October 29, 2023: Escalations in the threat of forcible transfer & ethnic cleansing in Masafer Yatta


Spot Report from October 29, 2023:

There’s been a big escalation by settlers & soldiers against villages in Masafer Yatta over the last 24 hours. It’s no longer possible to tell the difference between settlers & soldiers as many settlers were activated in the reserves or have been granted status as civilian security teams by Ben Gvir and given military equipment.

FMEP gathered the information below from Palestinians in Masafer Yatta and activists supporting them.

Escalations include:

  • Last night, settlers in military uniform came into Susiya and told the inhabitants that they have 24 hours to leave or the settler-soldiers will come back and kill them. There are ten Israelis doing “protective presence” there now. (Tweet from B’Tselem’s Sarit Michaeli on this threat of forcible transfer.)
  • In Umm al Khair tonight, masked soldiers gathered the men of one side of the village in a tent, took their phones, and asked for a Hebrew speaker. At gunpoint, they forced the Hebrew speaker to recite their dictated condemnation of Hamas, in Hebrew and then in Arabic, and forced the other men to repeat the dicated condemnation of Hamas in Arabic — all on video. On the other side of the village, settler/soldiers confiscated phones and looked through them and gathered a group of men and beat them. They told the villagers that they need to raise Israeli flags over the village and when the settlers return tomorrow at 7pm, they will expel anyone who has not raised a flag over their house.
  • In Tuba: a few days ago, settlers punctured the water tanks belonging to one of the Palestinian families and later destroyed access to the water well, destroyed the remaining water tanks, and stole several sheep. Today, they planted an Israeli flag on one of the high hills of the village, which is a sign of starting an outpost.
  • In a village between A-Twani and Susiya – either Shab al Butum or Qawawis – farmers who were harvesting their olives were arrested and the military have not given the families information on where they’re being held.
  • Just south of Masafer Yatta, two villages are in the process of evacuating, because of settler/soldier violence: Zanuta and A-Nizan. Yehuda Shaul (of Breaking the Silence & Ofek) published threads on X on the expulsion/evacuation of Zanuta and the expulsion/evacuation of A-Nizan.

30 Israeli human rights organizations published this call to stop the forcible transfer.