Monday, July 19, 2010
Israel continues its demolitions and expulsions in Jordan Valley
Israel's Civil Administration began demolishing over 20 farmer's sheds in the Al-Farisiya area in the northern Jordan Valley on Monday morning, officials said. Director of the Save the Jordan Valley campaign Fathi Khdeirat described the demolitions as an "Israeli policy of collective displacement, aimed at expanding settlement outposts in the northern Jordan Valley."
Khdeirat added that in addition to the sheds, homes and barracks were also razed in the process. Onlookers said they believed the recent increase in demolitions across the Jordan Valley were aimed at changing the area's demographic map "to serve its settlement project."
A spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration said the structures razed on Monday were abandoned tents in a fire danger zone. Owners were issued the order on 27 June, he said, but did not appeal the decision. The official said the area was evacuated because of fire risks.
The Al-Farisiya area is zoned under Area C, which falls under full Israeli security, planning, and construction control. The UN has reported an increase in demolitions across Area C, which encompasses 60 percent of the West Bank. In early July, Israeli authorities demolished Palestinian homes in the Ras Al-Ahmar area, near the northern Jordan Valley district, which residents say remain ongoing. A month earlier, settlers established an illegal outpost in the area following which military guards told locals that they would no longer be permitted to get drinking water from a well nearby the outpost. "We were told to get water from the other villages and collect it in tanks," village representative Abdallah Bisharat said.
Gideon Levy, quoting people from Machsom Watch, wrote that the demolitions on 1 July concerned 15 families. One week earlier 16 more families got demolition or evacuation orders.