Israel uses UK-made JCB digger to demolish Palestinian home in south Hebron hills

A British-manufactured JCB digger was used to demolish a Palestinian home in Lasefer in the south Hebron hills this week. This video footage shows that the demolition was executed under heavy protection by armed Israeli forces.

The Palestinian families can do little but watch the demolition of the home, including very young children. In the background one can hear the sound of women crying at the loss.

The video is dated 16 October and was uploaded to YouTube yesterday. The filmmaker sent me the link today.

Israel’s use of JCB equipment to demolish Palestinian property has been documented on several occasions leading to protest actions by UK anti-poverty charity War on Want.

Palestinians in Lasefer under attack

The villagers of the Palestinian community of Lasefer have been subjected to such violent attacks and destruction before.

In 2006, the Applied Research Institute Jerusalem quoted a report by WAFA, the Palestinian News and Information Agency, that “Israeli settlers of La Sefer east of Yatta town south of Hebron city destroyed the tents and barracks owned by Ibrahim Abu Qbeita, causing severe damages to the properties.”

One year later, David Schulman wrote about Lasefer in Occupation Magazine,

The other group, which I join, heads for the Abu Kbeita fields on the slopes under a small khirbeh called Lasefer. This is another long and tortuous story. We are close to the Green Line—and, indeed, the main checkpoint on the road, recently privatized, is several kilometers north of the border, as if Palestinian lands lying to the south had already been annexed to Israel.

[The Abu Kbeita’s] have to deal with a settler, Danny, who claims that the Abu Kbeita fields, leased from the original owner, Hawamdi, in Samu`a, belong to him. He is wrong: the case went to the Supreme Court, which decided in 1991 in favor of the Palestinians. None of this has stopped the settlers, including those from Beit Yatir just across the main road, from trying to drive Mahmud Abu Kbeita and his three brothers off the land. These settlers, like so many others in south Hebron, are often violent; they have stoned the Abu Kbeitas when they felt like it, broken the arm of Osama, one of Mahmud`s sons, and even penetrated into the family house in al-Aseifar where, according to some testimonies, they drove a large knife or other weapon right through the wall.

Demolition of a Palestinian home in Lasefer, south Hebron Hills on 16 October (still from video)

In February, British anti-poverty charity War on Want condemned the use of JCB equipment after Israel used its machinery to destroy the only children’s playground in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem.

Greg Muttitt, campaigns and policy director at War on Want, said: “It is unacceptable that a British company like JCB should profit from human rights violations. Unless the firm takes immediate action to scrutinize Israel’s use of its equipment, JCB will appear complicit in the attacks on children and communities.”

Meanwhile, Israel continues to use JCB equipment to destroy Palestinian property built on Israeli-occupied Palestinian land.




Are you serious?
For one thing, this story (such as it is) is months old having first reared its head back in February. More importantly, however, the story has no substance whatsoever and is merely being used to illicit wider media coverage through its mention of a well-known name like JCB.
The fact that this machine is being used in this way DOES NOT mean that JCB are complicit in war crimes; nor does it mean that the company supports either side in this conflict.
All it DOES mean is that, at some time in the past, JCB sold a machine - which is widely used in peace time - that has now been used in this way.
To suggest that JCB is guilty of anything other than effective sales is misrepresentative and does you no justice.

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Contrary to what you state, the demolition took place on 16 October 2012. In a press release of 17 October 2012, Operation Dove writes,

“On Tuesday 16th, at 10 am a buldozer together with 3 Border Police cars and 2 DCO cars arrived in the Palestinian village of A Seefer, which has different structures under demolition order.

The Army demolished: a bathroom, a roof with sheep under it, a fence for sheep and a structure. During the demolitions a sheep was killed under the rubble and, according to Palestinian witnesses, a Border Police member kicked another one untill it was limping.

In the village of A Seefer live 7 families, all belonging to the same family, for a total of about 60 habitants. The village has been surrounded by the settlement of Metzadot Yehuda from 1983.”

Pictures of the incident:





Adri Nieuwhof

Adri Nieuwhof's picture

Adri Nieuwhof is a human rights advocate based in the Netherlands and former anti-apartheid activist at the Holland Committee on Southern Africa. Twitter: @steketeh