This morning two bulldozers and a number of military jeeps entered the community of al-Hadidiya and destroyed the homes of 18 people. Upon their arrival, people were ordered to leave their homes. The demolitions began immediately and no one was given time to remove their belongings.
The first home and sheep shed destroyed belongs to Omar Arif Sharat. The wrecking crew then moved on to the three homes that host the families of Muhammad Fahad Bani Odeh, Ali Muhammad Masleh Bani Odeh, Muhammad Ali Bani Odeh and demolished them together with their sheep sheds. Finally, the animal sheds belonging to Abdallah Hafez Yousef Bani Odeh and Abdallah Hussain Abdallah Abu Sharat were destroyed.
The people of al-Hadidiya have long been resisting a series of attempts by the Occupation authorities to expel them from their land to make way for the further expansion of the Roi, Begaâot and Hamda settlements. On August 4th, a military order was issued informing the villagers that they must leave their homes or face removal by force. This most recent attack marks the fourth time the homes of the village have been razed, with bulldozers last devastating the community on August 23, 2007.
The community of al-Hadidiya comprises some 150 people whose livelihoods depend upon raising sheep. Their homes, which are simple shelters of aluminum and wood, are built on land owned by the nearby Palestinian village Tubas. The Occupation authorities have continuously harassed the villagers over the last years by blocking access to grazing areas, confiscating water tanks, imposing fines on their cattle and detaining the people for hours. Illegal settlements have also been built on village land.
The current demolitions are part of a larger campaign that is being waged against the Bedouin communities in the West Bank. With the planned expansion of settlements, particularly to the north and east of Jerusalem, the Occupation is working to remove Bedouin from areas where it plans to build. In the Jerusalem plains, for example, some 7,500 Jahalin Bedouin are under threat of eviction and forced population transfer.
Todayâs demolitions follow the complete closure of the Jordan, imposed by the Occupation authorities yesterday. Only Palestinians who hold an ID card showing they reside in the Jordan Valley are allowed to cross the checkpoints that isolate the region. This affects farmers, workers and trade and has an overall debilitating effect on the economic life of the area.