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10 homes bulldozed in Jericho valley

June 14, 2011 2:48 P.M. (Updated: June 16, 2011 9:13 A.M.)
JERICHO (Ma'an) -- The tin homes of ten Bedouin families in the Jordan valley were demolished on Tuesday morning, and power meters confiscated, residents said, leaving dozens homeless.

The Bedouin hamlet of Fasayil, north of Jericho, was invaded by 14 Israeli military jeeps escorting two bulldozers at 6 a.m., resident Wahid Ali told Ma'an.

While most of the materials were simply crushed and buried, Ali noted, soldiers confiscated power meters after disconnecting them from the power grid.

"I have been living here for four years with my wife and four children. Israeli bulldozers have just destroyed everything. They even confiscated the cables and power meters leaving the area completely disconnected," a second resident, Imad Mousa, said.

Head of Fasayil’s local council Ibrahim Ubayyat said residents had been warned by Israeli authorities not to build homes in the area, which is classified as Area C under the Oslo Accords. But villagers who farm the fertile fields in the Jordan Valley say they have nowhere else to go if they are to maintain their livelihoods.

Ubayyat said he had contacted the ICRC "to try and ease people's suffering," and adding that they hoped to re-establish tent homes in the area for the farmers.

Coordinator of the Campaign to Support the Jordan Valley, Fathi Khudeirat, said that by forcing Palestinian farmers out of the area, access to the most fertile areas of the West Bank was being cut off. "The valley is the main source of agricultural production, Palestinian officials are grossly overlooking this area," he said.

Owners of the sheds demolished Tuesday said they planned to continue farming the area and would seek to re-establish themselves and their families.

They were identified as Sami Mousa Ali, Khadir Yasin Irsheid, Hussein Yasin Irsheid, Abed Yasin Irsheid, Ali Hussein Zayid, Najih Ali Zayid, Kayid Atallah Ratib, Talib Mousa, Khalid Abdullah Ghazal and his brother Issa.

A representative of Israel's Civil Administration, which orders and executes demolitions in the West Bank, could not be reached for comment by phone.

Fasayil is the latest in a string of Jordan Valley communities targeted by Israeli forces for demolitions. In March tent homes were demolished near Tubas, ad homes in the same area were targeted with demolitions in April, and later in the month shepherd dwellings in the northern valley were also taken down.

A report released by the Israeli rights group B'Tselem in May accused Israel of unjustly dominating the land, water resources and even tourist sites in the valley area, in what was described as a prelude to a de facto annexation of territory.

"Israel has instituted a regime that massively exploits the resources of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, far more than elsewhere in the West Bank, demonstrating its intention: to de facto annex the area to the state of Israel," a B'Tselem statement said.
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