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Update 25.03.11 8.00pm

Army declares the Bedouin land a ‘closed military area’ and demolishes the Bedouin tent

Ein Il Hilwe Bedouin land that faces settler aggression for 3 days is now declared ‘closed military area’ and their home was demolished by the army. Tonight Nabeel’s family will have to sleep in the Jordan Valley Solidarity school.

After trying to build another tent beside the main road and being asked by the army to leave the area, the family has no other choice than to sleep in the tent school.

Update 25.03.11  8.00am

The army is forcing the Bedouin family out of the land, arresting the head of the family and international and Israeli volunteers

Update 24.3.11 7.35pm

The army have now been and said to the family that if they do not take their home down by 6am tomorrow morning (25.3.11). To our knowledge they have not asked the settler to dismantle the tent and fence they have erected in the last few days, or asked them to leave. They still do not hve a demolition order either.

Upadate 24.3.11 7.10pm

The settlers have now erected fence around part of the family’s home and their cattle pen. They are unable to bring their cattle home and have had to leave them out on the mountain for the night. They have also tried to take the cameras off the internationals present, but have not succeeded.

Posted 24.2.11 2.00pm

Once again the settlers from the illegal Israeli colony of Maskiyyot are attempting to force the Palestinian community of Ein El Hilwe off their land. Working hand in hand with the Israeli Army they have set up a tent just 10 meters from the family home of Nabeel and Ghada Daraghme. Around 100 settlers came in the middle of the night on 22nd/23rd March, with a large tent, generator and flood lighting, terrifying Ghada’s three youngest children. About forty settlers then stayed and kept the family awake for the rest of the night. This was just one day after the Israeli Army had been and told the family to take down their tent and move from the land.

Almost a year ago the settlers from Makiyyot used the same tactic and set up a tent next to a Bedouin family just 700m down the valley, leading to the family being forced to move by the Army. In November 2010 they fenced off the land that they are now trying to steal, but were thwarted as the land is owned by the Lutheran church. It is clear that the settlers have no legal rights to take this land, as it is still owned b y the Lutheran church, and although the army and settlers have had the audacity to ask them to take down their house, they have not issued a demolition order. So, the army threat to demolish the house is not only illegal under international law, but it also illegal according to their own laws.

Sitting in the family home you can see this that this could be an idyllic life, with an abundance of wild flowers on the hillside, and a wonderful climate this time of year. But, on the hilltop just across the valley Maskiyyot settlement is expanding. There is a row of large grey houses being built on the brow of the hill, and a bulldozer can be seen and heard all day carving out large terraces on the side of the hill – the sign of more planned expansion.

We are now onto day two of this completely mad situation. The settlers come and go to their tent, guns slung over their shoulders, and have spent a second night making sure that the Nabeel, Ghada and their children have no sleep. They ran a noisy generator, in an otherwise silent hillside, set floodlights up, brought a dog which they goaded into annoying Nabeel’s two dogs, donkey and horse, then brought donkeys that they rode up and down outside the home, they threw rocks towards the cattle pen, urinated outside the tent and the family’s water tank, and created as much noise as they could.

The army came again yesterday (23/3/11) in the afternoon, and told Nabeel that if he does not take down his own home by today (24/3/11) they will come and demolish it. He is in contact with the Lutheran Church and a lawyer in an attempt to challenge the settler’s actions through the courts. However, there has been no attempt to curb the behaviour of the settlers in the meantime. The family are now exhausted, but having an international presence will enable them to get some sleep at night. If you are able to come to support the family please contact Jordan Valley Solidarity.

The family have no running water and no electricity, in common with other Bedouin communities in the valley, and apart from their animals they have very few possessions, leading a very simple life. The nearest family are about two hundred metres away, next to the road, and on the other side of the road is the small community of Ein El Hilwe.

It is clear from this incident how closely the Army and the settlers work together and coordinate what happens. In this incident it was the Army that came first, and ordered the family to demolish their home. The following day the settlers arrived and erected their tent. The proximity of Maskyott settlement means that is is easy for the settlers to bring over more people and supplies to their tent at any time.

When the threats from the Army started and the settler tent was erected the family sought support from Jordan Valley solidarity, and were keen for people to come and join them, as a way of supporting their bravery in refusing to leave. However, this is not just about one family. The rest of the community are really worried that if the settlers make Nabeel and Ghada leave they will move on ot the next family down the hill, then the next.

The family are Nabeel, his wife, and their four children, aged 14, 5, 4 and 2 years. The family have a horse, a donkey and a herd of about 20 cows, with approximately 10 calves. The herd is kept at night in a small fenced off area which the family have constructed, and during the day they graze the hillside and valley, looked after by the oldest boy, Firas. The family have wintered here for about 15 years – prior to coming to their winter site they were living near Tubas.