As part of Israel’s efforts to take over more land in the West Bank, authorities yesterday destroyed the homes of 44 Palestinians (22 of them minors) and cut off entire communities from the water supply. Some of the homes demolished yesterday were still under construction and not yet occupied. These demolitions are the extreme manifestation of Israel’s policy designed to empty entire areas of the West Bank of their Palestinian residents. Other methods routinely used by Israel are conducting military training in residential and farming areas, denying Palestinians access to land, prohibiting construction, preventing connection to basic infrastructure and confiscating property. With a month left before the end of the year, Israel has demolished the homes of more than 900 Palestinians in 2020 (the figure includes the West Bank and East Jerusalem), compared with 677 in all of 2019.
At a hearing in the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights this afternoon, B’Tselem’s Executive Director, Hagai El-Ad, spoke about the urgent need for determined European action, which would clarify to Israel that violating the rights of Palestinians will carry consequences: Consequences for human rights violations can be introduced through European foreign policy, by effectively using Europe’s considerable leverage. Clearly, the decision to not do so is a political choice. It undermines Europe’s commitment to human rights and weakens the rules-based international order. It normalizes oppression and dehumanizes Palestinians, because – apparently – no one has to be held accountable for their permanent subjugation.
In recent months, shepherds from the Palestinian communities of al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley have reported an upsurge in the frequency and severity of attacks by settlers and soldiers when they go out to graze their flocks. These incidents are part of the policy Israel has been implementing in the Jordan Valley. Its goal is to take over land by various measures, including by making life unbearable for Palestinians. It includes coordinated attacks by soldiers and settlers and a comprehensive ban on the development of Palestinian communities.
Yesterday, 4 June 2018, around midday, Israeli Civil Administration officials arrived at the community of Khirbet Humsah in the northern Jordan Valley and handed temporary evacuation orders to five Palestinians families who were already displaced from their homes three times in the last two months. The families were ordered to vacate their homes today, 5 June, from 6 o’clock in the morning until noon, allegedly for the purpose of military training nearby. This morning, Civil Administration officials and a military detail came to the community and accompanied the families, who evacuated on their own – some by car and others on foot. All 29 family members – 19 of whom are minors, including an infant and a child with Down syndrome – had to again go with some of their livestock to a secluded area about ten kilometers from home and wait there, maintaining the Ramadan fast with no shelter, until receiving permission to return home.
Since 5 March 2018, Israeli troops including infantry, tanks and other armored vehicles have been training at all hours in the area of Khirbet al-Malih and the village of al-Farisiyah in the northern Jordan Valley. Today, 13 March, forces including at least 20 tanks and dozens of military vehicles have been training throughout the northern Jordan Valley, including just one km from al-Farisiyah. The incessant military training in the Jordan Valley is part of a longstanding policy to drive Palestinian communities to leave, as though freely will.
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.