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10 Aug, 2012

Wiping Palestine Off the Map: Israel to Demolish 8 West Bank Villages


Ramallah, 19 Ramadan 07 August (IINA) – Israeli occupation forces carried out their latest barbaric acts of violence. The main road leading to eight Palestinian villages were closed indefinitely in preparation for the demolition of all the properties.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a demolition order for the territory in South Hebron Hills saying it is needed for Israeli army training exercises. The mandate is due to be carried out in late July unless the Palestinians get a blocking order from Israeli Supreme Court.

The villages slated for demolition are Majaz, Tabban, Safa, Halaweh, Fakheit, Markez, Jinba, and Kharubeh, which have a total of 2,000 residents.

The Israeli defense establishment regards all of them as squatters in Firing Zone 918, even though the villages have existed since at least the 1830s.

Kamil Homaid, Hebron’s governor, said that “a large Israeli force arrived in the area and erected a military checkpoint to prevent the residents of the eight villages from leaving.”

Homaid added that the Israeli soldiers – backed with helicopters – raided the villages of Jinba and Beir el-Abid. According to the governor, the residents were forced to wait outside their homes for several hours while Israeli soldiers searched their homes.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said that the move was likely to cause “an immediate humanitarian disaster for the 2,000 residents.” One spokesperson added that the demolition would be “a travesty given the remarkable way of life that has endured in these villages for centuries.”

The destruction of villages and the displacement of villagers have been an integral part of the Zionist project since 1948. Expulsions are followed by the expropriation of the land for the expansion of Jewish settlements.

In April 2008, the Israeli High Court of Justice issued a decision calling for the destruction of Al-Aqaba village, located on the slopes of the Jordan Valley. The same policy was also perpetrated against vulnerable communities such as the Jahalin.