Military training

I am a citizen of the US currently visiting Palestine. I’m 64 years old. On March 7, myself and another international were attacked by Israeli settlers while standing on the outskirts of the Palestinian village of Tuba in Masafer Yatta. I was hit from behind, hard, with a large stick, and my companion was chased and threatened by a settler with an iron bar. The settler who hit me fractured my skull and caused a bleed in my brain. 

This is what the colonialism of Israeli settlers looks like for Palestinian families living in Masafer Yatta in the southernmost end of the West Bank. Supported by Israeli military and Police, settlers from the many settlements and illegal outposts in Masafer Yatta are systematically stealing Palestinian land and violently forcing  people from their land. To be here now in these 15  villages is to witness ethnic cleansing in real time.

In addition to daily settler threats, attacks, land theft, property destruction and violence, the area’s 1300 residents, more than half of them children, are facing imminent forced removal from their homes  to make way for the use of their lands by the Israeli military as a firing zone.  

An Israeli high court decision in May of 2022 ended a years-long legal battle by residents for the right to remain, and now the largest forced relocation of Palestinians since 1967 could happen at any moment. Israeli forces have already demolished schools, homes, roads, wells, olive trees and agricultural buildings, and delivered demolition orders to  every single structure.  

As US taxpayers, we contribute more than 8 million US dollars a day to the state of Israel. This is what we are buying. The strangulation of villages that are pinned down between illegal outposts. The shepherds forced to sell sheep to buy feed because they cannot access the land they planted a month ago. Women who face settler attacks while trying to reach a hospital in labor. Children who watched as their classrooms were demolished by Israeli forces with their desks and papers still inside. Families waking to the sight of entire olive groves burned or uprooted in the night by settlers. A young  man about to be married shot and paralyzed by Israeli soldiers while attempting to save his village’s  only generator from confiscation.  The death of a beloved elderly man run over and dragged by a heavy equipment trailer during a police raid to confiscate cars in his village.

The humans living in Masafer Yatta desperately need the world to witness the bitterness of colonialism in their fields and olive groves. They desperately need for us to pay attention.