Israeli Forces Destroy Trees, Water Wells in South Hebron Village

25 Jul
7:14 PM

Israeli forces invaded Khirbet Umm al-Khair in Masafer Yatta, near Hebron in the southern West Bank Thursday, and destroyed dozens of olive trees, water irrigation systems and four water wells used by Palestinian Bedouin farmers.

This comes two weeks after Israeli forces invaded the same village and destroyed a children’s park, nine water wells and uprooted a forest of trees in Umm al-Khair’s nature reserve area under the pretext that the area is now an Israeli military training zone.

Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the national and popular committees in the south of the West Bank, told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that the residents of Umm al-Khair and area villages, who are mainly herders, depend on the water for irrigating their land and for their cattle.

Jabour stressed that Israel is trying to displace these residents as a precursor to taking over their land.

The village of Umm al-Khair is located on land that Israeli authorities are attempting to annex into the settlement of Carmel, which was constructed on stolen village land.

Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times wrote in 2010 that Carmel is “a lovely green oasis that looks like an American suburb. It has lush gardens, kids riding bikes and air-conditioned homes. It also has a gleaming, electrified poultry barn that it runs as a business. Beyond its barbed wire fencing, the Bedouins of Umm al-Kheir in shanties are denied connection to the electricity grid, barns for their livestock and toilets, and all attempts to build permanent dwellings are demolished. Elad Orian, an Israeli human rights activist, noted that the chickens of Carmel’s poultry farm get more electricity and water than the Palestinian Bedouin nearby.”

Awda Mohammad, a resident of the village, wrote in a 2017 article for the Israeli leftist +972Mag entitled, My village is under threat. I’m not giving up hope, “I believe, like my father did, that we have the right to live without the constant threat of demolition, to have enough clean water, to have good houses that we can live in during all seasons, to have a community center for our children, and for all of us to continue learning and growing, to live without fear, and to do what we want as autonomous humans.”

Umm al-Khair is home to around 70 Palestinian Bedouins who have faced multiple demolitions of their homes by Israeli forces.

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Celine Hagbard

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