On April 13, Occupation forces issued military decisions requiring the demolition of 10 residential and agricultural structures in the village of Duma, located in the southern part of the Nablus district on the edge of the Jordan Valley. This is ostensibly because the structures have been constructed without a permit, although the Occupation administrators have long refused requests for building permits in this area.
The buildings in question include a number of residential structures that house 42 persons. In addition, an agricultural structure will be demolished. The people of Duma rely on agricultural work for their primary incomes.
Duma, which overlooks the Jordan Valley to the east, has a population of 2,500. Village lands include around 18,000 dunums. However, the village is constrained from building by an archaic master plan that dates back from before the 1967 occupation. As such, only 200 dunums are allotted for structural development. This plan severely cramps the natural growth of the village, forcing residents to build in areas not covered by the plans. Most of the buildings and homes that have come under threat are no further than 100 meters from the edge of master plan borderline, with one of the homes falling only 5 meters from the line.
The area located outside of the pre-1967 building plans is classified as area C under the Oslo agreements. Occupation forces control the area and are responsible for issuing building permits. As is usually the case, the Occupation refuses to issue additional building permits to Duma or expand the village master plan. These recent demolition orders have caused great alarm among the families in Duma, as 27 other structures in the village are found in area C.
The Occupation administration has long been using its total control over area C as a pretext for blocking the natural growth of Palestinian population centres, especially those located in the Jordan Valley. This is part of a larger project of colonization, land and resource left, coupled with low intensity ethnic cleansing. The goal is to control Palestinian land and resources while at the same time making daily life impossible for the population with the aim of eventually forcing them to relocate. This project can be easily observed in Duma, where the demolition orders are coupled with land and resource theft. Of the three freshwater springs in the village, Occupation forces have confiscated the largest in order to supply water to nearby settlers living in the nearby Maâale Efrayim colony. Furthermore, a vast amount of village land (around 10,000 dunums) has been confiscated to the east by the Tomer settlement. Owners are forbidden from accessing their lands. With the loss of their homes, lands and livelihoods, daily life is a constant struggle.