More home demolitions in Fasayil al-Wusta
At 8.30am on 13th March 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished 3 homes and 5 animal shelters in Fasayil al-Wusta. 9 military and police jeeps, 1 bulldozer and 2 civil administration jeeps arrived and surrounded the family declaring their homes a closed military zone.
Residents were given 15 minutes to remove their clothes or other belongings before their homes were demolished.
The homes belonged to Abed Yasim Rashaydeh Abu Nahar and his brothers Hassan Yasim Rashaydeh and Hador Mohammed. In total 30 family members live in the tents including 21 children.
Israeli Civil Administration has ordered the whole community to evacuate the area or they will demolish every structure. Abu Nahar said, “…the young children especially, are always afraid the soldiers will come and attack our homes.”
It is the 3rd time IOF has demolished their homes in less than 1 year.
In June 2011, IOF demolished 18 homes and 3 animal shelters in Fasayil al-Wusta making 103 people homeless including 63 children. Many left making it even harder for the people who stayed.
On 20th December 2011, IOF demolished all Rashaydeh family homes and their animal shelters.
Living conditions are extremely difficult in this part of the village. Repeated home demolitions by IOF have made their situation even worse. At the moment they will rebuild their homes and animal shelters with the little resources available to them but continue to live in fear of the next demolition. The community has received some emergency humanitarian aid but this doesn’t address the needs of the community.
Abu Nahar explained: ”Many organisations have come here offering things like metal water tankers or new tents following demolitions. We don’t want this kind of support, we need water pipes and want to live in normal houses.”
IOF have ordered all Palestinians to leave Fasayil al-Wusta but Abu Nahar says he will die on his land.
Their community suffers political oppression and they want a sustained campaign of support which aims to establish their right to exist on their land.
Background Information on Fasayil
Fasayil is a Palestinian village located in the south of the Jordan Valley. The village was divided in to 3 parts under the Oslo agreements in 1994 (Fasayil at-Tahta, Fasayil al-Wusta and Fasayil al-Fauqa). It is surrounded by three illegal Israeli agricultural settlements. Tomer settlement was established in 1974, controls 366 dunams (1 dunam = 100 meters sq) of agricultural land and has a population of 282 people. Fa’zael settlement was established 1975 and has stolen the historical name of the village. It controls 214 dunams of agricultural land. Ma’ael Ephraim was one of the first Isreali colonies established in the Jordan Valley and occupies a large area of land on the hill overlooking the village.
The Israeli government offers an abundance of economic incentives to encourage Israeli and international Jews to relocate to the colonies here. Palestinians from the occupied Jordan Valley (and West Bank) make up the labour workforce and are paid NIS 50 per day (a very low amount) as daily workers with no contracts.
Soil in the Jordan Valley is extremely fertile, is located hundreds of meters below sea level with hot temperatures all year round, and there are large water resources in the area. As a result, it has always been central to food growing in the region. In summary, Israeli settlement make large profits from produce; grown manually by Palestinians, on confiscated Palestinian land and irrigated with stolen Palestinian water.
The main part of the village, Fasayil at-Tahte, was classified as area B under the Oslo accords, meaning the Palestinian Authority has administrative control but Israel retains security control. Palestinians living in area B are permitted to run water and electricity to their homes in addition to having health and education services. Restrictions include prohibiting the community from growing geographically and Mekerot (Israeli state water company) only allows the village 6 cubic meters of water per hour causing severe shortages during hot summer months. Approximately 1300 people live in this part of the village which is recognised as having 80 dunams (1 = 1oo meters sq.) Families grow naturally which should cause the population to grow but occupation policies create difficult social and economic conditions forcing many people to move to larger urban areas.
Fasayil al-Fauqa (upper) is located around 3 kilometres to the North, is home to around 700 people and was classified area C under Oslo. Jordan Valley Solidarity participated in a long campaign with the community. In 2007, JVS volunteers and members of the community built a school from mud bricks. Volunteers taught the children until it was recognised and supported by the Palestinian Ministry of Education (who has since paid the teachers’ salaries). The Norwegian representative funded renovation of the school and now 135 children up to the age of 12 receive education in their community. A new kindergarden has now been added at the back and classes are due to start soon. The Belgian government also donated electricity infrastructure to the community which runs from Fasayil at-Tahte (area B) to al-Fauqa (area C). Plastic water pipes were also laid and the community has running water. Many Bedouin tents have been renovated to permanent structures with cement and although the community suffers under occupation, Israel is in negotiations with the PA to give all permanent structures permission to remain. This has only happened because of the determination and resilience of the local community who have established their right to live there through the building of the school and other community projects.
Fasayil al-Wusta is home to around 200 Palestinians and was also classified area C under Oslo. Most of the population work on surrounding agricultural colonies, Tomer (1978) and Fazael (1975). Like most Bedouin, they also rear livestock and some produce cheese. This traditional and sustainable way of life is dependent on the natural resources of the land – mainly water. Fasayil al-Wusta is prohibited from running water or electricity to their homes despite living a few hundred meters from Fasayil at-Tahte which is permitted these basic human rights. Israeli water and electricity infrastructure also passes directly through the community but it is solely for use by the Jewish only settler population.
- Eye on the Jordan Valley (2010)