The story of the Shineran Family from Susya

The Shineran family used to live in a cave-dwelling village near the site of ancient Susya. In the mid-1980’s, when Israel declared the site a National Park (though it lies outside Israel’s legal borders), the entire village including the Shinerans was expelled by the military. Part of the family had relocated to a hill situated 1-2 km to the south, and 2-3 km west of the new Israeli settlement of Susya. The Shinerans constructed terraces on the hillside, and planted olives and grapevines in them.

From the year 2000 on, this part of the family began to suffer frequent harassment from Susya settlers. In 2000, settlers destroyed Abed Shineran’s hilltop hut. In summer 2001, the Shinerans were expelled again by the military, together with all the hill’s residents, following settler demands for their expulsions because of a murder of a settler that took place in the area. A High Court verdict ordered their return within a few weeks. However, the settlers didn’t give up and the harassments continued.

Most incidents were caused by Israeli settler-shepherds (especially an individual named Itamar). These settlers took their herds to graze on the Shineran fields, and took precious water out of their wells (even though there is no dearth of water in the Israeli settlement, which – unlike the cave-dwellers – is connected to the Israeli water supply system).

Finally, late one night in 2006, about 15 masked settlers raided the family homes, beat the Shinerans up (the worst injured – Abed El-Rahman son of Haj Musa – was beaten with rods and needed 25 stitches in his head). The Shinerans were expelled again. During the following months, settlers visited the deserted homestead from time to time, burning down homes, tearing out and breaking doors and furniture, and uprooting most olive trees and grape vines.

The Shinerans now live in tents across the valley, in a location with no direct eye contact to the settlement. They have filed a complaint with the Israeli police; the case was closed. They still work their fields and use the water wells.

Ehud Krinis

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