Ventiquattro autori, guidati da David Grossman, firmano una petizione contro l’espulsione forzata di otto villaggi palestinesi a Sud di Hebron. E fanno visita alle comunità.
Roma, 27 giugno 2013, Nena News – A difendere i villaggi palestinesi delle Colline a Sud di Hebron scendono in campo anche gli scrittori israeliani: 24 noti autori hanno firmato una petizione in cui chiedono di fermare l’espulsione forzata delle comunità palestinesi intrappolate nella cosiddetta Firing Zone 918 (leggi la storia).
Gli scrittori israeliani sono parte di un gruppo più ampio, ribattezzatosi “Help Save the Palestinian Villages in the South Hebron Hills”. Tra loro anche David Grossman: “Non possiamo portare la pace oggi – si legge nella petizione – Ma almeno possiamo mostrare cosa accade e condannare questo oltraggio locale. In un contesto di occupazione e di cinismo, ognuno di noi ha l’obbligo morale di provare ad alleviare le sofferenze, di fare qualcosa contro il gigante dell’occupazione e la sua mano crudele”.
Non solo: martedì quattro di loro (Sayed Kashua, Alona Kimhi, Eyal Megged e Zeruya Shalev) hanno fatto visita insieme a attivisti e giornalisti a tre dei villaggi minacciati di espulsione dal governo israeliano che considera le comunità “illegalmente residenti”. “Penso che la società israeliana sia stanca – ha detto Zeruya Shalev – Ma ogni tanto deve svegliarsi”. “La nostra idea dell’occupazione è divenuta nel tempo astratta e virtuale – ha aggiunto Alona Kimhi – So che nessuno parla di occupazione oggi, non è più parte del lessico israeliano, ma esiste. Faccio visita a questo luogo per dire alla gente di Israele che tutto ciò viene fatto a nome nostro”.
Il 15 luglio prossimo la Corte Suprema israeliana si pronuncerà sul piano di sgombero forzato di otto dei dodici villaggi, unilateralmente finiti all’interno dei confini della Firing Zone, zona militare per le esercitazioni dell’IDF creata negli anni Settanta. Da allora è cominciata una battaglia tra i dodici villaggi (Tuba, al-Mufaqarah, Isfey, Maghayir al Abeed, al-Majaz, at-Tabban, al-Fakheit, Halaweh, Mirkez, Jinba, Kharoubeh e Sarura) e Tel Aviv. Petizioni, campagne mediatiche, marce di protesta per fermare le espulsioni di comunità pastorali e contadine che vivono nelle colline da generazioni.
Sono oltre mille le persone a rischio di trasferimento forzato. I quattro scrittori firmatari hanno fatto visita ad alcuni villaggi, si sono seduti con i residenti e parlato con loro, conosciuto le loro storie: “Credo che questo fare qualche differenza”, ha commentato Lecker, uno degli avvocati israeliani che segue il caso, annunciando la presenza degli scrittori in tribunale il prossimo 15 luglio. “Penso che la loro partecipazione all’udienza sarà ancora più ampia – ha detto uno dei leader del villaggio di Jinba, Othman Jibril – Qui non abbiamo medici e avvocati. Siamo contadini e pastori. Viviamo della terra”. Nena News
Ahead of High Court case, authors sign petition, tour south Hebron Hills villages in support of 1,000 residents facing possible eviction.
June 26, 2013 – Writers Zeruya Shalev, Eyal Megged and Alona Kimhi and attorney Shlomo Lecker (from left to right) speak in the village of Mufaqara, south of Hebron, about Palestinians living within Firing Zone 918, who face possible military eviction. (photo: Matt Surrusco, +972 Magazine)
Twenty-four prominent Israeli writers recently signed a petition in support of Palestinians in danger of eviction from their homes in the South Hebron Hills. Next to Israeli activists, foreign journalists and Palestinian residents, four of the petition signers stood out on Tuesday as they toured three villages in Israel’s line of fire.
