Israeli forces beat up international activists in Masafer Yatta


Israeli forces today beat up a number of international solidarity activists in Masafer Yatta in the southern Hebron hills, according to local sources. Coordinator of the Protection and Steadfastness Committee in Masafer Yatta, Fuad al-Amour, said the heavily-armed soldiers brutally assaulted a number of international activists while protesting the military drills close to and in al-Markez, and held two others for a long period. The Israeli army have been conducting drills in al-Markez, one of 12 hamlets making up the Masafer Yatta, which rely heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, for the second day in a row. Al-Amour added that the army has built mock-ups as targets between the makeshift dwellings of the hamlet residents and has been conducting training with heavy weaponry, spreading panic among the residents. The army has also deployed military checkpoints in the vicinity of the hamlets in the area, in preparation for military training, and perhaps paving the way for an imminent removal of the Palestinian residents. Recently, Israel’s top court gave the army the green light to forcibly expel some 1,300 Palestinians living in twelve villages or hamlets making up the Masafer Yatta area, which relies heavily on animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, marking one of the largest expulsions carried out by the State of Israel in recent decades. Located in Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli administrative and military control, the area has been subjected to repeated Israeli violations by settlers and soldiers targeting their main source of living - livestock. It has been designated as a closed Israeli military zone for training since 1980s and accordingly referred to as Firing Zone 918. Israeli violations against the area include demolition of animal barns, homes and residential structures. Issuance of construction permits by Israel to local Palestinians in the area is non-existent.