Last Wednesday, February 10, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished a number of houses and agricultural facilities in the Jordan Valley early in the morning. The soldiers, many times accompained by settlers, alleged that the structures shouldn’t be there, since it’s a “closed military zone”.
At the villages of Al Juftiluk, Fasayil and Almekser, at least six houses and nine shelters – used for storage food and to protect the sheeps – went to the ground by bulldozers. Besides that, in Al Juftiluk, the IOF destroyed around 2km of water pipes, supported by Palestinian Hydrology Group, which provided for 52 families (approximately 300 people).
Ali Tafek, a father of seven children in which two of them are at university, is one of the people who lost their property, built in 1990, and the water supply at the same time. While Ali has documents to prove that he has ownership of the land, he had gotten his first demolition order in 2011. Even though he contested this order in the court at the time, the army gave the family another demolition order last week and have torn down his shelter, made of cement and iron. It was being used as a warehouse for working material and other resources, leaving the family without their main income.
Rashed Salim Kharest is another father who had the same unfortunate fate. With nine children, this was not the first time they had their house demolished. Only in 2012 the army destroyed it three times. In 2015 they received yet another demolition order, which was carried out today, and this time the belongings lost were two shelters.
Another family affected was Salar Salame Kahbne's. Having four young children and three toddlers his current situation is difficult. The barrack that was demolished was not being used as much for the family to live in as for a shelter for the sheep. The house was built six years ago, while the demolition order was received in 2011. “Yesterday the army came here and took pictures of the house”, he reported.
Abed Alee Ebderat’s family house was also photographed by IOF. In 2011, they got an order to stop building on their own land. Then, on the 1st of January this year they received this demolition order. He intended to return to the court and appeal to the judge’s decision, but he didn’t know how to organize all the documents and he is sick, not receiving any help.
Adiba Rahelh was taken by surprise when she found her doughter’s house, who is travelling, demolished. The family lives in the land since before 1967 and already had it destroyed in 2000, but rebuilt it in 2010. Matresses, clothes and furnitures were lying in the ground among the cement and iron pieces. “We are Palestinians and we can’t build anything, while Russians, Europeans and other people come here and can do everything legal”, she complained. “God protect us from Israeli policies.”
In Fasayil, the army went to just one property, that belonged to Abu Ziyaad and his wife Raja and their three children. The IOF detroyed a bathroom, the sheep shelter and the tent where the family lived. They had the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection sign on it, but it didn’t stop the demolition to happen. “I was in Jericho and when I came home, Ibrahim, my son, was crying in the ground”, remembered Abu Ziyaad.
The last demolition suffered by Abu Ziyaad’s family took place in August 2015 and now they didn’t receive an order because they built structures in the same place of their old demolished home. “We were expelled from four different places and we have no other place to go”, said Raja. No one was arrested during the demolitions.
The coordinator of the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Rashed Khudiri calls for attention of the international community not to support the occupation and the Israeli demolition policies until the Palestinians conquer their freedom and rights. “This is the longest discriminatory occupation in the world. They are stealing the water with the destruction of the pipelines in order to displace the Palestinian population", he declared.