Israeli Forces Demolish over 30 Residential Structures in Jordan Valley

JORDAN VALLEY, June 4, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces early Thursday demolished over thirty residential structures and livestock barns in the northern Jordan Valley localities, according to a municipal source.

Escorting bulldozers, Israeli forces broke into and cordoned the area off and prevented locals from approaching the structures slated for demolition.

According to Head of al-Malih Village Council, ‘Aref Daraghma, forces proceeded afterwards to level and demolish residential structures, livestock barns and tanks belonging to four families without any prior notice purportedly for being built without license.

Israeli forces routinely demolish Palestinian structures in the Jordan Valley. During last March, dozens of structures were demolished in the localities of Makhoul and al-Hadidiya and two water tanks were seized from al-Farisiya locality.

Mayor of Tubas and the Northern Jordan Valley Ahmad As‘ad slammed the demolition as a ‘racist Israeli occupation practice’.

“These practices unveil the true face of the Israeli democracy. Carried out a day after Israeli general elections, they indicate that the Israeli government is led by settlers, seeking to fulfill their plans and expel indigenous Palestinian communities from the Jordan Valley in order to expand settlements and Judaize the land,” remarked As‘ad.

During May, fires erupted in northern Jordan Valley localities of Wadi Ibzeeq and al-Maleh grazing land after Israeli army embarked on live ammunition military training in the area.

Fires engulfed large tracts of pastures used for grazing animals, and locals were denied by Israeli forces access into their land to extinguish the fires.

Since the beginning of 2015, locals were forced to leave their homes for more than 15 times in order to make room for military drills.

Having no other choice, many Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, under complete Israeli control, are forced to build without permits to be able to provide a shelter for their families, risking having their buildings demolished in the process.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between December 30, 2014 and January 12, 2015, the Israeli authorities demolished 27 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and five in East Jerusalem, in addition to two self demolition incidents, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley into a completely Israeli area, primarily in agriculture, targeting to ban territorial contiguity between a future Palestinian state and the rest of the Arab world.

To this end, tens of settlements and agricultural outposts have been established by Israel in the Valley, which makes up about one-third of the total area of the occupied West Bank.