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 has intensified military training in the Jordan Valley since Nov. 2017, reducing available pastureland, destroying crops and hurting the livelihoods of local Palestinians. This is part of an effort to drive Palestinians out of area using a callous policy that also includes denied access to development and infrastructure and house demolitions. If residents do leave because of this policy, Israel will have committed a war crime and those responsible, including the minister of defense and the prime minister, would be personally liable.
On Monday morning, 5 Feb. 2018, Civil Administration personnel and a Border Police force dismantled and confiscated a water pipeline that had served to irrigate the watermelon patch in Khirbet a-Sakut in the northern Jordan Valley. At around 4:00 P.M. that day, the troops went to the community of Khirbet Um al-Jamal and confiscated four tents that served as the homes of nine people, including six minors. The confiscated tents were funded by a humanitarian aid organization after the Civil Administration demolished tents in the community in 2014.
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.