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, leaving 18 people, including eight minors, homeless. The demolition was captured on video by B’Tselem field-researcher Nasser Nawaj'ah. Residents in the area have been victims of repeated harassment by the Israeli authorities, who declared a large part of the area as a firing zone in the late 70s, and have been working to expel residents ever since.
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 Tuesday, 26 September, Nimer Mahmoud Jamal, 37, from Beit Surik carried out an attack in the settlement of Har Adar, killing a Border Police officer and two settlement security guards: Sgt. Solomon Gavryia, 20, Yusef Othman, 25 and Or Arish, 25. Border Police officers and the settlement security coordinator – who himself had been moderately hurt during the incident according to the police – shot and killed Jamal. Immediately following the attack, the military implemented punitive measures against the residents of nine villages in the area of Beit Surik, northwest of Jerusalem, totaling about 40,000 people. The military’s actions included raids on villages and homes, damaging property in some cases, scores of arrests, as well as movement restrictions.
B'Tselem Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad said, following the State's response submitted earlier today to the High Court of Justice, that the state was asking the court to authorize a war crime: "No sanctimonious language about a ‘planning, proprietary and realistic’ alternate, or ‘time to prepare’ can erase the disgrace or hide the facts: the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar means the forcible transfer of protected persons, and forcible transfer is a war crime. Those responsible for it will bear personal criminal liability – exactly as B’Tselem stated two weeks ago, in a letter addressed to the prime minister, defense minister, justice minister, chief of staff and the head of the Civil Administration."
Civil Administration signals it is prepared to move forward with the forcible transfer of the entire community, an intention unequivocally stated by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to reporters two weeks ago. Doing so would constitute a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
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.
Yesterday, 4 September, B’Tselem sent a grave letter to Israel’s prime minister and other top Israeli officials, cautioning that demolition of the Palestinian communities of Susiya and Khan al-Ahmar as planned would constitute a war crime for which they would bear personal liability. B’Tselem made the unusual move after Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the press last week that “work was being done to implement plans to evacuate the Palestinian villages of Sussia in the South Hebron Hills and Khan al-Ahmar near Ma’aleh Adumim within a few months.”
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.
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.
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.