#MakeNoise for Beita, Beit Dajan and Khirbet Humsa
Palestinian steadfastness and Israel’s hilltop strategy to isolate and annex the Jordan Valley.
All across their homeland, Palestinians wake up every day to wrestle with Israeli apparatuses of violence and apartheid to stop their imminent ethnic cleansing.
This report investigates Israel’s hilltop strategy aimed at isolating and annexing the Jordan Valley and sounds the alarm about the urgency to defend the struggle of Palestinians to protect their rights against Israel’s efforts to consolidate its control until the Jordan River.
We focus on three areas – Beita and Beit Dajan in Nablus district and Khirbet Humsa in the Jordan Valley – to show how local policies of colonization and expulsion are interconnected within the grand scheme of Israeli apartheid.
All of the areas we are dealing with in this report are in the so-called Area C.
The 1993 Oslo Accords have divided the West Bank in Areas A, B and C. Area C constitutes 61% of the West Bank. Area C is richly endowed with natural resources and it is contiguous, whereas Areas A and B are smaller territorial islands. Sovereignty over this area is essential for any Palestinian state.
According to the Oslo Accords, by 1997 Israel should have withdrawn its military, settlers and control from the area.
However, Israel continued without interruption to implement its policies aimed at colonizing and annexing Area C, which started in 1967. It attempts to squeeze Palestinians living in Area C in under-developed Bantustans that are demarcated by a matrix of apartheid and control: Jewish-only settlements, the Apartheid Wall, military bases, military checkpoints and by-pass roads for the use of Jewish settlers exclusively.
We highlight three crucial elements of the Palestinian struggle against Israel’s apartheid project:
- The effectiveness of Palestinian relentless resistance, steadfastness and creativity despite the brutality of Israeli repression
- Israel’s continuous attempts to take over strategic locations to advance its policies of annexation and colonization.
- The ongoing necessity to ethnically cleanse ever more Palestinians in order to maintain apartheid and colonial expansionism.
Beita: a model of resistance
In early May, 2021, Palestinian residents in the village of Beita, which sits south of Nablus, woke up to find Mount Sabih, or Jabal Sabih in Arabic, turned into a Jewish only settlement outpost. Within a matter of a few days, settlers sat up about fifty mobile houses, constructed roads and raised an Israeli flag over the stolen Palestinian land.
Promptly Palestinians in Beita started daily protests near the seized hilltop for more than three months without interruption.
The daily protests also included popular resistance activities that usually start after mid-night in what Palestinians call ‘night disturbance’ actions. In response to the bigoted settler group calling itself the ‘Youth of the Hills’, Palestinians who lead and join in the night disturbance have chosen to call themselves the ‘Guardians of the Mountain.’ Read more here.
Beit Dajan: Rallying to liberate our land, to preserve our existence
In the last couple of weeks, the protesters in Beit Dajan, another village fighting off settlement expansion since years, have been inspired by their brothers and sisters in Beita and have taken up the strategy of night disturbance actions. Read more here.
Israel’s repression and dehumanization
The relentless protests of Palestinians have been met with inhumane Israeli brutality. On Friday, August 6th the Israeli army killed 37-year-old Imad Dweikat. Dweikat was among hundreds of people who took part in the weekly Friday protest against Israeli settlement expansion on the lands of Beita.
Dweikat is a father of five children and the youngest is only two months old. He was shot in the chest and died shortly after he was wounded.
Dweikat is the sixth protester lost to Israeli violence since the protests broke out in May. Before him, Palestinians mourned the brutal murder of Ahmad Zahi Banishamsah (16), Mohammed Said Hamayel (15), Zakariya Hamayel (28), Issa Burhm (42) and Tareq Snoubar (27). Read more here.
Apartheid Israel’s hilltop strategy
The construction of Jewish-only settlements on the three hilly areas in Beit Dajan and Beita allows the Israeli occupation to isolate the Jordan Valley as this separates it from the Nablus province and the rest of the northern part of the West Bank.
Both Mount Sabih and Mount Al-Arma enjoy a strategic location as they overlook the Jordan Valley, a fertile land threatened with Israeli annexation. Seizing the two hilltops represents a panoptical defensive tool as they would grant the Israeli occupation with a panoramic view over the Jordan Valley and the whole district of Nablus. This is why the Israeli occupation authorities have assigned them a place in its settlement expansion project.
The seizure of the hilly area located north-east of the village of Beit Dajan in the eastern Nablus province is another measure through which Israel seeks to tighten the grip over the Jordan Valley. Read more about the detrimental effects of Israel’s hilltop strategy on Palestinians here.
The Jordan Valley – ethnic cleansing towards annexation
The settlement expansion in areas overlooking the Jordan Valley like the hilly parts of the villages of Beita and Beit Dajan, along with Jewish-only bypass roads that directly connect to Israel are only part of Israeli plans to annex the Jordan Valley.
This coincides with an escalated ethnic cleansing campaign of Palestinian Bedouin communities living in the Jordan Valley.
Khirbet Humsa is currently one of the villages under constant attack and pressure of expulsion. Read more about Israeli settlement expansion scheme and the steadfastness of Humsa residents here.
Palestinians want to exist, support our steadfastness!
Palestinians in Beita, Beit Dajan, the Jordan Valley, and Area C at large have been heroically resisting Israeli apartheid and settler colonial practices through protests, sit-ins, and sumoud [Arabic: Steadfastness].
Yet, they still need increased international support in order to dismantle Israeli regime of oppression, entrenched either by direct global complicity through corporations and arms support or indirectly through silence at Israeli atrocities against Palestinians. We ask you to act together with Palestinians who are courageously fighting to make the paradigm of justice and human rights triumph and thrive in our world.
We call on activists:
- #MakeNoise for Beita, Beit Dajan, the Jordan Valley and any other threatened parts of Area C in order to convey to the world their messages and daily struggle to stop Israeli ethnic cleansing.
- Keep pressuring governments to not only denounce but take action against Israel’s illegal policies;
- Build BDS campaigns targeting companies in the implementation of Israel’s apartheid policies in Palestine, including Hyundai, Cat and JCB (involved in home demolitions); and other companies profiting from settlement such policies, including French multinational AXA, which is investing in Israeli banks that finance the settlements, Pillsbury, which manufactures baked goods in an illegal Israeli settlement, or Puma, which sponsors Israel Football Association (IFA), which includes teams in Israel’s illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
We call on the international community:
- Demand an immediate halt to Israel’s illegal policies of forced displacement, apartheid and colonization in Area C and elsewhere and ensure effective measures are taken to stop Israel’s violations of international law and human rights, including the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people;
- Cooperate to bring to an end, including through coercive measures such as sanctions, Israel’s occupation, settler colonization, and apartheid regime, as well as the prolonged denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees to their homes, lands, and property, as mandated by international law;
- Ensure international justice and accountability, including by activating universal jurisdiction mechanisms to try perpetrators of suspected war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the OPT in their own jurisdictions and supporting a full, thorough, and comprehensive investigation into the Situation in Palestine by the ICC.