In the afternoon on 31st October 2012, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished the home of Ali Ahmad Bani Odh in ‘Ein al Hilwa.

The bulldozers came without warning and Ali’s family were not allowed to collect any belongings. Within minutes, the family watched the destruction of their home despite a ‘freezing order’ against the demolition issued on their home them six months ago.

Situated just below the aggressive Maskiyyot colony, the community of ‘Ein al Hilwa faces near-daily harassment from the settlers and the IOF. Regularly, members of the community are threatened, houses are demolished, farmers are fined for grazing their herds in areas designated as ‘firing zones’ and equipment is confiscated. In just one day, on 17th October 2012, the family of Sati Daragmeh was told to leave their home within three days and four farmers were fined 300 shekels each for crossing an Israeli road with their sheep.

Continually, violent settlers have prevented Palestinians from accessing the abundance of fresh water in the area. Not allowed to use the spring in ‘Ein al Hilwa the community is forced to drive 12km with a tractor and water tank to the nearest filling point in Bardala. This means that families not only have to pay for water that used to be freely available to them, but are additionally burdened with costs for transportation. Often, tanks have to be transported at night to avoid confiscation by the IOF along the way.

Moreover, located in an area declared as ‘closed military zone’, the IOF seek to deny the existence of the community in ‘Ein al Hilwa. The community is frequently forced to endure military training close to their homes and in their own land, including the use of heavy tanks, such as during the ongoing joint Israeli-US military drill ‘Austere Challenge 2012’ at the end of October.