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More Bedouin structures demolished in Jordan Valley

Nov. 24, 2010 11:29 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 24, 2010 10:50 P.M.)
JERICHO (Ma’an) -- As the sun rose early Wednesday, Palestinian Bedouins living in Abu Al-Ajaj, a small village in the Jordan Valley were surprised to see Israeli bulldozers demolishing their sheds and sheep shelters.

The incident came only two weeks after Israeli authorities confiscated lands belonging to the village slated to expand an illegal settlement.

Ma’an’s correspondent visited the village whose 135 residents are all members of the D’eis family. He said he saw demolished sheds and barracks as well as water tankers which provide water for domestic use and for animals to drink. The water was spilt on the ground. Locals told him that bulldozers completed the demolition in the early morning.

He was also told that Israeli soldiers who escorted the bulldozers attacked residents when they attempted to defend their property. Amongst those beaten by the soldiers was an elderly man identified as Shihda D’eis. The soldiers detained several people and released some of them later. Osama Omar D’eis and Ali Shihda D’eis remained in detention, according to locals.

After the demolition, military vehicles were stationed at the entrance to the village and later on Red Cross staff and international solidarity activists from the International Council of Churches arrived in the village.

Abu Al-Ajaj is a small village in the Jiftlik area which is the second largest populated area in the Jordan Valley after Jericho. About 7,000 Palestinian farmers live in Jiftlik and earn their living from agriculture and livestock.

The “Save the Jordan Valley” campaign described the attack on Abu Al-Ajaj village as “ethnic cleansing practiced before the very eyes of the whole world and international human rights institutions.”

Israeli authorities removed the village in the 1970s and built a settlement called Miswah on its lands.

A military spokesman confirmed that troops in the Jordan Valley destroyed two buildings and a tent being used by Palestinians in Massu'a, southwest of Nablus, near the border with Jordan.

The buildings, which were being used to house cattle, were demolished because they had been erected illegally on public land, the spokesman said.

AFP contributed to this report.

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