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From the field

Israel forces six families from Khirbet Ibzik to vacate their homes for four days and nights

On Sunday, 5 December 2021, at around 9:00 A.M., Civil Administration personnel came with a military escort to the community of Khirbet Ibzik in the northern Jordan Valley. The forces delivered six families, numbering 35 people, including 17 minors, orders forcing them to vacate their homes and stay at least five kilometers away from them for four days (between 5 December and 15 December), every day for 18 hours from 8:00 A.M. until the next day at 2:00 A.M., so the military could train inside the community’s territory. In addition, on the first day of training, the forces confiscated the tractor of a resident of ‘Aqaba, which was used that day to perform agricultural work in the area.
On each of the days when the residents were required to evacuate, two jeeps of the Civil Administration arrived at their homes in the morning to make sure that they had left their homes. During the training, tanks were stationed in the hills east of Ibzik and Khirbet Qa’un, north of Bardalah. Some of the tanks trampled cultivated fields, destroyed crops and damaged agricultural roads and water pipes belonging to area farmers.
On Wednesday, 15 December 2021, Civil Administration personnel came to the community again accompanied by soldiers and delivered six families an order instructing them to vacate their homes again on 27 December 2021, from 8:00 A.M. until the next day at 2:00 A.M., so the military could train inside the community’s territory.

Two members of the families ordered to evacuate gave testimonies to B'Tselem field researcher 'Aref Daraghmeh:
Muhammad Nasrallah (50), a father of six: On 30 November 2021, Civil Administration personnel and the military came and handed us and five other families eviction orders so the military could train in the area. The orders indicated four days when we were supposed to evacuate from morning till noon. On the first morning we were due to evacuate, 5 December 2021, Civil Administration personnel and the military came again and handed us new orders stipulating that the evacuations wouldn't be until the afternoon but until 2:00 A.M. We were in the middle of our morning routine: making breakfast, tending to the flock, preparing the kids for school, but Civil Administration and the military wouldn't leave us alone until we left our homes and then they led us about six kilometers away. They did this on each of the evacuation days. We had to move to the tents of relatives, but it was uncomfortable, and we couldn't sleep on those nights. And when we come back, in the middle of the night, in the cold and darkness, we usually found that the flock went into the tents and made a mess. It was impossible to do anything in the dark, so we just went to sleep. After a few days, we were taken out of our houses again.
Hayel Turkman (41), a father of 10: We stayed in a house belonging to my brother each time. It's not our home, and we didn't feel comfortable there. At night, we heard bombings and gunfire. We stayed awake until 2:00 A.M. and then went home, on foot, of course. We were terrified of encountering wild animals in the dark or stepping on remnants of military ammunition. We were exhausted from lack of sleep. It took us half an hour to get back to our tents. When we arrived, the women and children went to sleep, and I checked on the flock, which was already starving, and gave it food. The next day, we checked the tents and the kitchen, and on some days, we found a big mess there because some of the flock went into the tents and turned things over. Each time, I went around the tents to check if any ammunition was left behind. Luckily, I didn't find anything. Each year, we evacuate our tents for this training. Our lives have become very difficult in this place, and we don't feel safe here, but we have no other place else to live in.

Residents evacuate from Ibzik escorted by the Civil Administration and the military. Photo by ‘Aref Daraghmeh, B’Tselem, 15 Dec. 2021