Jordan Valley

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Nurit Popper, Rachel Ilan, Yosi Guterman (Taayush), Daphne Banai

We visited the Bedouin community of Homsa, who were evicted several times lately in account of “military maneuvers”.

On June 26 at 6 a.m. all the inhabitants of Homsa were evicted – 103 persons including 65 children, 2 women in advanced stages of pregnancy (one of them with twins) and 2 children suffering from Down syndrome – 15 families in all. Having nowhere else to go, they sat in the heart of the desert of the eastern Baqa valley, near the Al Hadidiya community. Their suffering was indescribable. 43 degrees centigrade in the shade, but there was no shade… from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Every community we visited told us the same horrifying eviction story, about the heat, the sun’s radiation, leaving at home the lambs that could not survive such eviction and worrying about them. He women also complained of the lack of privacy and inability to relieve themselves, being surrounded by men.

After the visit we held a donation campaign and ordered 10 folding shades. We’ll bring them there next week. We are still looking for solutions for women’s latrines, all in the hope that no more evictions will be held in the near future. Usually this kind of action is taken at least once a month, winter and summer.

And the most horrifying of all is the fact that NO military maneuvers had taken place there that day. Nothing at all!! The elderly, the ill, women and children were thrown out to 43 degrees centigrade heat and desolation – out of sheer meanness, without even an excuse.

The family received us warmly, on the whole, and would be glad if we join them and document the horrible eviction.

After this visit we drove to Samara to see if the inhabitants have left. The place was deserted, although the tents, tin shacks and sheep pens are still there. Except those of dear Mahyoub, his wife and children. We learned that out of sheer desperation, living under the threats and violence of the settler-colonists who erected their illegal outpost on his privately owned land and would “visit” him at night on their mini-tractors, and because of the hardship of living in such heat without water, and far from their children who go to school in Toubas – in 2016 the army destroyed the one-room schoolhouse that volunteers built in Samra in 2014 – he sold his sheep and goats and they moved to Toubas. Heart rending. This is how cruel occupation manages to transfer the legitimate inhabitants of the Palestinian Jordan Valley.

We learned that the other 3 families of Samra moved to cooler Toubas for the summer and will be back in September. Inshallah!

Sadly we found 2 dogs that Mahyoub left behind, thirsty and hungry. We filled a utensil we found onsite with the water we had, but we had no food. Bourhan told he had tried to have the dogs join his encampment, but the loyal dogs have been waiting for their owners to return and refused to leave Samra. Perhaps if volunteers bring them dog food, they could tempt the dogs to join Bourhan and he will take care of them.