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.
On Wednesday, 9 August 2017, at about 1:00 P.M., dozens of Civil Administration officials and Border Police arrived at Abu a-Nuwar, a Palestinian community which Israel refuses to hook up to the power grid. They confiscated solar panels and related equipment, all of which were donated to the community by a humanitarian aid organization about a month ago. Abu a-Nuwar lies between the settlements of Kedar and Ma’ale Adumim, in an area that Israeli authorities have defined E1. Some 650 people live in the community, about half of them minors.
The main route to Abu a-Nuwar was blocked off and the troops prevented anyone from entering or leaving. The area of the school, which was empty due to the summer break, was declared a closed military zone. The CA confiscated two solar-panels stands and ten solar panels that had been installed in the school yard. They also broke down a door to a room in the school, went in and seized two circuit-breaker panels and 12 batteries that were in the room. The confiscated solar panels supplied power to the community’s school and preschools, which are attended by a total of about 72 children, as well as to the community’s guesthouse. The equipment was seized despite an interim injunction issued that day prohibiting enforcement (in the form of demolition or confiscating solar panels) until 16 August 2017.
This afternoon Israel’s Civil Administrating confiscated a tanker which supplies water to the communities of Msafar Yatta (Greater Yatta; Firing Zone 918) in the southern Hebron Hills, citing “entering a firing zone”. The truck, owned by a resident of Yatta, was carrying 20,000 liters of water and is the only one of its size serving the communities in the area. The truck managed to supply water only to the community of Khirbet al-Fakhit, one of twelve communities in the area which Israel has been endeavoring to displace and also refuses to hook up to the water grid. Soldiers then confiscated the truck. Israeli security forces kept the B’Tselem field researcher who was on site from filming the confiscation.
On Jul. 19, military and Civil Administration forces confiscated two water tanks in Kh. Tall al-Himma in the northern Jordan Valley, along with a pump from a spring used as the community’s main source of water. Solar panels were confiscated there on Jul. 5. The forces then cut a pipe used to bring water from a natural spring to a reservoir in the community of Kh. Um al-Jmal, used for livestock and irrigation. The cruel treatment of these communities, which Israel refuses to connect to the water system, is particularly brazen in the current scorching heat of the Jordan Valley.
The Palestinian village of Jub a-Dib near Bethlehem has existed since 1929, yet Israel refuses to hook it up to the power grid. In late 2016, thanks to international aid, 96 solar panels were installed providing the 160 residents with regular electricity for the first time. Israel confiscated the panels on 28 June 2017. This is another example of Israel’s systematic abuse of Area C Palestinians, denying them basic services and confiscating or destroying alternatives provided by aid organizations.
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.