Before the demolitions
by the ISM Media Crew 1 May 2007
The residents of Al Hadidya have been awaiting army action since April 21st when a court ruling came into effect ordering them to leave and for the demolition of their homes. Al Hadidya is a collection of Bedouin Camps in an isolated area of countryside, deemed a military area by Israeli occupying forces, close to the illegal Israeli colony of Ro’i. International activists have maintained a constant presence in the area since Saturday and are planning to resist the demolitions.
When internationals arrived in Al Hadidya many of the villagers were in the process of moving their tents to an area three kilometres away. The new camp is situated next to a fenced off settler water pumping station but Palestinians are forced to travel to Ein al Shibli by tractor to fetch water. The new camp is a further 3km away across rough terrain from this water supply, meaning an addional hours journey by tractor a day for some families.
Those families who have been forced to move are afraid that the army will issue them with another demolition order. Residents say that there is now nowhere else to go and that they will be forced out of the area if this happens.
Several families have chosen to stay in the ir homes despite the danger of demolition. One local farmer has said that he will not move and that even if they demolish his home he will rebuild again on the same spot.
Most farmers in the area have had their homes demolished two or three times since in the last five years.
One resident, describing the previous time the Israeli military had come to demolish his house said ‘they came with ten vehicles, fifty soldiers and bulldozers to demolish my tent. During the demolition several of my sheep were run over by military vehicles, when my wife tried to protect them she was assaulted’
Despite the threat of violence villagers will not give up their land, where many have lived since before 1967, and will stay to resist the demolitions and to rebuild again.
The Israeli policy of house demolitions in the Jordan Valley is intended to ethnically cleanse the region by marginalising Palestinian access to land and pushing Palestinians out of areas where they can retain Jordan Valley IDs. The number of Jordan Valley permits, only given to permanent residents of the area, has significantly decreased since the Intifada while settler domination of the area has increased. 97% of the valley is either militarised, closed to civilians, or controlled by the settlements.