mega888 Action Alert: Stop Israeli home demolition and persecution of human rights defenders
Action Alert: Stop Israeli home demolition and persecution of human rights defenders
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Action Alert: Stop Israeli home demolition and persecution of human rights defenders

On November 25, 2021 the Israeli occupation authorities issued four demolition orders that have put ten structures in the Bedouin community of Al-Hadidya in the Northern Jordan Valley under imminent demolition. The ten threatened structures belong to Abdelraheem Bsharat (Abu Saqr) and his family. They comprise the family’s residential tents and the shacks of their livestock, their only source of income.

Abu Saqr, a father of 23 children, is a prominent leader of popular struggle and a human rights defender in the Jordan Valley in his seventies.

In 2016, Abu Saqr, through the support of Friends of the Earth International joined one of the negotiations on the binding treaty on business and human rights held by the UN Human Rights Council. Abu Saqr testified to the complicity of Israeli companies, mainly Mekorot, Israel’s National Water Company in Israeli apartheid practices and policies and called for holding the company accountable.

The imminent demolition of Abu Saqr’s property is part of Israeli coercive measures to ethnically cleanse him and his family from their land, an effective measure used by Israel for decades to obliterate the existence of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and other parts of Area ‘C’.

Abu Saqr explains that “if the demolition of my property takes place, it will be the eighth time the Israeli occupation authorities raze my home and the shacks of my cattle to the ground.” 

The constant harassment of Abu Saqr and his family is also part of Israeli efforts to persecute him for being a long-standing human rights defender.  In addition to repetitive home demolition as one method of persecution among others, Abu Saqr states that “every year, Israeli soldiers violently raid my home and arrest Sakher, one of my sons for no clear reasons. Abu Saqr adds that “they usually torture him and keep him in custody until I pay a 1000 (350$) ILS to release him.”

Abu Saqr has been even criminalized and punished over his efforts to defy Israeli water apartheid practices in which Mekorot takes a major part. In July 2020, the Israeli occupation authorities arrested, interrogated and tortured Abu Saqr, Sakher, his son, and Ashraf, his son-in-law following their attempt to access the water resources that Israel controls and denies them access to in the area.

Abu Saqr illustrates that the violence practiced against him as a human rights defender in particular and against him and his people as Palestinian residents in the Jordan Valley is part of Israel’s discriminatory legal system. He states:

“How can I trust a legal system and discriminatory laws that are set for the purpose of forcibly expelling us from our homes in favor of Israeli illegal settlers?  I filed a case against the demolition of my property in Israeli colonial courts in 1997. The fact that they keep rejecting my appeal and persecute me for resisting the Israeli occupation’s oppression in these courts is in itself a proof of how the Israeli legal system serves Israel’s settlement expansion scheme at the expense of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.”

Abu Saqr and his family have been living in Al-Hadidya for decades now. Al Hadidya is inhabited by around two hundred people. Like in other Bedouin and rural communities in the Jordan Valley, the number of families in Al-Hadidya has decreased due to ongoing measures of persecution, repression and expulsion the Israeli apartheid system subjects Palestinians to. People of Al Hadidya communities are a constant target of home demolitions, confiscation of land and water resources.

Since 2009, the Israeli occupation demolished Al-Hadidya 19 times. 199 homes and structures were razed to the ground in the 19 raids of demolition.

The imminent demolition of Abu Saqr’s property is part of a series of previous incidents of demolition and ethnic cleansing that took place in the Jordan Valley. A few weeks after the occupation of the Jordan Valley in 1967, Israel destroyed 32 Palestinian villages and Bedouin communities. The existing settlements in the area stand on the ruins of what were once Palestinian communities.

Al-Hadidya was one of the demolished 32 communities in 1967, where 300 families were displaced. Only 54 families remained in the Jordan Valley enduring decades of Israeli oppression, apartheid and systemic violence by both the Israeli army and illegal settlers.

The Israeli occupation has systematically seized large swathes of the land that belongs to Palestinians of Al-Hadidya by building settlements and preventing them from accessing their grazing land forcing them to live on a tiny bit of their ancestral land. The Israeli occupation has made Al-Hadidya a small ghetto as it is surrounded by the illegal settlement of Ro’i in the West, the militarized settlement of Humaidat in the East, the military bases of Samra and Mazuqa from the North and closed military areas in the South.

Israel escalated its ethnic cleansing campaign of the Jordan Valley after Donald Trump announced the so-called Deal of the Century in 2020. In July of the same year, Israel proclaimed that it will de jure annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the West Bank. Although de jure annexation was delayed, the long-standing de facto annexation policies and practices have continued.

