Officials and observers said Wednesday that the Israeli army destroyed the homes of nearly 80 Palestinian Bedouins in the occupied West Bank, in a rare action affecting an whole neighbourhood at once.
According to an AFP photographer at the scene, who found hundreds of individuals left homeless, Israeli bulldozers devastated the village near Tubas in the Jordan Valley late Tuesday, including tents, sheds, portable toilets and solar panels.
The Israeli troops were accused by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh of “completely demolishing the village of Homsa al-Baqia, leaving about 80 people homeless.”
COGAT, the Israeli army division responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, said it had demolished buildings made illegally in the Jordan Valley firing zone (military training area).
The Jordan Valley falls into Region C of the West Bank, and is entirely controlled by the army of Israel, which has occupied the West Bank since 1967.
Under Israeli law, without permits, Palestinians are unable to build buildings in the city, which are usually denied, and demolitions are usual.
The Israelis who came in vehicles and with bulldozers gave people 10 minutes to leave our houses” according to Abdelghani Awada, left homeless by the action.
“They began bulldozing then,” he told AFP.
“He stressed that for generations his family had been living in the area and accused Israel of trying to” empty the Jordan Valley of its Palestinian population.
According to the Israeli anti-occupation non-government organisation B’Tselem, the late-night operation in Homsa al-Baqia was unprecedented considering that so many homes were attacked at the same time.
It is incredibly unusual to wipe out a whole society at once, and it seems like Israel exploited the fact that everybody’s focus is actually put elsewhere to press forward with this inhumane act,’ B’Tselem said in a statement sent to AFP, referring to the US presidential election.
B’Tselem claimed in a separate statement that “while the world is grappling with the coronavirus epidemic, Israel has committed time and money to bullying Palestinians rather than helping …” Residents who live under its influence.’
B’Tselem, which monitors demolition details, said that so far this year, 798 Palestinians have been left homeless in the West Bank by Israeli demolitions.
That is also the highest annual count since 2016, the year in which the company started to collect such data.
Published in Dharti News, November 5th, 2020