Updates

Area C

Israeli forces raid two Palestinian Jordan Valley communities in past two months, uprooting and confiscating trees and ruining fields on Palestinian-owned land. Over 75% of Jordan Valley lands have been taken over by Israel, with 150,000 hectares transferred to settlement regional councils. In recent years, Israel has increased efforts to expel local Palestinian communities. Palestinians now own a minute portion of Jordan Valley lands, yet Israel harasses them even there.

A bulldozer hauling date palms uprooted by the Civil Administration. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem, 5 April 2017
June 20

Yesterday, 27 May 2017, “The Invisible Walls of Occupation” was announced as winner of the Best Interactive Experience Award at the T.O. WebFest 2017, a Toronto festival dedicated to web-based content. Viewers of the interactive documentary, which illustrates various aspects of Palestinians’ daily life under occupation, are invited on a virtual tour of the Palestinian village of Burqah. The project was co-produced by B’Tselem and Canadian digital studio Folklore, and is based on a B’Tselem report by the same name.

May 28

On 3 Apr. 2017, the Civil Administration used bulldozers to uproot 135 olive saplings in Wadi Qana, near Qaliqiliyah, on land owned by Palestinians from Deir Istiya. In 1983, the CA declared the valley the Nahal Qana Reserve, and in recent years, Israeli authorities have been pushing to exclude Palestinian farmers from the wadi, and displace them using different practices, while giving settlers free reign. Like elsewhere in the West Bank, declaring land a nature reserve does not serve to protect nature, but to displace Palestinians in favor of Israeli interests.

‘Abd al-‘Aziz ‘Aqel, one of the landowners, holding an uprooted seedling. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 3 April 2017
May 21

On 19 April 2017, in the Badu al-Baba community, northeast of Jerusalem, the CA demolished a 45-sqm pre-fab donated by an aid agency that served as home to a family of seven, including two minors. Their previous home had been demolished on 26 Jan. 2017. Badu al-Baba numbers some 350, about half of them minors and is in an area Israeli authorities designated for an expansion of the settlement of Maale Adumim so as to achieve a contiguous urban bloc from there to Jerusalem. The previous demolition there was on 26 Jan. 2017, when authorities demolished three families’ residential tents and two livestock pens.

Pre-fab homes at Badu al-Baba. Background: town of al-‘Eizariyah. Photo by ‘Amer ‘Aruri, B’Tselem, 9 August 2015
April 25

On 5 April 2017 the CA evacuated nine families from Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, the northern Jordan Valley, from 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. Forty people, incl. about 15 minors, were forced to leave behind their sheep and property, to vacate their homes and spend the night out in the open. In 2016, families from the community were evacuated ten times on the same pretext. The repeated evacuations cause an intolerable disruption to daily life, are unjustified and unlawful. Israel must immediately stop the evacuations and all other measures it is taking to drive out residents of the Jordan Valley.

Security forces accompany a Kh. Ras al-Ahmar family being evacuated. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 5 April 2017
April 23

On the morning of Mon. 3 April 2017, the Civil Administration (CA) arrived at Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley and served nine families with evacuation orders from Wed. 5 April 2017 at 5:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M. next morning. As a result, 40 people, incl. some 15 minors, will have to spend an entire night away from home. Last week, the CA served ten families with evacuation orders for Wed. afternoon to Thurs. morning. Yet no military training was then carried out on land near their homes and, contrary to past practice, the CA did not arrive to evacuate them. Residents remained in a state of uncertainty all night long, concerned they might be evacuated.

Military training in Khirbat Ras al-Ahmar, December 2016. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem
April 4

The new “construction policy” the PM presented to the security cabinet yesterday spells out continued harm to Palestinians, settlement expansion, and breach of international law. Israel granted itself permission itself to go on stealing Palestinian land in the West Bank while barring and demolishing construction by Palestinians. This policy means that Israel will go on building as it pleases, both in and outside settlements, in complete disregard of UNSCR 2334 on the illegality of the settlement enterprise. This policy is no show of good faith; it is unbridled theft masquerading as “restrained construction.”

March 31

This morning, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley and handed evacuation orders to ten families, starting Wednesday 29 March 2017 at 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. The orders mean 50 people, including 20 minors would have to spend the night away from their homes. Israel must immediately cease the temporary displacement of communities as well as all other measures it takes in a bid to force Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley out of the area.

Military jeep escorting Palestinian family during the temporary displacement in Ibziq, Jordan Valley, 21 December 2016. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem.
March 27

Yesterday, Tuesday 14 March 2017, Civil Administration personnel came to the region of the Furush Beit Dajan community. The settlement of Hamra had been established near the community in the 1970s. The Civil Administration confiscated a trailer which served as home to a nine-person family, including two minors. In addition, they demolished a covered shelter owned by two of the community’s families which was being used as a fresh produce market stall, and also ruined the fruits and vegetables on sale there.

Still from video
March 15

In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.

A Civil Administration bulldozer demolishing a water cistern in the community of Khashm a-Daraj-Khashm al-Karem in the South Hebron Hills on 27 Feb. 2017. Still from video.
February 28

In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years ago, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.

