Masafer Yatta activist Sami Huraini 'refuses to give up' following Israel arrest

Masafer Yatta activist Sami Huraini 'refuses to give up' following Israel arrest
Israeli forces arrested Sami Huraini, a prominent activist from Masafer Yatta who records Israeli crimes in the occupied region of Hebron, following raids
2 min read
29 June, 2022
Palestinians in Masafer Yatta face expulsion [Getty]

Sami Huraini, a prominent Palestinian activist in the occupied West Bank region of Masafer Yatta, said he won't be intimidated despite his detention by occupying Israeli forces.

Huraini was arrested on Tuesday during raids on the area by Israel in the village of Jemba, south of the Hebron Hills. Israeli soldiers also confiscated his car.

Following his release, he said he was held in the heat for eight hours by the Israeli soldiers whilst being questioned and harassed.

"I wanted to go and stand in front of Israeli military jeeps and tanks to stop the military exercise on my people's land there as I and others always do," Huraini said in a statement carried by anti-apartheid organisation Stop the Wall.

Despite the intimidation, he said he will not stop him from continuing his activism.

Huraini is part of a group called Youth Of Sumud which records Israeli crimes in Masafer Yatta and advocates halting illegal settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian region.

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On Wednesday, Israeli forces and settlers attacked activists planting olive trees on the land that is being threatened with confiscation.

In May, the Israeli High Court approved the transfer of more than 1,000 Palestinians from several villages in Masafer Yatta. Palestinians have lived in the villages for generations, but the Israeli army has repurposed the area as a firing zone. 

Masafer Yatta is an area near the city of Hebron comprised of 12 Palestinian villages.

The Israeli Supreme Court deems that Palestinians were not permanent residents of the area in the 1980s, the time when the army claimed the area as a firing zone. Locals and Israeli human rights organisations dispute this.

They maintain that there were Palestinians permanently living in Masafer Yatta prior even to 1967, when Israel began its illegal occupation of the West Bank, and view any expulsions as violating international law.

The unique situation in Hebron means that Palestinians suffer frequent attacks due to the large number of Israeli settlers inside the city.

Around 800 ultra-nationalist Israeli settlers live in the heart of Hebron, the largest Palestinian city in the West Bank. The settler enclave is protected by twice as many Israeli soldiers.