Naama Abiyat’s children are all she has left. I meet the 29-year-old mother of five inside a thinly-walled tent where she is living in the southern occupied West Bank; the tent is nearly empty, save for a blanket she received from passers-by and a few wooden logs. Her children interrupt our conversation from time to time, demanding her attention and letting her know that they are cold.
Until two months ago, Abiyat had her own room, a house, a garden, and an olive grove in Al-Qanoub — a small, family-oriented village with 40 residents, located north of Hebron. Between Oct. 11 and Nov. 1, however, the entire community fled after a series of pogroms by Israeli settlers who descended from the nearby settlement of Asfar and the adjacent outpost of Pnei Kedem. The settlers burned houses, set their dogs on the farm animals, and, at gunpoint, ordered the residents to leave or else they would be killed.
Since then, Abiyat and her children have been wandering, without land and without a home. Along with four other families who were displaced from Al-Qanoub, they set up temporary tents on the outskirts of the town of Shuyukh, closer to Hebron.
On the day of the expulsion, the settlers refused to allow them to take anything from the burning village: her husband’s ID card, vehicles, mattresses, cell phones, bags of olives, keys — “and my clothes,” one of her sons adds. Everything was left behind, and much of it stolen. [Continue reading…]