TUBAS: Israel’s army has demolished the homes of nearly 80 Palestinian Bedouins in the occupied West Bank, officials and witnesses said on Wednesday, in a rare operation targeting an entire community at once.

Late on Tuesday, Israeli bulldozers razed the village — including tents, sheds, portable toilets and solar panels — near Tubas in the Jordan Valley, according to a photographer at the scene, who found dozens of people left homeless.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh accused Israeli troops of having “completely demolished the village of Homsa al-Baqia, leaving around 80 people homeless”.

The branch of Israel’s army responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank, COGAT, said it had destroyed structures “built illegally in a firing zone (military training area) in the Jordan Valley”.

The Jordan Valley falls within the West Bank’s “Area C” that is fully controlled by Israel’s army, which has occupied the West Bank since the 1967 Six Day war.

Under Israeli military law, Palestinians cannot build structures in the area without permits, which are typically refused, and demolitions are common.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem accused Israel in a statement of “deliberately creating a Kafkaesque reality that leaves Palestinians almost no way to build legally”.

In a separate message, it said the late-night operation in Homsa al-Baqia was unusual given that so many homes were targeted at the same time.

It implied that the Jewish state timed the demolition to take place while world attention was focused on the US presidential election.

“It seems like Israel was making use of the fact that everyone’s attention is currently set elsewhere to move forward with this inhumane act,” it said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the past said he intended to annex parts of the West Bank and Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territory, including the Jordan Valley.

That plan was given the green light in January by US President Donald Trump. But a surprise normalisation accord between Israel and the United Arab Emirates appeared to put annexation on ice. Israeli, Emirati and US leaders said they had agreed “Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty” over West Bank areas.

According to Abdelghani Awada, left homeless by Tuesday’s demolition, the Israelis who arrived in vehicles and with bulldozers gave people “10 minutes to evacuate our homes”.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2020

Opinion

State Bank’s bluff
Updated 28 Jan 2021

State Bank’s bluff

Banks are sceptical of the State Bank’s ‘forward guidance’ if their bidding behaviour in govt debt auctions is anything to go by.
Unburied conscience
Updated 28 Jan 2021

Unburied conscience

Certain events in a nation’s history (however traumatic) need to be retrieved from the cupboard of memory.
A jab in time
27 Jan 2021

A jab in time

Vaccines are evidently not an instant panacea.

Editorial

28 Jan 2021

Streamlining madressahs

SUCCESSIVE governments over the decades have grappled with the challenge of regulating the tens of thousands of...
Updated 28 Jan 2021

Farmers’ protest

It is possible that an unyielding Modi has painted himself into a corner in a politically crucial election year.
28 Jan 2021

A broader investigation

THE Broadsheet controversy may be poised to open up a Pandora’s Box. Reportedly, the government is planning to...
Updated 27 Jan 2021

Pemra’s powers

The right to freedom of expression has been curtailed to such an extent that it invites comparisons with martial law times.
27 Jan 2021

Increasing debt

THE numbers released by the State Bank regarding the government’s domestic debt stock and servicing at the end of...
27 Jan 2021

Women in conflict

“WHEN the guns fall silent, it does not mean the suffering of women and girls stops. The suffering and abuse that...