In mid-Jan, 24 Palestinian families in the Jordan Valley were informed they would be temporarily displaced at month’s end for military training in the area. The evacuation was cancelled due to weather conditions, but the military did conduct training very close to one community, causing panic among residents, especially children, and crushing crops. Military training in the Jordan Valley is illegal. Israel must immediately stop it and all other measures employed in an attempt to force Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley out of the area.
On Thursday morning, 4 February 2016, Civil Administration (CA) officials came to the Palestinian shepherding community of al-Mkassar in the northern Jordan Valley with bulldozers and a military escort. They proceeded to demolish four tents that were home to two families – a total of 19 people, including 12 minors. They also demolished eight livestock pens. These families had already lost their homes in a previous demolition in June 2015. Later that the day, around noon, CA and military forces came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills, where they dismantled and confiscated two tents that were home to a family of eight, including six minors. The tents were donated to the family after their two previous tents were demolished about two weeks ago, on 20 January 2016.
Today, 2 Feb. 2016, Israeli authorities demolished a total of 22 homes in two Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, leaving 110 people, including 64 minors, homeless in mid-winter. The communities lie in an area declared by the military as Firing Zone 918. This comes immediately after the end of unsuccessful mediation between Israeli authorities and the communities, which now plan to renew their legal battle against attempts to expel them from their land.
Since the beginning of 2016 Israel has demolished eight Palestinian homes in the area defined as E1 and two homes in the South Hebron Hills, including one in Khirbet Susiya, where residents have struggled for years against expulsion and settler takeover. These demolitions serve Israel’s policy to create immutable facts on the ground ahead of any future agreement. This longstanding policy, which creates an impossible daily reality for Palestinians in Area C, constitutes forced transfer of protected residents within the occupied territory.
From 12 to 14 Jan.2016, B'Tselem documented Civil Administration harassment of five Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley, in continuation of efforts to force Palestinians out of Area C. In Kh. ‘Ein Karzaliyah, structures were photographed, apparently ahead of repeat demolitions; in Kh. ‘Einun, forces destroyed agricultural structures and a water reservoir; and in Yarza and Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, families were informed that they would again be displaced for military training.
In the early hours of 13 January 2016, representatives of the Civil Administration and the military came to the Palestinian community of Khirbet a-Rahwa, which lies south of the town of a-Dahariya and close to the settlement Tene. The force demolished a tent that was home to a family of nine, including seven minors, and a livestock pen that belongs to the family. The force also confiscated a solar panel donated to the family by humanitarian aid organizations. The family’s tent had already been demolished a year ago and re-erected since.
On 10 December 2015 Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ) issued an interim injunction in the petition filed by families from al-Hadidiyah. The injunction orders authorities not to demolish the families’ tents. On 30 December 2015 the HCJ ruled, with the agreement of the petitioners and the state, that as long as the residents erect no new structures or implement changes in extant structures, no demolitions will be carried out until further notice. The residents’ petition is scheduled to be heard in February 2016.
Today, Dec. 3, Civil Administration personnel and soldiers came to the al-Hadidiyah community in the northern Jordan Valley and confiscated seven tents donated to the community by the French aid organization ACTED. Residents were already living in four of the tents confiscated, which were erected after the authorities demolished and confiscated tents on three separate occasions between Oct. 26-30th. Two of the families whose tents were confiscated, with a total of 15 members, including four minors, were left with no shelter against the rain and cold. The Israeli authorities’ continued harassment of the al-Hadidiyah community is part of ongoing efforts by the Civil Administration and by the military to expel Palestinian communities from Area C. This government, systematically pursued for years in contravention of international humanitarian law, constitutes the forcible transfer of protected persons inside the occupied territory, whether directly through home demolitions, or indirectly, by creating unlivable conditions.
On 30 Nov., Israeli authorities confiscated tents given by aid organizations to the al-Hadidiyah community in the northern Jordan Valley, following an earlier demolition that left 15 people, including 4 minors, homeless and the dirt road to the community severely damaged. This is the latest step in ongoing harassment of this community. Hiding behind building laws, Israel is pursuing a policy of expelling Palestinians from Area C by making life there unbearable, which amounts to the forcible transfer of protected persons in occupied territory.
Civil Administration displaces 13 families in Khirbet Humsah 7 times in November for military training. Residents have been temporarily displaced 18 times this year, with another expected before month’s end. Entire families are forced to leave their homes on short notice, with their livestock, for extended durations, remaining without proper shelter in harsh weather. Frequent military training in the area is part of Israel’s badgering of local residents in an unlawful bid to reduce Palestinian presence in the Jordan Valley and Area C.
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.