“We cannot bring peace today. But the least we can do is to expose and condemn ‘small’ local outrages,” the petition, drafted by David Grossman, reads.
“The only way to push out the Palestinians here was to declare it a military zone,” said attorney Shlomo Lecker, who along with Association for Civil Rights in Israel lawyers, is representing residents from eight villages in a petition to the High Court of Justice that will be heard July 15. “Every structure on the ground has a demolition order,” Lecker said.
Writers Sayed Kashua, Alona Kimhi, Eyal Megged and Zeruya Shalev, along with journalists and a coalition of Israeli activists, met with Palestinian residents in an effort to bring public attention to their ongoing struggle.
More than 1,000 people who live on the land that the IDF declared Firing Zone 918, a military training zone, face possible eviction and forced relocation by the state. Khalid Jabril, a resident of Jinba, the furthest southeast village in the West Bank, said sometimes the army uses people in the village unwillingly in training exercises. Israeli soldiers come to the village at night, wake up families and force the people to go outside, Jabril said. Sometimes there is verbal abuse and arrests are made. He said solders last came to Jinba for training exercises as recently as two days earlier.
The Palestinians, some of whom live in cave dwellings as their families have for generations, are not invaders or enemies of Israel, said Lecker, who first represented inhabitants of villages outside Yatta in 1999, after more than 700 residents were forcibly removed from their homes.
Well-known writers showed up and sat in the front row of the courtroom then to show support for the Palestinians in that case.
“I believe it made some difference,” Lecker reflected.
A village leader in Jinba Othman Jibril said he hoped the courtroom presence of Israeli writers would be even larger next month.
“The residents here are not doctors or lawyers. They’re farmers [and herders],” Jibril said. “They rely on their land for their livelihood.”
Twenty people live together in one cave dwelling in Jinba. Their toilet is inside the cave, despite health and sanitation concerns, because they fear the IDF will demolish any outhouse structure built outside the cave.
“If someone tells you to leave your home how would you feel?” said Said Mohammad Ibrahim Rabaa, a resident of Ar Rakeez, a nearby village in the South Hebron Hills. He said some of the cave dwellings were built three generations ago. His great-grandfather built his home, he added.
June 26, 2013 – The mosque in the village of Mufaqara, south of Hebron, an area within the military-designated Firing Zone 918, was demolished by the IDF in 2011. (photo: Matt Surrusco, +972 Magazine)
Israel claims the Palestinians living on the 30 square kilometers (or 7,400 acres) of land designated Firing Zone 918 are not permanent residents. However, lawyers and activists said they have been living there for 200 years, as evidenced by Defense Ministry documents and historical accounts.
But Lecker rejected the question of permanent residence, noting that the Palestinians own the land. The military, in this case, does not have the right to push people off privately owned land, he asserted.
In addition, international law says occupied land cannot be confiscated for the purpose of military training unless it is being used to prepare for current military action or immediate security needs.
Under a large tent in Mufaqara, where concrete remnants of a mosque demolished in 2011 still surround the cracked foundation, the three writers who stayed for the final leg of the tour spoke about their hope to raise public awareness with the petition.
“I think Israeli society is tired,” said novelist Zeruya Shalev. But, “you can wake her up from time to time.” Shalev said she plans to attend the hearing in July.
“Our whole image of the occupation has become very virtual, very abstract,” saidAlona Kimhi, another novelist.
The Palestinian residents of Jibna and Mufaqara said they are resolved to remain on their land.
“We tell the Israeli state, you may destroy the cement, but you will not destroy our steadfastness,” a Mufaqara village leader said.
Lecker said he doubts the courts would offer any final decision on possible evictions at the July 15 hearing. But the military, he added, will likely continue to harass villagers living within Firing Zone 918 and demolish structures in the interim.
“[An] eviction of 1,000 people is much harder than demolition,” Lecker said.
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