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In Photos:
In photos: Growing up in Firing Zone 918

Feb. 17, 2013 5:22 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 10:27 A.M.)
Click to enlarge or see more

(MaanImages/Eva Pilipp)

In Khirbet al-Tabban, a village in the south Hebron hills, four-year-old Rimas Obeid is growing up under the shadow of expulsion.

Last year, the Israeli government said it intends to move the Palestinian residents of Tabban and seven other villages to make way for an army training ground it calls Firing Zone 918. The case is pending in the High Court.

Rimas, her three sisters, two brothers, and the two older generations of her family know no other life than farming and herding.

Available records date the Palestinian communities of the south Hebron hills to the early 19th century. Once semi-nomadic, moving between seasonal homes during the agricultural cycle, many families then settled in the caves that dot the landscape.

Rimas' father Nasser, who was born in the family's cave in Tabban, vows: "We are not going anywhere."

Doted on by her father, Rimas bounces around the village helping her brothers with the sheep, playing with the family dogs, and getting in her mother's way.

Not long ago, she slipped out from under her mother's gaze and walked through the desert to find her father, who was drinking tea in a village on a neighboring hill.

She startled the gathering of men, Nasser chuckles. But Rimas already knows these hills far too well.
Ma'an News Agency
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