Yesterday, tens of armed Israeli soldiers raided the Bedouin community of Humsa, Northern Jordan Valley. This raid has been part of a series of violent raids committed since the beginning of 2021 and even before. In previous raids the entire community was razed to the ground four times in three months. The Israeli occupation seeks to ethnically cleanse the people of Humsa from their homes to de jure annex the Jordan Valley.
Heavily armed Israeli soldiers accompanied by the Israeli Civil administration officers raided the community of Humsa yesterday. They took pictures of the area; a measure Palestinians usually witness before their homes are demolished; but what has been left from the village of Humsa after it was bulldozed three times in one week?
Commenting on the demolition of his property and yesterday’s raid, Abu Anas, a shepherd from Humsa said:
We only have a few tents provided to us by the International Red Cross; as part of the humanitarian aids to us after the Israeli occupation destroyed and confiscated our property. We also have some water tanks we depend on for drinking. I think in the next attack they will destroy these tents and confiscate the water tanks; leaving us between the sky and ground thirsting for water.
The Israeli General who was among the occupation troops that stormed the area yesterday asked my daughters, “what are you still doing here; leave immediately to Ein Shebleh.”
They want us to leave to Ein Shebleh, an area inhabited and owned by other Palestinians and targeted for settlement expansion. Palestinians who live in Ein Shebleh are regularly attacked by an illegal settler. I know that if we obey their orders and go to Ein Shebleh, they will expel us from it, too. Their only aim is to take over the lands of Humsa and Ein Shebleh and make us end up in nowhere. Yet, we will stay steadfast on our land.
Our land, our life… They deny us both
On February 1st, 2021, tens of armed Israeli soldiers escorting four JCB bulldozers stormed Humsa and reduced the entire village to rubble in one day. While Palestinians were trying to rebuild their demolished community, Israeli army raided the area, violently abused them and confiscated the building materials. Then, they demolished the tents provided to the residents of Humsa from the International Red Cross.
Like other Bedouin communities, land is central to the life of the people of Humsa. Large swathes of the Jordan Valley are pastoral lands. This makes it the main source of income for the residents of Humsa, a community characterized by its traditional Bedouin lifestyle as the only source of income. Moreover, the land allows the residents of Humsa to own the means of production and make them independent from the Israeli economy imposed on most of the Palestinian people.
Um Bilal, a mother of ten children asserted that “expelling us from our ancestral land strips us of the source of life. They want to take over our land by force and leave us homeless with nothing.”
We want rights not tents!
On February 4th, EU diplomats and representatives from the UN visited the community of Humsa. They condemned the Israeli violations of International Law embodied in the demolition of Humsa and left.
Abu Saqr, a human rights defender and a community leader from the Bedouin community of al-Hadidya, Northern Jordan Valley addressed the EU representatives stating:
The Palestinian people does not really need a tent or a water tank. We need political support and more pressure on Israel. Is it believable that the entire European community is unable to stop Israeli crimes? You provide us with tents; and, simultaneously, you offer Israel all the material support they need to continue on committing more crimes against us!