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Israel’s Policy Dispossesses Jordan Valley Bedouins

The demolition of Khirbet al-Makhoul brings to light Israel's long-standing policy of "Judaising" the Jordan Valley and the Hebron Hills, by dispossessing Palestinian-Bedouin residents.
A Bedouin man rests beside his camels after walking through the Jordan Valley, in the West Bank city of Jericho November 25, 2011. REUTERS/Ammar Awad  (WEST BANK - Tags: ANIMALS SOCIETY) - RTR2UGJU
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In the 1980s, when I was a soldier doing regular army service, I was ordered to the Palestinian village of al-Jiftlick in the Jordan Valley. The village residents — so we were told — had received an order to demolish it, and we were to supervise and ensure that it was carried out. We expected the residents to refuse to carry out the order, and that we would be forced to clash with them. But when we reached the place, we watched them carrying out the demolition order on the village without need for our intervention and without connection to us. We were amazed at the way the residents reconciled themselves to the decision. The village, which had existed for hundreds of years, was re-established and destroyed over and over several times, as part of an intentional Israeli policy that we could not understand at the time.

I was reminded of al-Jiftlick about two weeks ago [Sept. 20] when I received a widely circulated email from the UN emissary to the area, who denounced the violence with which the diplomats were treated — diplomats who went to the Khirbet al-Makhoul village bringing assistance. Despite my close familiarity with the Occupied Territories, I had never heard of the village that was demolished the day before on the order of the High Court. The Israeli media did not report on the deed. It only rose to the headlines due to the confrontation that took place on the site.

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