"I am afraid that by the time I get back to Palestine many of the villages I long to visit will be reduced to rubble. "
Cassandra Dixon, contact for the WNPJ member group Mary House, has returned to Palestine this month to volunteer with Operation Dove in the South Hebron Hills/Masafer Yatta area.
ACTION ALERT: Please consider writing to your congressperson asking that the US State Department stand with the civilian population of Masafer Yatta and oppose the demolition of their homes, villages and livelihoods. Please visit
for more information, and an easy link to contact your senators and representatives.
Congress and the Biden administration have approved $3.3 billion in US tax dollars for Israel in 2023, leaving all of us, as US taxpayers, with a share of responsibility for Israel’s actions.
Cassandra writes: The people that are so dear to me there are facing imminent forced eviction from their lands and demolition of their homes and schools to make way for Israeli military training in an area claimed by Israel as Firing Zone 918.
On January 2 the Israeli army told Palestinian officials of their imminent plans to forcibly displace more than 1,000 Palestinian residents, including more than 500 children. Demolitions of homes, schools, water wells and animal barns have already begun, and residents go to sleep each night wondering if they will wake to the arrival of bulldozers. The evictions would constitute the largest forced removal of Palestinians from their lands since 1967.
The people of Masafer Yatta have been struggling to remain on their lands for many years. In 1999 Israeli authorities forcibly removed about 700 people, demolishing their homes and stealing their property. Two villages were completely destroyed. Following this wave of demolitions residents won a temporary court order allowing them to return to their demolished homes pending a final decision. For more than two decades children living in Masafer Yatta have witnessed soldiers training for war amongst their homes, fields and schools. Israeli forces have repeatedly destroyed the few roads connecting the villages to education, medical facilities, and commerce and confiscated the water mains which were the only source of water for the villages.
Last May, after many years of legal challenges, the Israeli High Court ruled against the villages and paved the way for the eviction of everyone living in Firing Zone 918.
Operation Dove’s work in the South Hebron Hills is to stand with these families in their non-violent commitment to remain in their villages. This includes accompanying schoolchildren and families as they walk to school, graze their animals and tend their crops, and documenting the demolitions, arrests, detentions, checkpoints, road closures, settler attacks, and destruction of olive trees, crops and property that they endure.
Protective presence provided by activists is not a large-scale solution to the violence that encroaches on children and families in Palestine. But over the years that I have visited these villages I have learned that supporting and participating in nonviolent efforts to confront militarism and occupation are necessary if we are ever to move beyond our addiction to militarism and violence. In these villages, children who were themselves exposed to threats and intimidation as they struggled to get to school have grown into young adults dedicated to a nonviolent response to the violence around them, and their steadfast commitment to living peacefully in their villages is an inspiration to us all.
If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the Palestinian, Israeli and International peace activists working to support the families of Masafer Yatta, I would be immeasurably grateful.
You can use PayPal at https://www.paypal.me/CassandraDixon or donate to Mary House online at https://tinyurl.com/donateToMaryhouse. Or you can mail a check to Mary House at 3579 County Road G, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965. Donations to Mary House are tax deductible, and will be used to help the house serve prison visitors while I am away.
(And to all of my Madison friends who have so kindly hired me to work on their houses and passed on my name to friends, thank you so much! Please remember me – I’ll be looking for carpentry and painting work when I get back at the end of March.)
Mary House of Hospitality
3579 County Road G, Wisconsin Dells, WI 53965
And on February 14th, Cassandra sent this update:
Haroun abu aram died from gunshot wounds from 2 years ago when he was shot in the neck by soldiers while trying to prevent them from stealing his neighbors generator. He has been paralyzed all this time. It is so sad here.