8 January 2016
UPDATE: According the the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA), five tents provided to the displaced families as humanitarian relief after their homes were destroyed have been confiscated by Israeli forces. Read more here.
On Wednesday, a series of demolitions took place in the Bedouin community of Abu Nuwar in the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank. Israeli forces reportedly destroyed five residential structures, making 25 people homeless in the middle of winter, 17 of whom are children. One animal shelter and five portable latrines have also been demolished.
Israeli military and police vehicles reportedly arrived at the community at around 8:30am Wednesday morning, and urged the inhabitants of the structures to leave their homes. These were destroyed by bulldozers, with the families’ belongings and personal items still inside.
Abu Nuwar is situated next to the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, and has reportedly come under threat due to Israel’s E1 development plan to link this settlement with others in the West Bank. Demolitions are a day-to-day reality for Bedouin communities in Area C, the area of the West Bank where Israel maintains military and civil control. The UN has reported that demolition orders were still 'outstanding' against 13,000 Palestinian owned structures by the end of 2014.
Felipe Sanchez, Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, condemned the demolitions, saying: “The humanitarian consequences of this destruction of property are grave and I am seriously concerned, particularly about the children who are now homeless.”
Back in August Medical Aid for Palestinians visited Abu Nuwar and spoke to residents about their fear of such demolitions after stop work orders and demolition orders were served against structures in the community by the Israeli Civil Authority (ICA). They told us that they have refused the ICA plan to relocate the community off this land to another site in Jabal West.
Abu Nuwar is visited regularly by the MAP-supported Mobile Clinic, which provides primary healthcare services to Bedouin communities in Area C. With our partners, the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), MAP also regularly takes British MPs to visit these communities, and has consistently called for an end to the destruction of Palestinians homes and livelihoods in Area C.
Recently, similar orders were served against a portacabin serving as a kindergarten for children in the Badu Ka’abne community. We are campaigning for this order to be revoked, and you can support this call by signing our petition here.