Military inspector to residents in Al Hadidiya: “The bulldozers are coming!”
by the ISM Media Crew, 6 May 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This afternoon, Sunday May 6, Palestinians in Al Hadidiya received three threats. First, an officer from the nearby settlement of Ro’i entered the village. According to Fathy, a resident of the area, the settler threatened the Palestinians and said they must leave. Shortly after this, the army arrived. “Why have you not left yet? It is time for you to go,” one officer said, according to Fathy. “These are our homes. We are not going anywhere,” the Palestinians replied. Then, at around 7pm, the military housing inspector entered the village. Fathy said that after the visit it was clear that the bulldozers would come in the next day or two.
“We need internationals to come with their cameras to document this!” Fathy exclaimed.
At least four international solidarity activists have heeded the call and will be present to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Al Hadidiya to resist and document the home demolitions.
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. Palestinians, Israelis, and international solidarity activists were maintaining a presence in the area to resist the demolitions.
When internationals arrived in Al Hadidya two weeks ago, 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 their 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 marginalizing 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.
Video of Al Hadidiya and her residents
For more info, please contact:
Angelika (IWPS), 0545-843-952, 0598-105-795
ISM Media Office, 0599-943-157, 0542-103-657