International literary stars have signed an Israeli-led campaign to condemn the destruction of Palestinian villages in the southern Hebron hills.
The campaign was initiated by Israeli author David Grossman last June and has been backed by Nobel laureates, poets and playwrights around the world.
Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who died last week, signed the petition alongside Nobel literature laureates J M Coetzee, Mario Vargas Llosa, Herta Mueller and Orhan Pamuk. Established writers Julian Barnes, Michael Chabon, Ian McEwan Nathan Englander, Aleksandar Hemon, Yann Martel, Colum McCann and Philip Roth are also signatories.
The petition said villagers “have suffered from constant abuse by the army and by settlers.
“One thousand people, adults and children alike, who live in eight villages in the area designated in 1980 as Firing Zone 918, are now threatened with immediate eviction from their villages.
“They live in constant fear, helplessly facing a ruthless power that does everything to displace them from the home they have inhabited for centuries.”
However, the Israeli government has said people living in the area known as Firing Zone 918 are not permanent residents.