13 February 2014
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Palestinian shepherd detained near Jinba
A Palestinian shepherd who was
grazing his flock near the village of Jinba in Masafer Yatta, West Bank, was detained today
for over one hour by Israeli soldiers. Jinba lies inside Israeli Firing Zone 918,
where 1000 residents in 8 villages face possible forced removal by the
Israeli military, pending a legal case.
The legal situation for families
living in Jinba and seven other villages in Masafer Yatta is extremely
tenuous. In September 2013, the Israeli High Court of Justice held
a hearing on a petition filed by the families of Masafer
Yatta. The petition seeks to prevent the Israeli military from forcibly
removing 1000 Palestinians now living in eight villages in Firing Zone
At the close of the hearing, the
Justices suggested that the parties enter a mediation process to reach a mutually
agreeable settlement. On October 27, the court named a mediator and
allocated a period of 4 months for the mediation process along with the
possibility of an extension. The initial four-month period will expire at
the end of February 2014.
In 1999 the Israeli military told
the residents of Masafer Yatta that they were “dwelling
illegally in a firing zone.” Soldiers arrived and forcibly removed over 700
people, including women, elderly and children. The soldiers destroyed homes,
animal shelters and cisterns, and confiscated property.
During 2000 and 2001 the residents
returned to their lands and began appealing to the court for the right to live
in their villages. Since 2000 the villages have rebuilt homes and
agricultural structures which were demolished by the Israeli military, and have
constructed three schools and a clinic, all of which have received demolition
orders from Israel.
The legal petition seeks a formal
recognition of the right of the villages to remain, and an end to end the
threat of eviction which has hung over the residents since they returned to
their lands in 2000.