On the 25th of June, 4 Bedouin houses among 9 buildings were demolished by the Israeli forces in Al Maleh near Tubas. Itay Epshtain, the Co-Director of ICAHD, has reported a sharp increase of house demolitions in the Jordan Valley which testifies to the systematic police of policy of removing the local Arab communities from the area.
The struggle for housing within local communities in the North of the Jordan Valley has intensified during the last several weeks. Several villages around Tubas have been the target of demolition orders. House demolitions on Monday embody the determination of the Israeli Army to implement their policy. The 4 families that are now homeless, said they had already been concerned about the house demolition since the 6th of June in Al Maleh as the Jordan Valley Solidarity reported. As of consequence, the Israeli Army destroyed these homes without giving its inhabitants an ultimatum to leave and to gather their belongings, considering that no other demolition order had been issued. The most recent demolition order, given on Sunday, targeted a house in the village of Al-Aqaba. The Israeli Army gave the order as a reminder to the Bedouins and other local communities of the North of the Jordan Valley that they are still under the threat of house demolition.
The pressure on local communities in the Jordan Valley goes beyond simple demolition orders. Physical and verbal harassment carried out by the Israeli Army and settlers continues to be a daily reality for the residents of the Jordan Valley. The Jordan Valley Solidarity has recorded numerous cases of ongoing harassment from settlers. In one case, a settler attempted to to steal a donkey from a Bedouin community near Maskiyyot. The army is also increasing the pressure on the living conditions of this area. Since the beginning of June, the Israeli Army has confiscated water resources and has also conducted military training inside villages. On the 21st of June, a water tank was confiscated from the village of Al-Maleh and on Monday, in the village of Ein Shibli, the Israeli Army conducted military training-its third time in the month of June.
These actions are targeting local communities living on a strategic land for the Israeli Army. The Jordan Valley is indeed a buffer zone between the West Bank and Jordan under almost entire Israeli military control. The settler communities in the area are growing and expanding at an exponential rate, while the local communities are dwindling and have difficulties in defending their rights to the land, considering the expansion is justified on the basis that the region is classified as area C or that it has been established as closed military area.
Moreover, the Bedouin nomadic way of life does not fit well into the land-ownership system. As settlements expand and take control of the land and water resources, local communities, like Al-Aqaba, are forced to relocate. Surrounded by Israeli military checkpoints and training grounds, access to basic necessities and the freedom of movement in this village is severely restricted.
On the 21st of June, the Israeli army came under harsh criticism after they arrested 3 international activists from the International Solidarity Movement. The activists attempted to intervene as Israeli Army soldiers confiscated the water tank in the village of Al Maleh. The Jordan Valley Solidarity organization said all 3 activists were released later that day.
The pressure on communities in the Jordan Valley continues, as demolition orders for 5 buildings in the village of Al-Aqaba are still pending.