Civil administration personnel and Israel Defense Forces soldiers last week confiscated about a dozen electricity-producing solar panels from two Palestinian families living in the ancient, remote village of Yarza in the northern Jordan Valley. The Civil Administration frequently confiscates solar panels donated to inhabitants by European aid groups, claiming that they are not allowed to be connected to the electricity grid, as if they were banned weapons or IDF property. But this time the circumstances were especially severe and ludicrous.
The panels were confiscated at the height of the blistering August heat, which in the Jordan Valley can go as high as 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit). A great deal of sadism is required to leave dozens of people, including the elderly and children, without electricity in the summer heat of the Jordan Valley. It takes a large helping of hardheartedness not to postpone this at least until fall. But when the Palestinians are non-persons and the goal to expel them from the valley is clear and firm, there’s no place for humane considerations or compassion by the Israeli occupation.
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As reported in Friday’s Haaretz by Gideon Levy and Alex Levac, this time the reason was particularly ridiculous. The order the inspectors brought with them stated that this was a warning “to stop the destruction of antiquities.” It was of course no warning at all, it was confiscation, but in the no-man’s land in the occupied Jordan Valley, anything goes.
The unit that coordinates government activities in the occupied territories, in its response to Haaretz, chose to ignore the question of what the connection is between confiscating the solar panels and the destruction of antiquities. There is none. The result: the family of the farmer Salim Abu Tayeb – mother, father, grandmother and two small children, were condemned to live without electricity. In the month of August in the torrid Jordan Valley, this means suffering and distress, even danger to the elderly and children. A similar punishment was meted out on their neighbors, the Masa’id family.
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Farmer Abu Tayed, 54, was born in this village, most of which was destroyed by Israel in 1967, and Israel wants to expel its inhabitants, as it does the rest of the communities of shepherds, at any price, by any means.
These events can only be described as pure evil, a lack of conscience, which stems from a desire to abuse the inhabitants until they have no choice and leave. That would complete the ethnic cleansing that Israel intends to carry out in two areas of the West Bank: the Jordan Valley and the southern Hebron Hills, the end points of the West Bank. One village in the Jordan Valley, Humsa, was already abandoned in recent weeks, after it was demolished three times this year.
The IDF commanders and those in the Defense Ministry responsible for this policy cannot wash their hands of this abuse. This is their handiwork, to their eternal shame.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.