The IDF iCivil Administrationi demolished water tanks and uprooted irrigation systems in the whole Beqaa Valley, next to the entrance to Kiryat Arba settlement, underneath iHar Sinai settlement, an area which suffers daily harassment by settlers, especially those riding on horseback through the familiesi lands. The community lost much good farmland for the building of Road 60 highway through there, and every single home either has a demolition order on it, or has been totally or partially demolished. In 2002, ICAHD rebuilt the home of Atta Jaber there.
During yesterdayis military action against the Palestinian farmers of the valley, Jeff Halper of ICAHD was arrested and badly roughed up; he narrowly escaped damage to his eye when thrown against a barbed wire fence by the military. The barbed wire damaged the skin near his eye. Jeff was later released.
CPT (Christian Peacemakersi Team) reports:
HEBRON: Israeli Civil Administration, military, and police destroy cisterns in Beqa’a Valley
9 June 2009, by Donna Hicks, CPT
HEBRON, Palestine. In the early morning hours of 8 June 2009, the Israeli Civil Administration, police and military, along with bulldozers and heavy equipment arrived in the Beqa’a Valley situated east of Hebron, and between the Israeli settlements of Givat Ha Harsina and Kiryat Arba.
When CPTers Donna Hicks and Barbara Martens arrived around 9:00 a.m., heavy equipment was lined up along the bypass road running through the area, and bulldozers, civil administration representatives, soldiers and police were at several sites destroying cisterns and pulling up irrigation pipes from Palestinian farmland, preparatory to hauling the pipes away. The work continued throughout the morning and afternoon, concluding around 3:00 p.m.
The Israeli military injured five people, including two Palestinians wounded when a mother intervened in the beating of her son. Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions was arrested when he protested the actions of the Israeli military at one of the sites.
In total, the Israeli military destroyed six cisterns, hauled away many feet of irrigation pipes from Palestinian fields, and took down an electricity pylon and power pole. Palestinian farmers build cisterns to collect rainwater to supplement irrigation of their crops. The area is suffering from a multi-year drought. Stop work orders and demolition orders are frequent, because this area is under total Israeli control and it is nearly impossible for Palestinian residents to get permits for building and improvements.