31 March 2011 | Jordan Valley SolidarityYaser and his family (including 8 children) have been living during the spring time in Kherbet Samra, Jordan Valley, since 2006. At 8.30 pm yesterday evening the Israeli army came to his home claiming to be looking for terrorists from Nablus who they said they knew were staying with him. Despite his insistence that only his family were there, they made everyone leave the tents and requested to see the ID papers of all of the family, including his terrified young children.
On the request of the army the family produced their IDs. All the IDs showed that they were related and none of the IDs produced were Nablus IDs. The army refused to say why they believed that people from Nablus were staying with the family. For some time the family were made to stand while the army decided what to do.
The army then claimed that they believed that the family were hiding guns in their tents. They made their way straight to where the children slept and ransacked their tent emptying all the clothes onto the floor. After failing to find any guns they went to the milk store and poured the contents of the milk vessels onto the floor and mixed it with sugar.Yaser and his family keep goats. They use their milk to drink, to make cheese for them to eat and then sell what is left in Hebron. The milk from the family’s goats is their only form of income. That morning all of the goats had been milked and their full store (60 litres) was destroyed. At no point did the army show any documents which proved the search was legal as well as speaking in Hebrew the whole time so that the family were unable to understand what was happening. After destroying the families livelihood they left. In total the army remained at the family’s home for one and a half hours whilst the family were made to watch as their home was turned upside down and their way of generating income to support them destroyed. This is just one case of harassment of local Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley by the Israeli army. The constant harassment is part of a deliberate policy to make life so difficult for Palestinian families that they leave the valley, whilst at the same time the Israeli state continues to build new settlement homes for Israeli citizens to expand their agricultural development. This colonisation of the valley by Israel is destroying the lives of Palestinians that have lived here for generations.