Israel carries out demolitions in the Palestinian village of Humsa for the third time in three months

Palestinian people's belongings left out in the open after Israeli demolitions
Tom Anderson

The Palestinian community of Humsa in the northern Jordan Valley has been invaded and had their homes demolished twice this week by Israeli forces. Local Palestinians were forced to sleep outside in the cold.

One resident, Abu Anas, told campaign group Stop the Wall about how Israeli forces invaded the village on Monday 1 February:

Tens of Israeli soldiers invaded Humsa. They destroyed our tents. When I tried to stop them, an Israeli soldier tried to shoot me. I and 18 members of my family are homeless now.

Palestinians and their supporters responded angrily on Twitter:

 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that a total of 55 people including 32 children were made homeless on Monday. The agency tweeted:

Israeli forces return

On the morning of Wednesday 3 February, UN OCHA reported that Israeli forces returned to carry out more demolitions in Humsa. According to the Palestine Information Center:

According to local sources, the IOF stormed the hamlet in the morning and blocked all the entrances leading to it before embarking on dismentling [sic] tents and homes and displacing families.

The IOF [Israeli Occupation Forces] had already demolished tents and homes and displaced the local residents in the hamlet several times before.

The third time within three months

The demolitions on 3 February were the third that had taken place in Humsa in the last three months.

Back in November 2020 The Canary wrote:

While all eyes were on the US election, Israeli jeeps and bulldozers rolled into the Humsa al Bqai’a Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley. They demolished homes and animal shelters, making over 70 Palestinians homeless. 41 children were left without shelter.

The November demolition in Humsa was reportedly Israel’s single largest in a decade.

A racist colonisation policy

Demolitions of Palestinian homes and property are part of the Israeli state’s colonisation policy in Palestine, and are illegal under international law.

Over 600 Palestinian homes and structures were demolished in 2019 alone. Research by UK based research cooperative Shoal Collective showed that during 2019 almost 30,000 Palestinians were affected by demolitions carried out by the Israeli state using JCB equipment. JCB machines also uprooted almost 7,000 Palestinian olive and fruit trees.

Stop the demolitions

UK campaigners have been taking action against British company JCB, which provides equipment used in Israel’s demolitions. In October 2020 The Canary wrote:

Palestine solidarity organisers across the UK have launched grassroots campaigns against the company. Two groups of activists from campaign group Stop the Demolitions locked themselves in the road to shut down JCB’s UK premises. Campaigns have also been launched against the company’s franchised dealerships in Sheffield and Farnham.

Students at Sheffield Hallam University protested against the university’s partnership with JCB…

…All these campaigns are part of a grassroots network dedicated to forcing JCB to end its supply of equipment to Israel.

Campaigners are also calling on the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to stop accepting donations from JCB.

International solidarity is still needed, despite the pandemic

Home demolitions are the expression of Israel’s ethnic cleansing policy against Palestinians, an almost daily reality. While the world’s attention is on the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, we must also keep on standing with those – like the residents of Humsa – who are on the sharp end of Israel’s creeping colonisation.

Tom Anderson is part of Shoal Collective, whose research is referenced above. He is also part of the Stop the Demolitions campaign.

Featured image via Jordan Valley Solidarity (with permission)

Get involved

  • Read Shoal Collective’s book, Resisting the Demolitions in Palestine.
  • Donate to Jordan Valley Solidarity’s crowdfunder in solidarity with the communites of the Jordan Valley.
  • Check out the Jordan Valley Solidarity website

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  • Show Comments
    1. In defiance of international law. This tells you all you need to know about the world order: law does not rule, violence does. All the fine words you hear about the rule of law, law and order, equality before the law, democracy, rule by the people are nothing more than chewing on ashes. Of course, if I punched my neighbour in the nose and told him I was taking over his house, I would be prosecuted; but then I’m a person with neither power nor wealth. Keeping people like me in check serves the interests of wealth and power, and it permits the rhetoric of the rule of law to have some purchase. Naturally. I’m in favour of people not being permitted to punch their neighbours and seize their property, but the world order isn’t, not it when it comes to billionaires and the State. It would be very easy to stop this kind of action by the Israelis. Biden could do it today. He simply needs to say it has to stop or US dollars will be withheld. These events take place because they serve the interests of the rich in the US and Europe. Nothing else. That is their raison d’etre. And it was from Europe that the mentality behind this came. Columbus engaged in slaughter and ever since there has been conquest in pursuit of lucre. A conquest justified thus by Churchill testifying before the Peel Commission in 1937: “..no wrong has been done to these people (the Palestinians) by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or at any rate a more worldly-wise race…has come in and taken their place…” This is the mad doctrine which rules the world: a higher grade set of people have the right to exploit, brutalize, displace and rule over the lower grade people. It is this simple but wayward idea which underpins the world order. If it didn’t, the violence of the Israelis towards the Palestinians would be halted at once. But according to the world order, Israel needs security because all its neighbours are terrorists, as if the Irgun, Lehi and the Hagana weren’t terrorists, as if Begin wasn’t a terrorist, as if Israel wasn’t built out of terrorism. It is very, very simple: racism as the basis of conquest in pursuit of lucre rules the world. International law? A fairy tale. This is what we have to subvert. Proud subversives on whose banner is inscribed: “Universal equal rights” is what we have to be, or the Palestinians will go the same way as the First People of north America.

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