This morning, 19 October 2017, at 10:30 AM, Civil Administration officials together with a military detail, arrived at the community of Khirbet al-Halawah, in the Masafer Yatta region in the south Hebron Hills. The forces demolished the homes of two families: a concrete structure built with the help of a contribution from the European Union, and a cinder block structure with plastic sheeting for a roof. The forces left two families homeless. One family has 15 members, including seven children and teenagers, and the other is a family of three, including one minor. As they were leaving the area, the forces passed near the village of a-Tuwani and demolished a shed used by a village resident. In the late 1970s, the military declared a large area in the Masafer Yatta region, which is home to twelve Palestinian communities, as “Firing Zone 918”, and in the 1990s, it expelled residents from their homes. These residents were permitted to return thanks to an injunction issued by the High Court of Justice in response to several petitions, which forbade the state from demolishing the homes pending resolution of the petitions. However, the authorities have since repeatedly harassed residents of the area in an attempt to expel them from their homes. In early 2016, the Civil Administration demolished structures in this and in another community in the area.
On 14 October 2017, military forces arrived at two Palestinian communities in the Jordan valley to confiscate vehicles and work tools. At around 3:30 AM, a force arrived at a farm in Khirbet Ras al-Ahmar, where it confiscated a digger and a truck and told the people who work at the farm to drive the vehicles to the al-Hamra checkpoint. At around 2:00 PM, a military force arrived at the community of Khirbet a-Deir, and ordered the owner of a private car from the community and three people in possession of trucks rented with funding from a humanitarian organization to build an access road to farmlands, to drive their vehicles to the Beit Shean Bardalaי checkpoint. The drivers were held up at the checkpoint for several hours, and ultimately, two of the trucks were confiscated with no order. The reason given was construction without a permit.
Yesterday, Tuesday, 17 October 2017, at around 7:00 AM, Civil Administration officials, together with military forces, arrived at the community of Khallet Makhul in the northern Jordan Valley, and confiscated items meant to be used for an extension of a family home in the community. Khallet Makhul is a long-standing shepherding community which borders on the settlement of Hemdat to the south and the settlement of Ro’i to the east. The Israeli authorities repeatedly demolish homes in the community in an effort to force the residents away from the area. The most recent demolition in the community took place on 18 March 2015.
This morning, at around 7:00 AM, Civil Administration officials, together with security forces and four bulldozers arrived at the Jabal al-Baba community near ‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem. The forces destroyed three pre-fab homes that housed four families, leaving 27 people, including 18 children and youths, homeless. The forces also demolished two bathroom stalls donated by a humanitarian aid organization. The most recent abuse the community was subjected to by the authorities was on 11 September 2017 when forces confiscated equipment used to repair the community’s access road.
On 7 Sept. 2017, in the middle of the night, military forces arrived at a building in the community of Khirbet al-Malih in the northern Jordan Valley. They entered the building – which serves as a home all year, apart from the summer – and trained inside, using live ammunition and stun grenades. They did so just 100 meters from other homes in the community, whose occupants were asleep at the time, and without giving any advance notice. Yusef Khalil, 25, was sleeping outside with his flock: “I woke up with a start. I heard heavy gunfire and didn’t understand what was going on. I was terrified. I heard my mother telling my brothers: ‘Stay in bed and don’t move, it’s the army’.”
On 8 Sept. 2017, at about 3:00 P.M., a military force came with a bulldozer to the dirt road that connects the town of Yatta with the villages of Masafer Yatta, dug it up and blocked it off with rocks. The destruction of the road, which had been renovated just a day earlier with aid funding, forces villagers to now take a long detour. Masafer Yatta, which extends southeast of Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, is home to more than 1,000 people which Israel has been trying to expel for many years, including by declaring the area Firing Zone 918.
Yesterday, 10 Sept. 2017, Israeli Civil Administration personnel came with security forces to the community of Jabal al-Baba that lies near ‘Eizariyah, northeast of Jerusalem, and confiscated two trucks with building material donated by an aid organization for fixing the access path to the community. The forces slashed the community’s main water pipe, leaving residents without water, and damaged its power network. This follows the confiscation of the community’s preschool in late August.
Today, Sunday 10 Sept. 2017, a military jeep arrived in the morning in the agricultural areas to the west of the Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley. The forces confiscated two commercial vehicles and a truck. The vehicles were taken from three families who are employed by the landowners in the area as agricultural workers. A few days ago, on 6 September 2017, Civil Administration forces came to the same community and confiscated a tractor and a welding machine that was being used at the time by a resident to repair the community’s water pipe. The forces also confiscated a bus used for transporting agricultural workers to farms in the area. All the confiscations were undertaken on the pretext if presence in a “firing zone,” without issuing confiscation orders.
On Thursday, 31 August 2017, at 5:00 A.M., Civil Administration officials came with 25 Border Police officers to the Palestinian community of Tublas, which lies in Area C, along the main road that connects Hizma to ‘Anata north of Jerusalem. The community numbers some 60 people, about half of them minors. The forces demolished and confiscated a 48-square-meter pre-fab donated by a humanitarian organization that home to a family of five, including three minors.
Yesterday, 22 August 2017, Israeli authorities demolished the school at the community of Jub a-Dib, southeast of Bethlehem, leaving 80 pupils without an educational facility. In previous years, the children of Jub a-Dib had to walk to schools outside the village. The demolition of a school building the night before the start of the year epitomizes the administrative cruelty and systematic harassment by authorities designed to drive Palestinians from their land. In recent weeks, another two educational facilities in Area C were also demolished.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.