Demolitions 8Aug16 (5)In the early hours of August 8th , Jordan Valley Solidarity received reports of demolitions of housing, animal and water structures taking place in areas declared by the Israeli Occupation Forces as “closed firing zones” in Tubas, Jiftek and Fasayil. JVS spoke with affected households in all three areas, gathering first hand reports of the rights violations committed against Palestinian pastoralist families in the Jordan Valley (Occupied West Bank, Palestine). The families affected by the demolitions are already recognized as refugees since 1967 by UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). According to JVS coordinator, Rashed Khudiri, these families are effectively experiencing the Nakba over again, being systematically dispossessed in their own homeland. The occupation and colonization by Israeli forces in Area C of the Jordan Valley has left the population deprived of access to water sources, without the rights to develop needed health and education facilities and with no rights to build their own housing structures. To date, international outcry about these violations remains muted, with few taking a proactive stand with the families who have sustained their determination to remain rooted on the land.
At the home of Rashed Khrazat in Jiftek, JVS spoke with family members who explained how their animal shed which held 200 sheep and goats along with several bags of feedstock was demolished at 5:00am. Under the guidance of Israeli Civil Administration personnel in two white vehicles, the demolition was carried out by two bulldozers along with Israeli army personnel in four jeeps, damaging the metal structure so as to completely render it useless. The demolition has left the Kharzat family with no where to house their livestock and with a significant loss of investments in animal feed. The family of 15 has already faced three demolitions of their housing since 2014, the most recent being in February 2016. They continue to remain rooted on land they depend upon for their livelihood, but under conditions made increasingly precarious by such acts of violence carried out by the Israeli Civil Administration and Occupation forces.

Demolitions 8Aug16 (6)Also in Jiftek, JVS spoke with Saber S. Rashaideh whose home was demolished around 5:30am this morning by the same crew of Israeli Civil Administration, army and bulldozers. The family managed to salvage many of their belongings during the time of the demolition at the Khazat family’s homestead, but with their housing structure destroyed, they are forced to live with extended family members under precarious conditions.

In Fasayil, at 8am, the kitchen, living room and toilet structures of the Rashaideh family were demolished by Israeli military personnel from 11 jeeps and 2 bulldozers. At the time, the family was preparing food and had 20 minutes to vacate. They had received no demolition order beforehand, but have been living precariously on land where their homes had been demolished first in 2011 and most recently in February 2016.

In Tubas, JVS spoke with a community member who explained how they had just managed to complete the building of a 4 kilometer water pipeline from Tubas to Khirbet Yarza. Since it was made with plastic tubing, it remains legal in Area C, despite the many regulations imposed on Palestinians that effectively prohibit them from building any permanent structures on the land. Some residents of Khirbet Yarza trace their roots back over 500 years ago, but since becoming occupied by Israel, the community has been unable to develop water infrastructure to serve the needs of the current population. Today, August 8th, was supposed to be celebrated as the first day of the water piping becoming fully functional. However, at 5am, while most of the families in the surrounding area were still asleep, Israeli military and bulldozers arrived, confiscating one kilometre of pipeline and destroying the remaining 3 kilometers of pipes.

Demolitions 8Aug16 (2)In response to this systematic and targetted violence, JVS calls for increased international condemnation of the aggression carried out by the Israeli military against Palestinian families struggling for their basic rights to survival and existence in the Jordan Valley, for proactive and increased efforts by international agencies to take protective actions to support affected families and for pressure on all companies and financiers offering support to the Israeli military to immediately and unconditionally divest.Demolitions 8Aug16 (1)