FeedVimeoYoutubeFacebookTwitterLinkedinGoogle

Updates from Area C

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 08:45
Print

Families temporarily evacuated in the Jordan Valley


On November 14 and 15, 2016, 15 Palestinian Bedouin families were evacuated from their homes in Ibzeq, near Tubas, as the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) decided to undertake military trainings in the area. Mohammad Ali Nasrallah, 45, father of seven (four of which are minors), noted that during these two days, they were allowed to come back to their tents at night.

The families in Ibzeq where again evacuated on November 21 and 22 from 3:00 pm until 9:00 am the next day, forcing them to spend two consecutive nights without shelter.

Mohammad, however, affirmed that this was not the first time that the area had been used for military training. In these instances, Mohammad and others are systematically forced to travel for several kilometers away from their villages, often staying for several days and nights without a refuge both during the cold winter and hot summer. Mohammad also noted that even when the trainings are finished, the people of Ibzeq, especially children, remain in danger, as the soldiers leave unexploded ammunitions in the area (Al-Haq affidavit 763/2016). In March, earlier this year for example, Badran Hroub, 16, also from Ibzeq, found a M16 bullet on the ground while grazing his sheep. Out of curiosity, he put the bullet on a rock and started throwing stones on it. The bullet exploded and a fragment penetrated his left eyebrow, just above his eye. He was taken to Tubas Public Hospital, and from there to Rafidya Hospital, where he had to undergo an operation. (Al-Haq affidavit 255/2016)  

Demolitions

JordanValleyDemolishing-01Nasr Abdel-Rahman Frejat, 48, lives in Al-Ouja, about 10 kilometers to the north of Jericho. Al-Ouja initially was classified as Area A under the terms of the Oslo Accords.[1] However, when Road 90 was built bisecting Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley, including Al-Ouja, areas on both sides of the road were declared as Area C. Since Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israel has put an extensive system of bypass roads covering hundreds of kilometers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, with the aim of connecting Israeli settlements with each other and with other cities in Israel. [2] Bypass roads are  under Israeli control and are often times inaccessible to Palestinians.[3]

On 14 November 2016, at around 9:30 am, an Israeli force of 24 military jeeps, accompanied by two other jeeps from the Israeli civil administration, and four bulldozers arrived to the land Nasr and his brothers own. The family had built 26 storage units on the land, which is 30 meters away from Road 90. The road effectively cuts the whole village (from the south to the north) in two.

In 2009, when construction on the units began, Nasr received a military order claiming that this land was classified as Area C and that accordingly he had to stop building immediately. Nasr appealed the decision until it reached the Israeli Supreme Court. However, Nasr never received the court’s final decision, and he was not given prior notice for the demolition by the IOF.

Immediately after the arrival of the IOF, about 50 Israeli soldiers imposed a security cordon around the area and started using physical force and tear gas to disperse the crowd that had gathered. One of Nasr’s brothers, Jamal, 51, was hit by a tear gas canister in his chest and fell to the ground. The soldiers continued firing tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets even after the crowd was dispersed. Although there was already an excessive amount of tear gas around him, Nasr witnessed a soldier approach Jamal and spray his face with pepper gas while he was still lying on the ground.  When a Palestinian ambulance arrived to the scene, the paramedics spent nearly half an hour trying to assist him. Jamal had fainted and was having difficulty breathing. His condition was so critical, that the IOF had to call an Israeli ambulance to take him to a hospital in a nearby settlement. From there Jamal was taken in a helicopter to Hadasa Hospital in Jerusalem.

By 12:30 pm, the Israeli soldiers left the village after demolishing all the storage units owned by Nasr and his family. The demolished area spanned approximately 1300 km2. (Al-Haq affidavit 765/2016)

Confiscation of land


Nasr Nimer Abd-Rabo, 58, and his family inherited land in Al-Walajeh village to the west of Bethlehem. Following his brother’s death, Nasr was responsible for taking care of the land. The IOF would regularly trespass on the land, destroy trees and other plants, and demolish the temporary housing structures Nasr stayed in so he could protect his land.

On 15 November, at around 11:00 am, Nasr was working on his land when he heard the sound of a truck on the street. He went to see what happened and found a white jeep, a truck, and a small bulldozer, followed by two Israeli military jeeps. One of the Israeli officers told Nasr that he is going to be arrested, without clarifying why. The IOF took Nasr to Al-Walajeh checkpoint, where he waited for about an hour, and then taken to a detention center in Atarot.

Once there, the interrogator asked Nasr about basic personal information, and then told him that he was denied from entering the land and that it was Israeli state land. Nasr explained that he owned the land and that he had official papers that proved it. After several hours, the interrogator asked Nasr to sign a paper, in Hebrew, a language Nasr cannot understand. The interrogator explained to him that by signing, Nasr commits to never entering the land again. Nasr did sign but told the interrogator that he would remain on his land, and that they could come and arrest him again if they want to. The interrogator then told him that the paper also certifies that he has to pay a 5,000 NIS bill (approximately 1,300 USD).

Nasr was released around 12:00 am. Upon returning to his land, he saw that the trees on his land were broken, some plants were also uprooted, and his temporary housing structure, that cost approximately 6,000 NIS, was completely demolished. (Al-Haq affidavit 766/2016)

The continued relocation of communities for military training, the destruction of structures due to Israel’s discriminatory permit system, and the confiscation of land in Area C are part of Israel’s policies and practices that aim to transfer the Palestinian population. Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits the forcible transfer of the protected population. While the Occupying Power may evacuate an area for security or imperative military reasons, conducting military trainings as in the case mentioned above, would not meet this criteria. 

In addition to international humanitarian law, as Occupying Power, Israel is also bound by international human rights law. Israel’s actions in Area C, including those highlighted in the aforementioned cases, violate a broad range of human rights, including: the right to self-determination, the right to an adequate standard of living…including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions, the right to work, and the right to security of person, amongst others.

 

 



[1] Area A, as established in the Oslo accords, is the area under the Palestinian Authority control and it constitutes about 18% of the West Bank

[2] For more details on the road system in the West Bank please refer to B’Tselem’s report on the issue;
Forbidden Roads: Israel’s discriminatory road Regime in the West Bank.

[3] All Israelis are free to use Road 90, but only Palestinians whose identity cards indicate that they live in Jericho or one of the Palestinian villages in the Jordan Valley – since there is no other access to those villages – are allowed to use it.