Israeli occupation forces yesterday attacked people of the community of Khirbet Makhoul and a group of consuls and diplomats from France, Britain, Spain, Ireland, Australia and the European Union's political office on a field visit. They confiscated a truck they had brought, loaded with tents and humanitarian aids for the residents of Khirbet Makhoul in the northern Jordan Valley. The materials were donated by some countries of the European Union. An Israeli soldier dragged the French diplomat Marion Castaing out of the truck, forced her on the ground and pointed a gun at her head.
As soon as the diplomats arrived, about a dozen Israeli army jeeps converged on them, and soldiers told them not to unload their truck. They pushed diplomats around, beat a number of members of the community of Khirbet Makhoul, including 80-years old Ahmed Khaf. Three of the people from Khirbet Makhoul were arrested: Yousef Hussain Brown Bisharat, Ali Mohammed Bisharat, Munther Mohammed Bisharat. French diplomat Marion Castaing said: “They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity." Finally, and completely unprovoked, Israeli military threw sound grenades at the group of diplomats, aid workers and locals. The French consulate car has been detained there for 2 hours after the assault.
This further attack on the people – and this time as well official representatives of the international community – aims at ensuring the ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley.
In the morning hours of 16 September 2013, Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by three bulldozers, demolished 58 structures in Makhoul bedouin community. They litterally wiped out all buildings of the community: 10 residential structures, 18 animal structures, 10 animal pens, nine kitchens, nine latrines, and one zinc shade. Much of the belongings, including feeders, water tanks and other herding equipment, were damaged during the demolition and lost under the rubble.
Following the demolition, at around 2:30pm, the community attempted to bring in humanitarian aid donated by the Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. The collective tent and other material were loaded on a truck owned by one of the families. However, the truck was first blocked at Tayasir checkpoint and then confiscated by the occupation forces. In order to ensure the community would not stay on their land, the Israeli military declared the space a closed military area, drove the people off the ground and allowed them back only the following day at 6 am. Those that refused to leave were forced to leave when soldiers threw sound bombs towards them.
The people passed the night in al Hadidiya, another community already several times demolished and still targeted with renewed demolition. y Israeli forces and have moved to an area across the road near Al Hadidiya.
Aref Daraghmeh the mukhtar [leader] in the Beduin communities in that area comments:
“We will have to meet the battle against the Israeli occupation in Khirbet Makhool. especially after the intervention of consuls that have witnessed the truth of what is going on in that area, the crimes by the Israeli occupation forces against children, the elderly and women in order to ethnically cleanse the area.”
The situation in the area remains very tense. The families and around 1,700 heads of sheep and 70 pigeons have been left without shelter since September 16.
This further destruction of a Palestinian bedouin community in the Jordan Valley follows an Israeli high court ruling from 25 August 2013. The ruling gave the go ahead for the demolitions in Khirbet Makhoul as well as in Humsa, Al Hadidiya, and Khirbet Ar Ras Al Ahmar. In total 9 communities are living in the north of the Jordan Valley, all of them are suffering from on destructions and attacks since 1997 in order to expel them from their land. Some of these communities have already been destroyed for seven times. It was the first time for Khirbet al Makhoul and like the other communities, people are determined to resist on their land and rebuild their communities.
The ethnic cleansing of the Jordan Valley aims to ensure a de facto annexation of the area through displacement of the Palestinian population and the establishment of ever more settlers in their place. The ethnic cleansing plan – as already years ago explained in a meeting by the Israeli authorities to the UN autorities in Palestine – includes in its first phase not only the Jordan Valley but as well the areas east of Jerusalem and the south of the Hebron hills. UN OCHA duly reported about this in their monthly update and since then, nobody within the international community has taken meaningful action. With the exception of the occasional field visit and international humanitarian aid when their homes and livelihoods are once again destroyed, the people in the Jordan Valley and other affected areas are left to defend themselves alone from one of the world's most powerful armies, determined to take over their land and destroy their communities.