A Civil Administration bulldozer demolishing a water cistern in the community of Khashm a-Daraj-Khashm al-Karem in the South Hebron Hills on 27 Feb. 2017. Still from video.
February 28

This morning, 20 Feb. 2017, the Civil Administration demolished the home of an elderly woman – a trailer donated by a humanitarian aid organization – in the Palestinian community of al-Mehtiwish, which lies near Khan al-Ahmar on land Israel earmarked for expanding the Maale Adumim settlement. The CA also demolished a water pipe in the Jordan Valley which residents of Khirbet al-Hadidiyah and Khirbet Humsah had laid with the help of humanitarian organization, as Israel refuses to hook up these communities to the water grid. The pipe had been restored by residents after being demolished by the CA on 10 Jan. 2017.

Local resident near the ruins of the trailer home the Civil Administration demolished. Photo by Hussam ‘Abed, B’Tselem, 20 Feb. 2017
February 20

Yesterday, 19 February 2017, large numbers of Civil Administration personnel and police arrived at the Khan al-Ahmar community, which is located near the settlement of Maale Adumim. They served 39 stop-work orders (a preamble step preceding demolition orders) , which apply to all of the community’s buildings, including its school. The school was built in 2009 and also serves children from other nearby communities. Khan al-Ahmar is situated in an area Israel earmarked for the future expansion of Maale Adumim. In 2016, Israeli authorities demolished 12 dwellings in the community, rendering 60 people homeless, including 35 minors.

Civil Administration worker posting a stop-work order on a Khan al-Ahmar structure. Still from footage by B’Tselem field researcher Hussam ‘Abed, 19 Feb. 2017
February 20

In 2016 B’Tselem documented a record number of home demolitions by Israeli authorities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, citing illegal construction as a pretext. Israel demolished 88 homes in East Jerusalem and 274 in the rest of the West Bank, while denying Palestinians any possibility of building legally in these areas. This policy, upheld by all state authorities, severely violates the most fundamental human rights of Palestinians and offers decisive evidence as to Israel’s long-term plans: continued control of the area, while oppressing and dispossessing its residents.

February 14

This morning, Civil Administration (CA) personnel arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the Jordan Valley. They demolished eight structures - including two residential tents - belonging to one of the families in the community. The family of seven, including five minors, was left without a roof over their heads. The CA also demolished six livestock pens that belonged to the family. The community of a-Ras al-Ahmar suffers constant harassment at the hands of the Israeli authorities. Israeli authorities also demolished a livestock pen and two agricultural storehouse in the village of Kardalah.

A child near the ruins of his home in Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar. Photo by 'Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 7 February 2017.
February 7

On 15 Jan. 2017, the Civil Administration began uprooting olive trees and levelling land near the Palestinian villages of ‘Azzun and a-Nabi Elyas in Qalqilya District, as part of a plan to build a bypass road to replace a section of Route 55 that runs through the villages. To that end, the authorities have expropriated 10.4 hectares of land from ‘Azzun and uprooted some 1,000 olive trees. Declarations that this will serve “the public interest” are belied by Israel’s policy of using Area C for its citizens only, illustrated by similar cases.

Video: Civil Administration forces uproot olive trees on ‘Azzun village land. Filmed by Abdulkarim Sadi, B'Tselem
February 1

Mon. Jan. 23. In Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah, a three-family community 5 km southwest of al-Jiftlik, the Civil Administration destroyed tents used as living quarters by two families, leaving 13, including 6 minors, homeless. Forces also destroyed two livestock pens and razed part of the access road to the isolated community. The authorities destroyed homes in the community in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well.

Children from the community of Khirbet 'Ein Karzaliyah near the contens of the homes destroyed by the Civil Administration. Photo: 'Aref Daraghmeh, B'Tselem. 23 January 2017.
January 23

On 2 Jan. 2017, Civil Administration forces demolished ten homes and a livestock pen in Wadi Esneisel and Bir al-Maskub, north of the Ma’ale Adumim settlement, leaving 78 people homeless, including 52 minors. The next day, the forces continued, demolishing six homes and 16 livestock pens in the community of Khirbet Tana, located close to Beit Furik in the Nablus district, leaving 29 people homeless, including 15 minors. This followed the demolition of 79 structures in the community in 2016.

Members of the Hanani family among the ruins of the entrance to their cave, demolished this week in Khirbet Tana. Photo by Salma a-Deb’i, B’Tselem, 3 Jan. 2017
January 5

Since Sept. some 220 Palestinians (incl. about 100 minors) have been forced to leave their homes in the Jordan Valley on multiple occasions to make way for military training. Families from Ibziq, Khirbet Humsah and Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar have had to spend hours on end, or even all night, far from home and exposed to the elements. The frequency of these displacements completely disrupts residents’ lives and jeopardizes the very existence of these communities. As an occupying power, Israel cannot use the land for routine military purposes, harm the livelihood of protected persons on this pretext, or attempt to expel the residents.

A shepherdess and armored personnel carriers in the pastureland of Jordan Valley residents. Photo by Keren Manor, Activestills, 8 Dec. 2016
December 20

The report B’Tselem published today shows how Israel has been taking over Palestinian rural space, fragmenting it, dispossessing its residents of land and water, and handing over these areas to settlers. The process is illustrated through a case study of three villages in the Nablus District - ‘Azmut, Deir al-Hatab and Salem - telling what these communities have undergone since Israel established the Elon Moreh settlement nearby. Through this case study, the report illustrates a broader policy Israel has been implementing throughout the West Bank for decades, and in which the settlers play a key role.

December 5