Israeli soldiers and police officers showed up at the Sumud Freedom Camp in the south Hebron hills on Monday morning, confiscating and destroying property and detaining three Palestinian activists.
Israeli soldiers and Border Police raided the Sumud Freedom Camp in the south Hebron hills for the third time on Monday morning, destroying and confiscating property and detaining three Palestinian activists. The anti-occupation encampment, built and inhabited by Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews, had already been torn down twice in the past 10 days.
Israeli forces damaged and confiscated two tents, along with items such as mattresses, water and generator cables that were inside a cave at the encampment, according to a press release sent out by the organizers. They also destroyed banners that had been displayed at the camp, and confiscated a car. The three Palestinians who had been detained were released after the raid had finished.
Settlers descended from the nearby radical Havat Ma’on outpost to observe the proceedings, and representatives from Regavim — a pro-settler organization that seeks to obstruct Palestinian building in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank — were also at the scene.
The raid coincided with the third day of Ramadan. Sami Hureini, a local activist from a-Tuwaneh, told +972 Magazine that activists have been marking the holiday by sitting down together for an iftar each evening, and that Palestinian members of the camp who are fasting have been staying up for the night shift to keep watch, going to sleep at 4 a.m. Monday’s raid occurred shortly after they had gone to bed.
Sumud Freedom Camp, inspired by Standing Rock, is located on the grounds of Sarura, a Palestinian village that was gradually depopulated between 1980 and 1998 due to ongoing army and settler violence. The establishment of the camp on May 19 marked the return of Sarura’s residents to their homes for the first time in nearly 20 years. Mohammad Aamar, the son of one of the residents who had returned to the village, was among those detained on Monday.
The camp is now in its 13th day. Activists have rebuilt after each raid, raising funds to replace and repair damaged and confiscated goods. The coalition of Palestinian and Jewish groups that organized the encampment — local Palestinian committees, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, the Holy Land Trust, All That’s Left and Combatants for Peace — have continued to call for activists around the world to join them in their nonviolent protest, and stress that the camp will stay in place for as long as possible.
“It is clear that the Israeli military is actively working to prevent Palestinians from returning to their lands,” said Antwan Saca, assistant director of the Holy Land Trust. “As a member of a coalition of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists, we will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Sarura and to nonviolently resist this strategy.”