West Bank: Families face forced eviction in “Fire Zone 918”

For Yasser, who lives in Al Fakheet with his mother, Fatmeh, his wife, Hajah, and their 7 children, life has become more difficult as he worries constantly that his family will soon have nowhere to go.

Deep in the Hebron Hills, the village of Al Fakheet is one of eight Palestinian villages where families are facing forced eviction because the government of Israel has declared the area a military zone, referred to as “Fire Zone 918.”

Hajah washes kitchen utensils with her children Yasmeen, 2 and Ba’araa, 9. Photo: David Levene

Located in Area C of the West Bank, where the government of Israel maintains full military and civil control, people in Al Fakheet and other villages within “Fire Zone 918” are already living in substandard conditions – they are not allowed to build permanent structures, including homes, schools, health clinics, or roads without Israeli issued permits, which are hard to obtain.

The forced eviction from “Fire Zone 918” would leave 1,000 people homeless.

Hajah herds her sheep. Photo: David Levene

Oxfam is working to help families in Al Fakheet make a decent living raising sheep and goats, but the eviction orders mean it will be difficult for people to move beyond poverty as they lose access to the land, which they need to earn income from raising livestock. In recent months, aid agencies like Oxfam have been denied vehicular access to “Fire Zone 918,” making it more difficult to support the people living there.

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