Israeli army bulldozes entire Palestinian village in occupied West Bank

(Hazem Bader/AFP)

In an unusual operation targeting an entire community at once, Israel’s army has bulldozed homes of around 80 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

(MEE/Akram el-Waara)

According to B’Tselem, an Israeli anti-occupation NGO, eighteen tents that housed 11 families in the northern village of Khirbet Humsa (Humsa al-Baqia) were razed late on Tuesday.

(Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

The bulldozers and diggers also bulldozed sheds used as livestock enclosures, water containers, portable toilets, and solar panels, on top of confiscating tractors and vehicles belonging to some of the natives.

Palestinian Prime Minister, Mohammed Shtayyeh, called on the global community to intervene against the Israeli army’s attempt to “displace the citizens of Khirbet Humsa al-Foqa and tens of similar communities from their lands and homes.” He pointed to the fact that Israel “chose this evening to commit another crime” as the attention is focused on the US presidential election.

Abdelghani Awada, left on the streets by the operation, told the AFP news agency that the Israeli army gave people “10 minutes to evacuate our homes”.

“Then, they started demolishing,” he said.

(United Nations)

He said his family had resided in the specific area for generations and accused Israel of trying to “empty the Jordan Valley of Palestinians.”

(Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP)

According to B’Tselem, the late-night operation was unusual, given that so many homes were targeted simultaneously.

Sarit Michaeli, an international advocacy officer for the B’Tselem, expressed his dismay by tweeting, “The last time Israel bulldozed an entire herder community was seven years ago. The intention is to force natives off the land by creating a human-made humanitarian disaster.”

The Coordinator of Govt. Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the branch of Israel’s army responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, alleged that it bulldozed structures that were “built illegally in a firing zone (military training region) in the Jordan Valley.”

(Sarit Michaeli)

According to the UN, the Jordan Valley is home to approximately 60,000 Palestinians. However, 90% of the land is part of a region known as Area C, the three-fifths of the West Bank under absolute Israeli authority.

It includes covert military areas and around 50 agricultural settlements housing some 12,000 illegal Israeli settlers.

The Jordan Valley.

Palestinians are barred from those regions and from the lands they own. They are not allowed to dig wells or build any infrastructure without hard-to-get military permits.

Citing official statistics, Peace Now, an Israeli anti-settlement group, revealed less than 2% of more-than-3,300 permit applications in Area C were successful from 2009 to 2016.

Anything built without a permit is at risk of demolition by the Israeli military.

Around 800 Palestinians, including 404 minors, have already lost their homes in 2020.

(Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Bibi Netanyahu, said he intends to annex large swathes of occupied Palestinian territories, including the Jordan Valley.

The annexation plan was temporarily “suspended” as part of a ‘peace’ deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

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