Army demolishes village housing over 200 Palestinians, west of the Barrier
On 29 October, the Israeli army forced more than 200 Palestinians from their homes in the village of Khirbet Qassa, Hebron District. The small village was established in the 1950s and most of its residents are refugees from the village of Beit Jibrin . The new Tarkumiya checkpoint, which lies very close to the Green Line, is being built near the village.
The villagers lived in tents and caves and gained a livelihood from raising sheep and goats. Since construction began on the Separation Barrier, separating the village from the rest of the West Bank , the army has harassed the residents and denied them access to the grazing fields and other facilities that lie beyond the Barrier. About a year and a half ago, the army warned the residents that it intended to demolish their homes on the grounds that they were built without a permit.
On 25 October, the army left demolition orders under stones at the entrances to homes in the village. On 29 October, soldiers in jeeps and bulldozers began to demolish the tents and caves without giving the residents leave to remove their possessions. According to testimonies villagers gave to B'Tselem, soldiers beat a villager who tried to protect his flock, which he kept in one of the caves. Only after an officer intervened was he allowed to evacuate his livestock.
Abd al-Halim a-Natah and Zano, in the town of Idhna. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, B'Tselem.
The army loaded the water containers and feeding troughs onto a truck and deposited them beyond the Barrier. Much of the residents' property was crushed and buried among the ruins. After the army's action, the officer told the residents that they had to leave the site by noon the next day, and that they would be arrested and their livestock confiscated if they did not obey. The following afternoon, patrols of the Nature Reserves and Parks Authority came and forced the residents to leave.
Most of the residents are now homeless and have had to find temporary housing in the nearby town of Idhna.