ISRAELI bulldozers yesterday demolished Palestinian homes in Khirbet Humsa al-Fawqa village, southeast of Tubas city.
Mu’taz Besharat, who monitors Israeli colonial settlement activities in Tubas, said that Israeli soldiers escorted bulldozers and trucks into the northern Jordan Valley village, where the heavy machinery tore down structures before the structure contents and components were seized.
Israeli occupation forces also forced the Palestinian residents of the community to get into trucks to be transferred to another area, where the army took the residents’ furniture and goods in what was clearly a forced eviction and ethnic cleansing of the community.
Under international law, driving residents of an occupied territory from their homes is considered forcible transfer of protected persons, which constitutes a war crime. But residents of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley are no strangers to such disruptive Israeli policies.
The valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.
Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.
The Israel military has also designated about 46 per cent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilising the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.
Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.
In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only displaces the communities on a regular basis but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.
Besides undergoing displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad of restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.
Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any future peace deal with the Palestinians, a notion totally rejected by the Palestinians.