Humsa and Al-Hadidiya, Jordan Valley: Bedouin village bulldozed again
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Humsa and Al-Hadidiya, Jordan Valley: Bedouin village bulldozed again

Occupation forces on the morning of 23rd of August razed the Bedouin village of Humsa close to Haddidiya for the second time in two weeks.

At around 8.00 am, ten occupation vehicles and a bulldozer rolled into the village. They demolished three barns owned by Abdullah Hussein Bsharat, along with three houses belonging to his family, and confiscated a water tank. His son Salah Abdullah Hussein Bsharat had his tractor confiscated. A third villager, Abdullah Hafez Sharat had his house destroyed along with two sheds, for the second time in 10 days. The Occupation forces later demolished the home of Suleiman Abu Liqbash and his animal shacks.

A taxi driver who brought passengers to the area had his car documents, taxi permit and identity card confiscated by occupation forces. Muwafaq Abu Wahdan, from the nearby town of Tubas, was forced to abandon his vehicle, and was detained at the Hamra checkpoint for a number of hours until his ID was returned. The targeting of an individual simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time is typical of the arbitrary repression that characterises life under the Occupation.

As a consequence of the destruction of Humsa and al-Hadidiya, two families numbering 25 people are without shelter under the burning August sun (temperatures were reaching 43 degrees in the shadow that day) and deprived of their only access to water resources. The villagers were unable to remove all of their belongings from their homes before the demolitions began, although they saved what they could.

The Palestinian Bedouins remain defiant. Salah Abdullah Hussein Bsharat said: “Will never leave this village, even if we have to live under its stones. This is our land, and we will not leave.” After the previous attack of the Occupation forces on 13 August, which destroyed two homes and a number of animal enclosures, the villagers started rebuilding within a matter of hours.

The Occupation has repeatedly and deliberately targeted the families who have spoken out about the attacks on al Hadidiya. Over the last few months, the Bisharat family has contacted representatives of international humanitarian organizations, ambassadors and international media, as well as co-ordinating closely with local grassroots activists to fight the expulsion orders.

In al-Hadidiya and neighbouring Humsa, seventeen Bedouin families, numbering around 180 people face eviction by force. Occupation authorities have declared the area they are living in a ‘closed military zone’ and claim that they need to be removed for their own safety. In the Jordan Valley, this tactic of closing large swathes of land is a key instrument for driving Palestinians from their land in order to make way for the settlers. Zionists from nearby Ro’I settlement enjoy unlimited access to the area and intend to use the fertile land for the expansion of their herb plantation.

After confiscating the tractor and water tank on the morning of 23rd of August, the Occupation forces retreated to the nearby Roi settlement, before moving on. The settlements have a symbiotic relationship with the military, and play a major role in the Occupation’s expulsion policy. Roi was responsible for securing the demolition for Hadidiya in November 2006.

The Occupation is engaged in a process of removing Palestinian villages from Jordan Valley piece by piece. The process of ethnic cleansing is gradual, in order to avoid attracting to much international attention. Applying this policy, within a month, the al Hadidiya and Humsa will have been wiped off the map under the noses of international observers.

Villages in the Jordan Valley have experienced constant harassment since the Occupation of the West Bank in 1967, when Israel commenced policies aimed at the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the expulsion of its Palestinian population. Pressure on Hadidiye has been stepped up dramatically since the start of 2007.

The Jordan Valley is strategically of enormous importance. Israeli control of the area allows the Occupation to keep the Palestinian people in the West Bank encircled, without access to borders. It confiscates core water reserves of the Jordan River and 28% of the West Bank land.