Jewish homes in southern Hevron Hills
Jewish homes in southern Hevron HillsIsrael news photo: Hana Levi Julian

The southern Hevron Hills community of Susiya’s co-existence and dialogue with its Arab neighbors is being disrupted by leftist organizations that incite and fight against the community’s presence, residents reported.

While Susiya's families are sitting around the Sabbath dinner table each week, groups of leftist activists infiltrate the area around the community and create provocations to stir up the local Arab population.

Arutz Sheva interviewed Ofir Avidan, a manager of the agricultural services in Susiya and who is involved in dealing with the legal battles over the community’s lands. Avidan explained that generally, during the morning hours, often on Fridays, at least 15 to 20 members of various leftist organizations arrive. "Sometimes it’s an entire busload that comes to work together with the Palestinians against us,” he said.

Among the activities the activists carry out, said Avidan, they make sure to empty the ancient water cisterns in the surrounding fields from which the shepherds of Susiya water their flocks of sheep.

“We have a pasture of 8,000 acres, where we take our livestock to graze,” said Avidan. “You cannot bring hoses up there, so the animals drink from the water pits that were dug by our ancestors, which we have restored. The leftists and anarchists destroy the pits. We are not talking about watering the livestock, but rather the deliberate, planned emptying of the water cisterns in order to hurt us. They come with tanks, and pump out the water to the last drop." 

Government forces came, he added, and said there was nothing they could do about it -- “that was the law,” he was told. "They can pump out as much as they want. We said we were willing to compromise, and split it half and half, that they can drink but they should also leave water for us, but they are not willing to do so.”

It turns out that the people of Susiya have a long history of trouble with the leftist anarchists.

“We had discussions and agreements with the Arabs. There was co-existence and dialogue, but since the leftist activists entered the picture, everything has changed,” said Avidan. “About two weeks ago, I asked one Arab where they were all those years if they claim that this is their land. I also reminded him that he knew [local farmer] Yair Har Sinai, whose farm I now take care of. He told me that an attorney came, and “told us to come, so we came.”

Leftists are encouraging Arab villagers to empty the water cisterns and to file lawsuits against the residents of Susiya claiming land grabs of the surrounding fields.

“They argue that in the past they worked the land – but aerial photographs from 30 and 40 years ago show that this was arid desert,” Avidan noted, as he confronts the villagers and leftist organizations. “We are under a complex legal attack. The Supreme Court favors them, and when the Arabs here see that they have the upper hand, there is no reason for them to give up. Today they no longer want to sit and meet with us.”