On 22 July 2017, three residents of Khirbet Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley were grazing their flocks on nearby pastureland when a dud - unexploded munitions - went off, killing ‘Udai Nawaj’ah, 16. At least two other Palestinians have been killed in the Jordan Valley in similar circumstances since 2014. The military trains close to Palestinian communities as part of a policy aimed at taking over the area, and does not make sure to remove unexploded ammunition. This illegal practice violates the residents’ rights and endangers their lives.
Israeli forces raid two Palestinian Jordan Valley communities in past two months, uprooting and confiscating trees and ruining fields on Palestinian-owned land. Over 75% of Jordan Valley lands have been taken over by Israel, with 150,000 hectares transferred to settlement regional councils. In recent years, Israel has increased efforts to expel local Palestinian communities. Palestinians now own a minute portion of Jordan Valley lands, yet Israel harasses them even there.
On 19 April 2017, in the Jabal al-Baba community, northeast of Jerusalem, the CA demolished a 45-sqm pre-fab donated by an aid agency that served as home to a family of seven, including two minors. Their previous home had been demolished on 26 Jan. 2017. Jabal al-Baba numbers some 350, about half of them minors and is in an area Israeli authorities designated for an expansion of the settlement of Maale Adumim so as to achieve a contiguous urban bloc from there to Jerusalem. The previous demolition there was on 26 Jan. 2017, when authorities demolished three families’ residential tents and two livestock pens.
On 5 April 2017 the CA evacuated nine families from Kh. a-Ras al-Ahmar, the northern Jordan Valley, from 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. Forty people, incl. about 15 minors, were forced to leave behind their sheep and property, to vacate their homes and spend the night out in the open. In 2016, families from the community were evacuated ten times on the same pretext. The repeated evacuations cause an intolerable disruption to daily life, are unjustified and unlawful. Israel must immediately stop the evacuations and all other measures it is taking to drive out residents of the Jordan Valley.
A selection of films produced by B’Tselem’s video department will be screened during the 2017 Solidarity Human Rights Film Festival at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. On 9 May, the festival will host an evening to mark a decade of work by B’Tselem’s camera distribution project: “The Best of the Worst” – a selection of videos that reflect various aspects of the occupation, which will be marking its 50th year this June. On 6 May, the festival will screen the video diaries of two Palestinian women from the Jordan Valley who documented their lives and the lives of their families.
This morning, Civil Administration forces arrived at the community of a-Ras al-Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley and handed evacuation orders to ten families, starting Wednesday 29 March 2017 at 5:00 P.M. until 5:00 A.M. the next morning. The orders mean 50 people, including 20 minors would have to spend the night away from their homes. Israel must immediately cease the temporary displacement of communities as well as all other measures it takes in a bid to force Palestinians living in the Jordan Valley out of the area.
Yesterday, Tuesday 14 March 2017, Civil Administration personnel came to the region of the Furush Beit Dajan community. The settlement of Hamra had been established near the community in the 1970s. The Civil Administration confiscated a trailer which served as home to a nine-person family, including two minors. In addition, they demolished a covered shelter owned by two of the community’s families which was being used as a fresh produce market stall, and also ruined the fruits and vegetables on sale there.
In Jan. and Feb. 2017 Israeli authorities demolished water supply infrastructure in two West Bank areas. In the southern West Bank: 8 cisterns used by farmers and shepherds. In the Jordan Valley: authorities twice demolished a pipe supplying water to three small farming and shepherding communities. Since occupying the West Bank 50 years ago, Israel has controlled most of its water resources and ignored the severe shortages suffered by local Palestinian communities. It promotes only infrastructure that serves settlers, and demolishes facilities developed by Palestinians in Area C, in order to force them out of the area.
Mon. Jan. 23. In Khirbet ‘Ein Karzaliyah, a three-family community 5 km southwest of al-Jiftlik, the Civil Administration destroyed tents used as living quarters by two families, leaving 13, including 6 minors, homeless. Forces also destroyed two livestock pens and razed part of the access road to the isolated community. The authorities destroyed homes in the community in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well.
Since Sept. some 220 Palestinians (incl. about 100 minors) have been forced to leave their homes in the Jordan Valley on multiple occasions to make way for military training. Families from Ibziq, Khirbet Humsah and Khirbet a-Ras al-Ahmar have had to spend hours on end, or even all night, far from home and exposed to the elements. The frequency of these displacements completely disrupts residents’ lives and jeopardizes the very existence of these communities. As an occupying power, Israel cannot use the land for routine military purposes, harm the livelihood of protected persons on this pretext, or attempt to expel the residents.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.