On Saturday I was given a sort of tour around the South Hebron Hills. I saw some new areas and learned more about the history there. It was a tough day mentally – hearing upsetting stories, and seeing the difficulty of Palestinian life in this area first-hand.
I will break up the day into a few posts. First, the road to Avigail.
One of the most affecting parts of the day involved driving on the paved road leading to the illegal outpost Avigail. When I say ‘illegal outpost’, this means it is illegal under Israeli law, not just International law.
The terrain around the outpost is rocky and hilly.
The road at the bottom leads all the way around to Avigail, which is a fair distance. Here is what is amazing about this road. It was originally built by local Palestinians to lead to their villages. There are a few small villages in the area, I have been to one of them, Jinba.
Anyway, the Palestinians built this road with their own money. According to haaretz the outpost was built in 2001, and The Washington Post reported in 2002 that Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the settlers there to be evacuated. I guess the IDF is still waiting for the right moment to make the settlers leave.
In the meantime, the road was paved with money from the Israeli government, and the Palestinians who had originally built the road are no longer allowed to drive on it. You can see on the picture above that the terrain is rough. There are now no roads leading to the Palestinian villages near Avigail. As I mentioned before, I have been to Jinba, one of the small villages nearby. The drive to get there – over rocks and hills – was like being on a roller-coaster. For all practical purposes, these villages are inaccesible by car.
More to follow soon…