Ethnic cleansing goes on in the Jordan Valley
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Ethnic cleansing goes on in the Jordan Valley

On Sunday morning at 7:00 o’clock 4 bulldozers and dozens of Israeli soldiers demolished 34 tents, animal shelters, solar panels, and ovens in Ras al-Ahmar community, in the north of the Jordan Valley. Since the year 2000, this is the 4th time Israel destroys the properties of this community as part of its ethnic cleansing policies. 50 people in the area have become homeless this Sunday. Demolitions are a strategic tool of the ongoing displacement and mass forcible transfer of Palestinians from the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank and within the Israeli borders. Despite the fact that the whole world knows and condemns and even UN Secretary-General expressed his concerns to the Security council earlier this year, no action has been taken by the international community to stop these Israeli policies.

Mohamad Fahad Bani Odeh 62 years old reports that on Sunday, October 9 at 7:00 o’clock in the morning he and his family were suddenly woken up by the arrival of 4 bulldozers and a dozen Israeli soldiers. Without giving the family the time to collect their belongings, they started carrying out a demolition order issued by the Israeli occupation forces. Everything, including matrasses and the food stored for the children has been destroyed. "They destroyed not only our tents and shelters, but the oven for the "Taboon" (the traditional Palestinian bread), the water tank and the solar panel to store energy. They crushed everything and made it a hell of rubble" said Bani Odeh. Abu Bani Odeh has 12 children and this is the 4th time Israel issued and carries out a demolition order of his property since 2000.

The first demolition took place when Abu Bani Odeh and his family still lived in Al Hadidiya. After that, a second demolition took place, which forced him to leave and move to Ras Al Ahmar, near Atoof, with his family and sheep. Determined to make life impossible for Abu Bani Odeh and his family, the Israeli military followed him to Ras Al Ahmar and destroyed their properties once again. "They are not leaving me alone, but I am not going to spend my entire life chased by these criminals. I am not going anywhere. In the worst case, I am going back to Al Hadidiya.’ Like Abu Bani Odeh’s family other eight families were targeted by the Israeli bulldozers that destroyed their tents and their animals’ shelters, leaving over 50 people homeless.​

The area of Al Hadidiya and Ras Al Ahmar has long been targeted by the Israeli State. The area, in the north of the Jordan Valley, is classified as Area C and settlements are being built, expended and made to prosper by Israel in order to steal lands and water from the local Palestinian communities. Palestinian communities, instead, are being targeted endlessly by house demolitions. Israel prevents communities to build on their own lands requiring them to obtain a permit from the occupation authorities first. Statistics for the whole West Bank testify of all the permit requests, 1.5% have been accepted since 1988[1]. Since communities need to build to be able to live, most of the time they face demolitions’[2] . As we reported earlier this year, the same area was targeted in the summer by being prevented access to water during Ramadan.

On 18th of April 2016, the UN Security General expressed concerns on the situation in Palestine in front of the Security Council. "The creation of new facts on the ground through demolitions and settlement building raises questions about whether Israel’s ultimate goal is, in fact, to drive Palestinians out of certain parts of the West Bank, thereby undermining any prospect of transition to a viable Palestinian state".[3]  UN OCHA in its last report expressed concerns about Israeli policies, which create "a coercive environment that undermines a Palestinian physical presence and exacerbates the risk of individual and mass forcible transfers"[4].

Facts on the ground reinforce the argument that Israeli policies are aimed at forcibly transfering masses of Palestinians in order to alter the demographic composition of the territory. Expulsion takes place both through direct practices, but also by rendering life unsustainable for the communities: house demolitions, building restrictions and evacuation for military training exercises are one aspect of Israel systematically undermining Palestinian presence on the territory. When demolitions are combined with forced evictions, settler violence, revocation of residency rights, restrictions on access to land, water, services and basic infrastructures, relocation plans, the outcome is that the permanence  of Palestinian communities on their own land becomes unfeasible[5]. These are policies intended to make life unbearable and lead people to eventually leave. Israel exhausts communities by creating an inhospitable environment. The unliveable environment thus created[6], eventually leads to forcible transfer. 

The International Community has still to take any direct action to stop these major violations of International Law.

[1] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, Fragmented lives: Humanitarian Overview 2015

[2] Cfr. Above, under the settler colonialism section

[3] United Nations Secretary General, Accelerated Settlement Activity Casts Doubt on Israel’s Commitment to Two-State Solution, Secretary-General Tells Security Council, 18th April 2016, [20th Jun 2016]. Available at:

[4] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs occupied Palestinian territory, Fragmented lives: Humanitarian Overview 2015, 13th Jun 2016, [20th Jun 2016]. Available at:

[5] Ibidem  

[6] Ibidem