All in all about fourteen structures were demolished affecting nineteen people. At least fifteen people, including six children were displaced as a result of the demolitions. In addition 170 sheep and goats and pigeons were also left without basic shelter or provisions. According to OCHA the structures were demolished on grounds of lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The social and economic impact of this demolition was devastating.
Witnesses to the demolition report that Abu Sakra’s twenty year old daughter, who was three months pregnant, was was physically assaulted and injured by an Israeli soldier while she was trying to gather belongings prior to the demolition. She was taken to hospital by ambulance.
After the demolition is over…
EAs were the first on the scene after the demolition had taken place. We spoke with Rokaya, Abu Sakr’s wife, she talked about what it would be like when the children came home from school and saw their homes demolished and how she didn’t have anything to give them. Royaya was baking bread in the taboon oven when it was bulldozed.
Significantly, half of the demolished homes were originally provided through humanitarian assistance in response to previous demolitions. Beginning in 1997, this hamlet has been razed six times by the Israeli Civil Administration ). The stories of destruction and hardship abound. Al Hadidiya’s ninety residents live unconnected to water, electricity or sewage networks. Just one day before their homes were demolished, Israeli soldiers, acting without orders demolished part of the donor-funded community road.
On the 28th of November some relief NGO came to offer psychological support to the children and women. When we asked Abu Sakr about the communities needs for psycho-social support, his answer was:
“It’s useless, because even though some people come to today to talk to the kids, the soldiers come again tomorrow to take down the tents again and then the children suffer again.”
On the 27th of November Israeli forces confiscated ten tents provided by humanitarian agencies to families whose homes were demolished on the 26th November. Four of the tents had already been erected and were providing basic shelter to the displaced families. For the past three weeks since the demolition, the family has mainly been sleeping outside without any shelter.
The families report that they live in constant fear of harassment and demolitions by Israeli soldiers. The last tents that they put up on 2nd of December, were only left standing for one night, then the army came and demolished them again, without out any proof of a military order. The army also confiscated some plastic sheeting the family was using to stay out of the rain and ordered the family to dismantle the animal shelter they had rebuilt. On the 9th of December the residents again tried to put up a small tent to sleep in. Shortly after they began erecting it the soldiers arrived in a military jeep and one of soldiers told them: “Don’t build again. I will come to demolish it. It’s a waste of time for you and for me.” Abu Sakr and his sons were forced to dismantle their families only shelter for a cold December night.
The systematic policy of house demolitions carried out against Palestinian residents contravenes Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which forbids “any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons” except where such destruction is rendered “absolutely necessary by military operations”.
In the Jordan Valley thousands of Palestinians in the area are at risk of forced displacement due to a range of Israeli government policies and restrictions. Most of the land has been declared a “closed military zone” by the Israeli army or has been illegally annexed into Israeli settlements. To date, thirty seven illegal Israeli settlements have been built in the Jordan Valley.
Under international law, Israel, as an occupying power, has an obligation to protect the civilian population and to administer the territory for their benefit. This includes respecting their human rights and ensuring that their basic needs are met. The demolition of civilian Palestinian homes, as well as the transfer of Israeli settlers into the occupied territory, are strictly prohibited and must be brought to a halt. OCHA.
Please take action today to halt the systematic destruction of Palestinian homes in the Jordan Valley.
- Inform your elected representatives about what is happening in the Jordan Valley in particular Al Hadidiya’s dilemma.
- Share Al Hadidya’s story and update media agencies in your countries about the worsening situation in the Jordan Valley.
- Contact your country’s diplomatic representatives call on them to condemn these breeches of International Humanitarian Law and ask them to call for the immediate freeze on all demolition orders in the Jordan Valley.
Jordan Valley Solidarity: Demolitions in Al Hadidiya