Israeli forces demolished the entire Bedouin community of Khirbet Humsah in the northern Jordan Valley, leaving 41 Palestinian children homeless just as winter storms spread through the West Bank.
As the world was engulfed in the unfolding US elections on November 3rd, Israel quietly demolished an entire Bedouin enclave in the northern Jordan Valley, leaving more than 70 Palestinians homeless just as temperatures started to drop in the occupied West Bank.
At around 11am on Tuesday morning, the residents of Khirbet Husna were shocked to see a caravan of Israeli military jeeps, accompanied by a number of bulldozers and excavators, heading down the dirt pathway to their village.
“The soldiers often come here to evacuate us when they have military training,” Fatima Abu Awwad told Mondoweiss, as she sat amidst the rubble of what was her home just 24 hours earlier.
Several of the structures destroyed in the village, like the portable toilets and solar panels, were donated by the European Union and other foreign aid organizations.
B’Tselem noted that with the demolition of Khirbet Humsah, 2020 has so far become one of the worst years for Palestinians in terms of home demolitions, with more Palestinians losing their homes in the first 10 months of this year alone than in any other year since 2016.
“As a result of Israel’s policy, 798 Palestinians have already lost their homes in 2020, including 404 minors who lived in 218 homes – compared to 677 Palestinians in all of 2019, 397 in 2018 and 521 in 2017,” the group said.
Though the land of Khirbet Humsah is not owned by the Bedouin inhabitants themselves, it is privately-owned by a number of local Palestinian landowners who reside in the nearby city of Tubas and its surrounding villages.
One of those landowners, Moataz Bisharat, is a local activist in the Jordan Valley. He told Mondoweiss that despite having the deeds to the land proving his ownership of it, the state of Israel also considers the land to be state land, which they use for active military training.
“Israel designates these lands as active ‘firing zones’ and ‘closed military zones’, and use these as a pretext to consistently evacuate and displace these Palestinians who are living here,” Bisharat said.
While these ‘firing zones’ have impacted Palestinian herding communities in the Jordan Valley for decades, Bisharat says that activists have seen a surge in recent years of a disturbing trend being employed by the state in these areas.
“The army will come in and demolish these communities or displace them from their homes, claiming that they cannot be in these military areas,” he said.
“But after the Palestinians have been expelled, the army will turn over the land to the settlers,” he continued. “We have seen this in the al-Mzuqah, Abu al-Qanduh, al-Farsiyeh, and Khirbat al-Sweid areas, all in the past few years.”
The process of expelling Palestinians and turning over lands to the settlers, Bisharat says, is indicative of Israel’s agenda in the Jordan Valley region: “It all comes down to annexation.”
Bisharat emphasized that while Israel did not officially enforce annexation as planned on July 1st this summer, it has continued to change facts on the ground, all with what he says is the “full support and backing of normalizing countries” like the UAE and Bahrain.
“Israel has a clear goal: expel Palestinians from this land, replace them with settlers, and annex the land into Israel,” he said. “And they are doing it all in plain view of the international community.”Under Cover of US Elections, Israel Wipes Entire Palestinian Community Off the Map