No shelter for the 25 residents, including 15 children, of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah

29 Jan 2014
12 Feb 2014

Update 12 Feb. 2014: A Civil Administration bulldozer arrived once more at Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah in the central Jordan Valley this morning. It began demolishing the tents put up by the residents since the latest demolition of 13 January 2014. A soldier escort to the bulldozer slashed the tent fabric so that the tents could not be re-erected. The bulldozer did not manage to demolish all the tents as some of them were placed on a hillside. The residents were informed by Civil Administration officials that they would soon return with a larger bulldozer to complete demolitions. Later, the military detained a vehicle belonging to one of the residents, near the Masua junction.

Update, 28 Jan. 2014: The ICRC has supplied new tents, but residents fear another confiscation. Each family huddles in a single tent and most of the livestock has no shelter.

Living in ruins: A resident of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah  bakes bread. Photo: ‘Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem, 13 January 2014

Living in ruins: A resident of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah  bakes bread. Photo: ‘Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem, 13 January 2014

The 25 residents of the small community of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah  in the northern Jordan Valley have been forced to spend the last few nights sleeping in the open, after their homes and sheep-pens were demolished twice by the Civil Administration this month.

On 8 January 2014, the Civil Administration demolished all of the structures in the small community of 25 residents, including 15 minors. After the demolition, the families were given temporary replacement tents by the ICRC. On 13 January, 2014, however, Israeli authorities returned to Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliaya to dismantle and confiscate the tents. The families have received no assistance since, and for the past few nights they have spread cloths on the ground and slept out in the open. They constructed simple pens to shelter their livestock, particularly the newborn lambs. The residents are concerned about future rain, which will jeopardize their young children’s health and endanger the lives of their sheep.

At the time of the first demolition on 8 January 2014, Israeli authorities also demolished the only water pipe serving the community. A manual pump was used to transport water from a nearby spring through the pipe into a special tank located near the tents. The families are now forced to fill pails at the spring, using the broken end of the pipe which has been reconnected to the spring and then carry the heavy pails back to their encampment. 

Mushakhis Bani Maniya of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah , making cheese, Photo: ‘Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem, 13 January  2014
Mushakhis Bani Maniya of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah , making cheese, Photo: ‘Atef Abu a-Rub, B'Tselem, 13 January  2014

Mushakhis Ahmad Yusef Bani Maniya, of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah, 40-year-old mother of seven, recounted the following testimony to a B'Tselem field researcher after the 13 January 2014 demolition:

We have been living in Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah  for 25 years. During this time, the military has come and demolished our tents and sheep-pens a few times. I remember that the first time was in 1988 or 1989. My children were small then. The most massive demolition, up to this year, was in 2008 and we applied to the Israeli courts about it. Although life here is very hard because there are no paved roads, electricity and other services, we keep on living here because we have flocks of sheep that need to graze.

About two or three weeks ago, my husband told me that the Israeli authorities had decided to demolish our homes. I got very upset and worried. We have nowhere else to live. We have nowhere to go.

On 8 January 2014, a large force of the Israeli military came with bulldozers and demolished all of our structures. We were left without any shelter. The children were exposed to the elements. The lambs got mixed in with the adult sheep and their hay got covered with dirt. Everything was ruined. It was an awful sight. We decided to stay put. We rebuilt the pens, mostly to protect the young sheep from the elements and predators. The Red Cross gave us small tents and we put them up.

At around 6:00 o’clock this morning, soldiers came and dismantled even the six tents we got from the Red Cross. Again, we set up the sheep-pens and took the animals out to graze. Again we have no shelter. It’s winter and we’re out in the open, exposed to the elements. So is our property. We don't know what to do.

But despite it all, this morning I lit the fire, kneaded dough and baked bread and cooked for my children. See, now I'm making cheese, with the wind and the dust. It's not easy.

Video of the first demolition, filmed by a Sujud 'Atiyyah Fathi Bani Maniyah, 15, from the community.