This was the view this morning from the schoolyard of the Al Fakheit school in Masafer Yatta, south of Hebron.
Al Fakheit is a Palestinian village which lies inside an area claimed by Israel as Firing Zone 918. Military training exercises frequently disrupt life for villagers in Masafer Yatta, and the morning of February 20 was no exception. An Israeli civil administration repeatedly hovered over the school and surrounding agricultural land, mortars could be heard from the school yard throughout the day, and military jets buzzed the area as children waited for transportation home.
Villagers from Masafer Yatta recently won the right to make critical repairs to the road which serves the villages after damage by the winter storm rendered it completely impassable in many places. The court also has extended a mediation period between the villagers and the Israeli military until May 15.
Israeli has issued demolition orders for this school and two others, as well as agricultural buildings, homes and a clinic in the 8 villages that lie within Firing Zone 918. The orders have been stayed by the court during mediation. Villagers have been petitioning the court for the right to remain in Masafer Yatta since their return to the land after forced removal by the military during establishment of firing zone 918 in 1999.