Extreme religious settlers from Kiryat Arba in Hebron have again been targeting the Atta Jaber family as they intend to make life so difficult for them that they leave their beloved home. On the evening of 13th December settlers arrived outside the front door and called for the family to leave because their home is going to be demolished to make way for a new Israeli settlement. Atta feared that this time the settlers would throw explosives because they have been used against other Palestinians that settlers seek to displace. Atta phoned the Israeli army begging it come to protect his family and this time the army arrived and escorted the settlers away.
The same day, settlers put up a one-room structure near to Atta’s home where it is intended that the new settlement of Nofei Hevron – View of Hebron – is established. As soon as they left, it was pushed over by the Jabers in an act of defiance. In a previous attempt a few years ago, settlers arrived and laid the foundation for the first home of this settlement. Both ICAHD’s Jeff Halper and Rabbi Arik Ascherman rushed to the site and pushed down the stones that had been laid and then they trampled through the wet concrete.
For thirty years, farmer Atta and his wife Rudina, have lived under Israel’s oppressive military occupation which has targeted this family in myriad ways. Settler harassment has been extreme with physical attacks and verbal abuse. The family was thrown out of their home, settlers lived in it for a few days, and it has been set on fire. Numerous times their crops have been poisoned and their water irrigation pipes cut. Israel designated Atta’s land as state land despite his ancestors registering the land during the Ottoman period and to this day Atta holds the official documents to prove Jaber family ownership. However, year by year, more sections of the Jaber family land have been confiscated. In February 2018, Israeli authorities sent in bulldozers to destroy his crops and uproot his fruit and olive trees. Now less than 1% of the original farmland remains.
ICAHD became involved with Atta Jaber in 1998 following the demolition of Atta’s home on grounds that it had not been constructed with Israeli authorisation which for most Palestinians is impossible to obtain due to Israel’s purposeful denial of a right to housing for the indigenous population that Israel occupies. The first home that ICAHD rebuilt was for Atta Jaber but a month after moving in, it too was demolished so ICAHD with others rebuilt it for a second time. Atta and his wife Rudina brought up their four children in this home. Now two of the daughters are married and live in Hebron’s Old City with their young families. The other daughter and son (with his wife and their baby son Atta Junior, born in September) reside with Atta and Rudina.
A recent development which deepens concern is that this autumn Israel constructed a roundabout at the bottom of Atta’s home along Highway 60. The purpose is to make entry into the Kiryat Arba settlement easier along the busy highway. The construction resulted in more of the Jaber land being confiscated, especially that of his mother and brothers who live directly across the road from Atta. Although it is the settlers who have attempted to start building the new settlement, ICAHD reckons that the Israeli government is turning a blind eye to this settler activity. The government has approved the expansion of Kiryat Arab on both sides of highway 60 thus it has every intention of proceeding with the construction of Nofei Hevron. This poses a tremendous threat to Atta, Rudina, all their children and grandchildren who spend much time together. How safe will they be in their dwelling surrounded by extreme religious Jewish settlers?
The international community must mobilize to support the Jaber family which has been a model of non-violent resistance to Israel’s gross violations of international law and which is one of the few remaining families in this locality.
- Read Atta’s story, see the timeline of events and view film footage found here. Hard copies of the timeline are available to help you tell Atta’s story – order them here
- Write to your MP (or political representative) asking that the FCO makes representation to the Israeli government about this violation of international law and mention Atta Jaber’s name. Settlements are illegal and it’s time for governments to sanction Israel because there must be consequences for these violations. See guidelines for writing to your MP found here.
- Follow Atta Jaber on Facebook and let him know that you stand in solidarity with him - https://www.facebook.com/atta.jaber.16
- Attend the ICAHD UK webinar with Atta Jaber and Hisham Sharabati on 6th January at 5pm UK. Register here