Erella, on behalf of The Villages Group writes:
Greetings to our friends all,
Yesterday (Monday, 30.10.23) afternoon, coming back home from another day in the South Hebron Hills, I could not find the strength to write. Now, morning, so much has happened since yesterday, so many things in the same places I had visited yesterday afternoon, that writing seems pale in comparison and cannot keep up. We need a kind of present continuous in Hebrew to express... present continuous. An action that began sometime in the past and is ongoing, and that will perhaps be ongoing tomorrow. Past continuous and present continuous, as in English. So that's how you are invited to imagine it.
We came to D.'s home in Tuba at 2:30 p.m. D., her elderly widowed mother and her 16-year-old son were waiting for us impatiently. The day before, settlers destroyed yet again whatever was left to destroy. D., her son and mother put things back in their place after the vandals left. But they could not replace the 4 sheep the settlers had stolen. The family witnesses the thefts and is prevented from moving - a loaded rifle is pointed at their heads. The settlers also took the son's schoolbag with all his books and notebooks. They "treated" his cell phone with acid, destroyed any remainder of food (some of it, food we had brought them on our previous visits), broke kitchen utensils, the gas stove, cupboards, anything that could be broken. That happened on Saturday. On Sunday Eyal brought them several things they had asked for. On Monday, Yair, Noga, and I brought them some of the rest.
Suddenly D. said: "I'd like your advice – should we pack up and leave?" Those were the most numerous words I have heard her utter in the decade of our acquaintance.
D. is the bravest and strongest woman I have ever met. The settlers whip, burn, steal, break, destroy, vandalize, and every time she puts things back in order, puts on her embarrassed smile, serves us tea and says very little. So little that one must guess what she is really feeling. Yesterday I sat next to her in the exposed cave. Through the broken door of the cave we saw the virginal curves of this amazing desert in the gradually lowering sun. For long minutes we watched them silently. Suddenly D. said: "I'd like your advice – should we pack up and leave?" Those were the most numerous words I have heard her utter in the decade of our acquaintance. I fell silent for a moment, shocked, and she continued: "When they steal the rest of our flock, we shall have neither livelihood nor reason to stay here." I made an effort to hold in my tears. I was silent.
We drove home. It was 4 p.m.
Just then, the Israeli army conducted a search in the home of other friends of ours in Tuba, and at 11 p.m. the settlers came back and vandalized all of the families in that village. D.'s cave is somewhat distanced. They reached her as well, cut off the electricity and in the dark, vandalized the place again.
We shall go there today. Again.