Jewish-only road. The Occupation military and workers guarding the Wall’s construction site immediately attacked and violently beat the people. However, all were determined to stay and refused to end the demonstration. In the end, Occupation Forces had no choice but to dismantle parts of the Wall’s foundations in order to ensure people a way through.

At the same time, Occupation Forces attacked Um Lasafa, East Yatta, and partly demolished three houses. The people resisted the Occupation bulldozers and clashes ensued, yet the homes could not be saved. Since 1967 no housing permits have been given in the area, so all constructions date back more than 40 years. Their owners have added further rooms for their growing families, and added bathroom and kitchen facilities. With no electricity in the village, most families still rely on the taboun, the traditional outdoor oven, for their cooking.

One target of the Occupation in Um Lasafa was the home of Ismail Alayyan Awad and the13 people in his family. Two rooms, the kitchen and the taboun were destroyed, leaving just the three rooms built before 1967 to house the entire family. Another villager, Ahmed Alayyan Awad, and the six members of his family had their kitchen, bathroom and the taboun destroyed, and are also left with just three rooms without services. Another house was also turned to rubble, belonging to Muhammad Odeh Atiyyeh. All five people in his family are now forced to stay in the one room built before ’67.

Um Lasafa has for many years been a target of Zionist colonization. Karmel settlement has stolen 400 dunums of the village’s land, and the settlers bar Palestinians from reaching lands close to it. Now, the Wall along the Jewish-only road will isolate a further 250–300 dunums from the village.

Far away from the center of attention, under the pretence of making “modifications” to the Wall’s path, the “official” Wall construction has been moved closer to the Green Line, all the while simultaneously imprisoning people through a second wall along the settler road. In this way, a clear policy of expulsion is being developed in South and East Yatta.