According to residents, ten Bedouin homes were demolished on Tuesday morning in the Jordan valley area, leaving dozens homeless.
The small village of Fasayil, north of Jericho was invaded by 2 bulldozers, escorted by 14 military Jeeps at approximately 6am on Tuesday morning. The ten village homes were crushed, burying any possessions inside and electricity meters were confiscated by the army. This will leave the village totally disconnected if they rebuild their homes.
Head of the local village council, Ibrahim Ubayyat, said that the Israeli authorities had prohibited residents from building in the area, but the villagers say that they have no choice since they have nowhere else to go.
The Jordan valley is one of the most fertile areas in the West Bank and a major source of agricultural production. The Israeli authorities are effectively cutting Palestinians off from their farmland in this area. Owners of the destroyed homes vowed to continue farming in the area and rebuild their lives.
There are strong indications that Israel wants to annex the Jordan valley in any future peace agreement with the Palestinians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu claims that the area is strategically crucial to Israel’s security, although the area is also rich in natural resources that are presently exploited by Israel.
According to Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, ‘Israel has instituted a regime that massively exploits the resources of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea, far more than elsewhere in the West Bank, demonstrating its intention: to de facto annex the area to the state of Israel’.