Occupation forces have destroyed the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khirbet Qasa, West Idna, to the west of Hebron city, driving 263 people from their homes.
***image2***At 8.00 on Monday 29 October Occupation forces arrived at the small village, isolated on the western side of the Apartheid Wall, in a convoy of jeeps and diggers. The villagers fled their tents as the diggers closed in and began the wrecking work. There was no time for the villagers to retrieve their belongings: tools, furniture and domestic items were strewn and smashed as the diggers ploughed through the tents.
The destruction continued until three in the afternoon. The villagers could do nothing but stand by and watch as their homes were destroyed. After the work was done, the villagers were told that they had four hours to leave the area, or risk being shot.
They did not leave. When the bulldozers and jeeps departed, they immediately began to rebuild their homes. On the second day, Occupation forces returned, shooting into the air and chasing the people and their animals. The villagers were rounded up and herded over to the eastern side of the wall, a number in handcuffs, and the village levelled for the second time.
In a matter of hours, the 263 villagers found themselves isolated from the wreckage of their tents and belongings, with only the clothes they were standing in.
Khalid, one of the villagers, described their plight:
âThis the second Nakba that we face in our lives. The Occupation is ethnically cleansing the Palestinians. The Occupation wants Palestine without its people. They damage our lives. We are homeless now. We donât have even a tent to protect us.â
In the 1948 Nakba, this community were forced from their lands in Beit Jubrin by the Zionist militias. They settled in Khirbet Qasa, next to the green line by Hebron, some setting their tents others living in caves, setting up their animal enclosures nearby.
Two years ago, the building of the Apartheid Wall cut Khirbet Qasa off from the rest of the West Bank. Almost immediately, Occupation forces began a slow war of attrition to push the Bedouins out, with the issuing of demolition orders for their tents and animal enclosures and harassment of villagers passing from Qasa to Ibna to access local services. Fines and arrests were used to intimidate the villagers.
Having failed to crush the Bedouinâs steadfastness, the Occupation is now resorting to straightforward home demolition and transfer to push forward with the ethnic cleansing of land to the West of the Apartheid Wall.