Among a huge cluster of luxurious tiled-roofed settler houses, passing from Al-Sahl Street – in the town of Turmus Ayya near the northern West Bank city of Ramallah – sees a Palestinian home and identity belonging to a simple family called Abu Al-Shatriah who loves the land and desperately defends it.
Like Jebel Asham, his ankles were struck on the side of the “Shilo” settlement, which is on the land of Turmus Ayya and surrounding villages. The house appeared with its traditional Palestinian construction, and its owner Umm Muhammad appeared as a thorn in the throat of the biggest settlement project there as it continued to nibble and confiscate land. Read also Because of the benefits and facilities… The increase in settlement activity in the West Bank Expansion of Israeli settlements worsens the suffering of Arab Rashaida, south of Bethlehem He has agreed to build more than 12,000… Israel sets a record for the construction of settlement units Identity of Jerusalem … the struggle for survival
Around the house in the “Shaab al-Gharibah” neighborhood, Umm Muhammad, 57, tightened his veil and searched for every inch of empty land; Plant it with seasonal plants to support her and her family and profit by selling it to the inhabitants of her village.
Thirty-eight years ago, Amal Abu Awwad (Umm Muhammad) was married to a house wife, and after a few years she became the wife of a martyr killed by an Israeli settler who still remembered her name and form, and his brother. was injured, while they were standing for prayer in the summer of Ramadan in 1988, so the bride then becomes a mother of orphans and carries the fourth of them in her womb.
The spark of confrontation
According to Umm Muhammad, this incident was the spark of the confrontation and the battle to impose the presence in the face of the incursions of the settlers who wanted to Judaize the plain estimated at 3000 dunams (a dunam is equivalent to a thousand square meters) after having occupied all the mountain. .
In 1976, the settlers built the settlement “Shilo” on an archaeological religious hill that they assigned to them, and 7 settlements were established that surrounded the entire area south of Nablus and north of Ramallah, and were called “ the Seven Hills Colonies ”, while the Abu Al Shatriya family built their house before 1967; This is the most important factor in their firmness.
From the start, the family paid the price for facing off against the settlers, so 3 of their sons were arrested and served long prison terms, including her martyred husband.
Then settler attacks followed, and they ranged from pursuit, beatings, and demolition. They confiscated 4 vehicles, stole livestock and demolished sheds (enclosures) for livestock, poultry and greenhouses.
They attacked the house on several occasions and threw its food – like oil and flour – on the ground. The last attack a few months ago was the burning of more than 300 olive trees.
And when the bullying found no benefit, the Occupation resorted to seduction, luring the family with huge sums of money out of the house and quickly paying “$ 7 million” or “a. open check ”, which is an imaginary sum, but not at the expense of“ dignity ”, which Umm Muhammad told Al-Jazeera Net that“ she did not and will not give ”. Publicity
Umm Muhammad stepped up her presence, marrying 5 of her sons and lodging them with her in the house, which has been turned into a miniature village of 22 people, along with foiled settlers plans and planted dozens of dunams of plain land for protect and maintain it. contact with his friends.
Recently, he also seized land the settlers had taken over and started cultivating it, to prevent further attacks on his house, which is only 60 meters from the land.
An Israeli report – prepared by two Israeli human rights organizations, “B’Tselem” and “Kerem Nabot” a week ago – indicates that the number of settlers in the West Bank has increased 222% since 2000.
Where more than 440,000 settlers have been spread across more than 280 settlements and outposts that loot more than two million dunams of Palestinian land.
“Shilo” is one such settlement that spans thousands of “fertile” Palestinian dunams, according to the report, while Umm Muhammad is denied safe access to his land and home, and for them. protecting settlers, she moved two of her sons. live outside.
As if she was living a primitive life; The occupation deprives the Abu Al-Shatria family, the most basic of their water and electricity needs, of living in darkness for “52 years”, before recently receiving help to generate solar energy. As for the water, she drinks it from the wells in which the winter water was collected.
The occupation prevents them from expanding the water system, while providing settlers with “hotel services” and incentives amounting to around $ 50,000 each.
It is also forbidden for anyone to approach the area, which has forced the municipality – according to Saeed Taleb, the head of its council – to beat (confirm ownership) over 4,500 dunums of citizens’ land near the settlement. of Shilo by aerial photography.
In addition, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett issued a decision a year ago to prevent construction in Palestinian-controlled “B” areas under the pretext of “damage to settlement security”.
The occupation invokes the danger of the house and the family for the safety of the colony, which Umm Muhammad denounces by questioning him about any danger posed by the owners of the house, the land and the bulldozer and construction shovels who haven’t. stop for a moment? While she cannot look at her head over the house fence or leave it empty for a few hours for fear of being attacked by settlers.
We saw this as a reality when we visited the house, as the settlers surrounded it with buildings, vineyards and olive groves, and set up a cellar, an oil mill and other industrial facilities.
Abd al-Azim Wadi, an anti-settlement activist south of Nablus, in his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, ranks “Shilo” as the third largest settlement in the West Bank, after “Maale Adumim” east of Jerusalem and “Ariel” Near the town of Salfit to the north.
Its danger lies in the geographic separation of villages south of Nablus and north of Ramallah, and it occupies a strategic area connecting the edge of the Jordan Valley in the east to the western regions of the West Bank.
Spontaneously, Muhammad’s mother questions the “deaf scholar” about any sin she and her family have committed so that the occupation deceives her and seeks to forcibly displace her ?! And how did he transmit the terror of the settlers by clearing his house of any documents proving its ownership and keeping it away so that it does not fall into their hands ?! And she said, “I’m here before Israel, and this is our land, and this is also our land.”