As part of Israel’s intensified ethnic cleansing practices, Palestinian residents of Khirbet Humsa Al-Faqa, the neighboring community to Al-Hadidya were forcibly expelled from their village after a ruthless Israeli raid in July, 2021. Humsa residents had to leave their land after a series of Israeli demolition raids, confiscation of water tanks, their only source of water and violently assaulting them in the months preceding their expulsion.

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We sound the alarm about the demolition of Abu Saqr’s property, which may be the start to bulldoze the entire community of Al-Hadidya, as well as Israeli ongoing onslaught on Palestinian human rights defenders like Abu Saqr.

Support the steadfastness of Abu Saqr, his family and Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley at large while struggling against the obliteration of Palestinian existence and against imposing a Jewish supremacy on their land:

Call on your foreign ministry and your consulate in Palestine to pressure the Israeli government to:

  • Immediately refrain from the imminent demolition of Abu Saqr’s property.
  • Stop the policy of demolition in Area ‘C’ as a measure of forcible displacement and de facto annexation.
  • Effectively protect Palestinian human rights defenders as mandated by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other regional instruments.
  • Recognize that the repression Abu Saqr and others face is one of the defining policies of the crime of Apartheid as defined by the relevant UN Convention under Article II (f): “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.”

Please see below a sample letter to be sent to your government, parliamentary representatives and/or consulates.

Thank you for your solidarity!

Stop the Wall Campaign  

Sample letter:

To:

Subject: Stop Israeli home demolition and persecution of human rights defenders

Dear Sir/Madam,

We write to you to express our concern about Israeli forcible ethnic displacement practices and retaliatory assault on Palestinian human rights defender Ablerrahmeem Bsharat (Abu Saqr) from the Bedouin community of Al-Hadidya in the Jordan Valley.

On November 25, Abu Saqr received four demolition orders that target his entire property from the Israeli occupation authorities under the pretext that they are built without a permit, which the occupation authorities never issue to Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, especially to Bedouin communities.

In 2016, Abu Saqr, through the support of Friends of the Earth International joined one of the negotiations on the binding treaty on business and human rights held by the UN Human Rights Council. Abu Saqr testified to the complicity of Israeli companies, mainly Mekorot, Israel’s National Water Company in Israeli apartheid practices and policies and called for holding the company accountable.

The imminent demolition of Abu Saqr’s property is part of Israeli coercive measures to ethnically cleanse him and his family from their land, an effective measure used by Israel for decades to obliterate the existence of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Jordan Valley and other parts of Area ‘C’.

The constant harassment of Abu Saqr and his family is also part of Israeli efforts to persecute him for being a long-standing human rights defender.  In addition to repetitive home demolition as one method of persecution among others, Abu Saqr states that “every year, Israeli soldiers violently raid my home and arrest Sakher, one of my sons for no clear reasons. Abu Saqr adds that “they usually torture him and keep him in custody until I pay a 1000 (350$) ILS to release him.”

Abu Saqr has been even criminalized and punished over his efforts to defy Israeli water apartheid practices in which Mekorot takes a major part.  In July 2020, the Israeli occupation authorities arrested, interrogated and tortured Abu Saqr, Sakher, his son, and Ashraf, his son-in-law following their attempt to access the water resources that Israel controls and denies them access to in the area.

Palestinians sound the alarm about the demolition of Abu Saqr’s property, which may be the start to bulldoze the entire community of Al-Hadidya, as well as Israeli ongoing onslaught on Palestinian human rights defenders like Abu Saqr.

We urge you to stop Israeli displacement of Palestinians and harassment of human rights defenders by pressuring the Israeli government to:

  • Use all diplomatic channels to demand Israeli authorities immediately refrain from demolishing the ten structures that recently received four demolition orders in Al-Hadidya.
  • Visit Al-Hadidya, where the imminent demolition will take place, to emphasize your rejection to Israel’s imminent demolition of Abu Saqr’s property and harassment of him as a human rights defender.
  • Effectively protect Palestinian human rights defenders as mandated by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other regional instruments.
  • Issue a public statement that denounces the Israeli policy of demolition practiced against Palestinians in the Jordan Valley Area ‘C’ at large in the process of de facto annexation and under continued threat of de jure annexation.
  • Recognize that the repression Abu Saqr and others face is one of the defining policies of the crime of Apartheid as defined by the relevant UN Convention under Article II (f): “persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.”

Looking forward to your urgent response

Sincerely,

en_USEnglish
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