Early last week, Civil Administration forces destroyed another village in the Jordan Valley, Khirbet Makhoul. Arriving at the site shortly after the demolition, Haaretz reporters witnessed the approximately 100 shocked villagers, flocks without their pens or water, and dozens of ruined buildings.
Since that time, the army has forcibly prevented the proffering of any humanitarian aid to the now-shelterless villagers and their flocks. The army immediately demolished two huts built by volunteers and prohibited the unloading of tents trucked to the site by the International Red Cross and the aid group ACTED. On Friday, Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot stun grenades at the women of the human rights group Machsom Watch - which is assisting the villagers - and at other volunteers, and also attacked a French diplomat. The inhabitants of Khirbet Makhoul have been left with nothing.
This act of destruction is part of the general policy of evicting Palestinian inhabitants from the Jordan Valley. Since the beginning of the year, Israel has destroyed 142 dwellings and a much larger number of agricultural buildings in the area. Earthen embankments have been placed along the Jordan Valley’s roads, impeding the freedom of movement of the inhabitants - mainly shepherds - and hundreds of signs warning of IDF firing zones have been installed near every tent encampment. Needless to say, the huge areas around the settlements in the region have never been declared military firing zones. While Palestinian shepherds and Bedouin who live in the area are not entitled to any sort of infrastructure, electricity or water, the settlers of the valley enjoy them in abundance. The goal is clear: To make the lives of the inhabitants so bitter that they will leave.
The decision to demolish Khirbet Makhoul was approved through all the proper channels. Demolition orders were issued as long as four years ago and, at the end of last month, the High Court of Justice rejected the villagers’ petition, which claims they have been living in the village for decades and that the land belongs to them. Israel does not recognize their land-ownership documents, because they were issued by the Palestinian Authority and not by the Civil Administration.
This law is the law of the occupation, and the demolition of the village and prevention of humanitarian aid from reaching the villagers are inhuman acts. At a time when Israel is celebrating Sukkot - the Festival of Booths - dozens of people and their flocks have no roof over their heads and have been left to their fate.