Subhi Shaledeh and his extended family had around 500 acres of prime grazing land in the Occupied West Bank, in the village of Janoub.
They owned olive trees and hundreds of sheep. The land had been in the family for decades.
But overnight they lost their livelihood and their and land.
Subhi says on 9 October, two days after the 7 October attack by Hamas, settlers from an Israeli outpost, which is classed as illegal under both Israeli and international law, stormed their land and destroyed their homes.
“Over 50 settlers armed with long rifles, guns, knives and machetes came,” he says. “They entered out homes, set our houses ablaze and took away our livestock.”
The family of nine, including seven children, along with around 70 members of the extended Shaledeh clan, were suddenly homeless.
“The settlers took advantage of the war in Gaza. They expelled us from our land and told us to leave, ‘this is an open war’, they said.”
With nothing to defend themselves with and no one to call on, the family was forced to immediately flee.
They haven’t been able to return, the military has closed the roads, an Israeli checkpoint blocks the way, and the Shaledeh family say outpost settlers have taken over their land.
The Palestinian family is now renting one room for their large family, in a nearby village. They can’t harvest their olives or sell their sheep. Everything is gone.
“We informed the Red Cross, Palestinian and Israeli authorities and we filed complaints,” Subhi says. “We don’t know what will happen.”
It’s been the deadliest year on record for Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank. Around 500 have been killed in settler violence and raids by the Israeli military. Around 30 Israelis have also been killed in Israeli-Palestinian violence.
Israel argues that extreme settler violence is carried out by a small minority and the Israeli military raids target Palestinian militant groups.
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Subhi Shaledeh is a broken man. With a large family to support this proud Palestinian landowner has been forced into poverty, his land and his freedom all taken away.
He hopes and prays to get his land back one day, but with international human rights organisations like the UN saying settlers act with growing impunity in the occupied West Bank, Subhi’s hopes are fading fast.
Written by: Newsroom