Union of Agricultural Work Committees Warns of an Imminent Massacre Against Peasants of Masafer Yatta by Settlers: Urgent Action Needed
(October 30, 2023) Late night on October 28th, armed settler groups launched violent attacks on several Palestinian agricultural communities in the eastern area of the Al Khalil (Hebron) governorate. Nidal Younis, the head of the Masafer Yatta council, reports that these settler gangs raided homes in areas including Susiya, Khirbet Wadi Jehesh, and Khirbet Tuba, where 55 families totaling 550 individuals reside. The settlers violently assaulted the residents, issuing a chilling 24-hour ultimatum for them to vacate their homes and lands; failure to do so would result in their murder and subsequent arson of their homes.
The aggressors traumatized children, vandalized properties, and stole livestock – a critical source of livelihood for these communities. Nasr Nawaj’ah, a resident of Susiya, narrates the night’s horror and emphasizes the heightened threat to their lives. There is a clear fear for the very existence of these communities.
These targeted areas represent a fraction of the larger Palestinian communities in the region, comprising nearly 12,000 Palestinians spread across more than 30 communities, all of which are surrounded by hostile settler settlements. These Palestinians have consistently endured systematic and brutal attacks, such as the direct shooting of a farmer by a settler in the nearby village of Tuwani two weeks ago.
We implore international and human rights organizations to act urgently to protect these Palestinian peasant communities. There is an imminent threat of a massacre at the hands of settler gangs, who often function under the protection of the Israeli military and police. The immediate provision of international protection for these areas is essential to prevent a total catastrophe.
It is critical to note that all these communities are in “Area C” of the West Bank. Since October 7th, amidst Israel’s devastating offensive on Gaza, settler gangs have been exploiting the world’s preoccupation with the Israeli genocide in Gaza, intensifying their ethnic cleansing campaigns in “Area C.” More than 30 communities, housing over 500 families, have already been displaced.
We urgently call upon the international community and human rights organizations to mobilize and intervene, preventing further settler aggression, forced displacement, and potential massacres.
Stand with us. Protect Palestinian lives and rights.