All of those given demolition orders are Bedouins and their homes are mainly tent structures housing large extended families. The village of Al-Hadidiya received 15 orders, leaving only one family unaffected, whilst the village of Khirbet Ar Ras al Ahmar received 17 orders.
On the 3rd June, the Israeli Occupation Forces occupied both villages and demolished 18 homes in Khirbet Ar Ras al Ahmar. The occupation forces also stole a tractor, water tanks and carts. Military exercises in the region by the IOF have left some of the communities livestock injured.
Whilst the occupation forces attempt to destroy whole communities there are those that are resisting with their humanity. The Palestinian organisation Ma’an are working personally with the families effected by the demolitions and are currently providing them with water and food and will soon supply the homeless families with tents to temporarily house them. This work is being funded by Save the Children UK.
The only justification given by the Israelis for their actions is that the family’s homes fall within a ‘closed military zone’; areas of land seized and closed off from Palestinians at the whim of the military. Declaring an area of land a ‘closed military zone’ is a common tactic of the occupation forces for stealing land for the expansion of settlements.
These house demolitions reflect the ongoing Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing in the Jordan Valley that began with the valley’s occupation in 1967. In 2006, the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared the Israeli government’s intention to annex the valley under any future agreements on an independent Palestinian state. The Jordan valley forms 28% of the West Bank and is the most fertile farmland in the region. The vast majority of this farmland has been stolen by the illegal settlements that dominate the valley.
These demolitions are being done to ensure the expansion of the agricultural settlements. These settlements survive by exporting their produce to the Western markets as ‘organic’ or ‘Israeli’ by companies like Carmel Agrexco and Ahava. The ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley will continue unless these settlements and their companies are stopped.