Palestinians face repeated house demolitions in the Jordan Valley; al-Araqib

A girl collects her family’s belongings during a demolition in Jiftlik.

Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Flickr
Last week, Israeli bulldozers razed homes and livestock pens in a wave of demolitions in the occupied Jordan Valley in the West Bank. And on 6 March, the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Naqab was destroyed for the 33rd time since July 2010. Because of the rampant demolitions, the residents of al-Araqib have now been forced to live in the village’s cemetery.

Demolitions in the Jordan Valley

According to reports by the Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Israeli forces invaded the village of Fasayil al-Wusta on 13 March, declaring the village a “closed military zone” and giving the residents 15 minutes to remove their belongings before their homes were demolished.

JVSC’s report adds:

Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Flickr

At 8.30am on 13th March 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) demolished 3 homes and 5 animal shelters in Fasayil al-Wusta. 9 military and police jeeps, 1 bulldozer and 2 civil administration jeeps arrived and surrounded the family declaring their homes a closed military zone.

… The homes belonged to Abed Yasim Rashaydeh Abu Nahar and his brothers Hassan Yasim Rashaydeh and Hador Mohammed. In total 30 family members live in the tents including 21 children.

[The] Israeli Civil Administration has ordered the whole community to evacuate the area or they will demolish every structure. Abu Nahar said, “…the young children especially, are always afraid the soldiers will come and attack our homes.”

It is the 3rd time IOF has demolished their homes in less than 1 year. In June 2011, IOF demolished 18 homes and 3 animal shelters in Fasayil al-Wusta making 103 people homeless including 63 children. Many left making it even harder for the people who stayed. On 20th December 2011, ”IOF demolished all Rashaydeh family homes and their animal shelters.

Living conditions are extremely difficult in this part of the village. Repeated home demolitions by IOF have made their situation even worse. At the moment they will rebuild their homes and animal shelters with the little resources available to them but continue to live in fear of the next demolition. The community has received some emergency humanitarian aid but this doesn’t address the needs of the community.

The next day, 14 March, Israeli bulldozers raided the village of Jiftlik and demolished several homes. JVSC reports that 22 persons were made homeless.

The report adds:

Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Flickr

One bulldozer and 12 Israeli jeeps arrived and surrounded the families declaring the areas closed military zones.

The first house, a three room structure, was located in Abu al-Ajaj (al-Jiftlik) and belonged to Ayman Meteb Mahoud Ideas. He, his wife and his 5 children were given just 30 minutes to remove their belongings from the house but, as the owner of the house explained, “we didn’t have time to take all your properties, we left inside our kitchen and all the kitchenware and now they lie under the ruins of my house.” Three months ago the family received a demolition order.

The second house was located in al-Jiftlik, near the main road and belonged to Yousef Bsharat. The army demolished his house without leaving his family the time to take their belongings. 7 people were displaced. Some months ago the family received an order to stop the construction of the building and, as the owner of the house said, “we didn’t continue to build, but today the army came and destroyed everything I had.”

Jordan Valley Solidarity Campaign Flickr

The third building, located in Makhroq (al-Jiftlik), belonged to Sulaiman Tawfiq Daraghmeh and it was a 3 room summer metal house and while the demolition occurred the owner wasn’t there.

Several days earlier, on 8 March, Israeli forces destroyed farmland in the Jordan Valley village of Al Farisiya. JVSC stated:

As women around the world celebrated International Women’s Day, the women of this community had their livelihoods destroyed. This was not an isolated incident - during the last week Israeli soldiers have been training extensively with tanks and armored vehicles in the northern Jordan Valley.

JVSC has uploaded more photographs of the recent demolitions to their account on Flickr

Chronic demolitions continue in al-Araqib (Naqab)

Meanwhile, at noon on 6 March in the “unrecognized village” of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev), residential structures were destroyed for the 33rd time since July 2010 by Israeli bulldozers. The Jewish National Fund (JNF) has been a key player in organizing the demolitions and “clearing land” to make way for a forest on al-Araqib’s land.

An Israeli bulldozer razing al-Araqib lands on 6 February, 2012.

Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality
The Electronic Intifada spoke with Michal Rotem, coordinator and spokeswoman of the Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality (DuKium), who said that because of the rampant demolitions in the last 20 months, al-Araqib’s residents have now been forced to move into the village’s cemetery.

Rotem added: “The residents had a few shacks outside [the parameters of the cemetery], including the hospitality tent, where people go to drink tea and welcome visitors – these were all demolished. The [Israeli forces] got into the area and within a few minutes they were finished. During the first few demolitions, [the structures] were all cement, but now when we’re talking about a couple of shacks, it only takes a few minutes to finish.”

Following the demolition, DuKium tweeted:

Last month, DuKium photographed a bulldozer razing soil on al-Araqib land. The bulldozer was emblazoned with a JNF logo (pictured below).

An Israeli bulldozer in al-Araqib, 6 February 2012. Note the JNF logo. 

Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality

Close-up of the JNF logo on the Caterpillar bulldozer.

Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality


Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).