The Israeli state began 2023 with a clear effort to move aggressively forward, carrying out demolitions against Palestinian families. Between January and the first few days of February, Israeli forces demolished 147 structures in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, displacing 210 people and affecting more than 3,600 total (UN OCHA). Among the structures, homes made up the most significant type of structure to be demolished, followed by agricultural structures and other buildings relating to livelihood.
On February 2nd, Israeli forces demolished two homes belonging to brothers Muhammad Ali and Khaled Muleihat in Duma. In demolishing five structures, including a water well and a farmhouse, three families totaling 15 people — including nine children are homeless in the middle of the winter and rainy season. According to reports, the families had filed a legal injunction through JLAC to stop the demolitions, but the demolitions were carried out regardless.
This demolition and displacement of these families resulted in the horrific video above, evoking memories of Palestinian displacement in the Nakba, Naksa, and the ongoing threat of ethnic cleansing for our communities across Palestine. Duma is a small community located southeast of Nablus city and surrounded by Israeli settlements. Like many other communities in Area C of the West Bank, its position and land make it a target for demolitions and attacks as part of a larger effort to displace the community and pave the way for a takeover of the land by Israeli settlers.
This campaign of demolishing Palestinian homes while it has always been a key feature of the Israeli state. The current ultra right-wing political formations have gained new power in the Knesset, which has translated into new policy of hyper-displacement and settler violence. These ultra-right-wing political formations have been primarily financed by charitable funding from organizations registered in the US, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere. Find out more about what Palestinians are doing to combat the flow of charitable monies to right-wing Zionists groups. Defundracism.org.
In Khan al Ahmar, the village which has successfully resisted forced displacement amidst pressure from the Israeli state and settler organizations for four years, the situation has become increasingly tenuous again. With the ultra right-wing organization Regavim continuously lobbying the courts to force the government to take violent action and destroy the community and the very settlers who are engaged in legal attacks and land takeovers in prominent government positions — now is the time for the international community to step up its support for the community.
Eid al Khamis, a spokesman for the community, has stated that he believes the state has begun preparing for the demolition of the village and displacement of its residents, with settler leaders Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich considering this a top priority to move forward with the E1 settlement plans and finalizing Israeli control over all of the Jerusalem area. On January 23, a tour of the area by Likud members resulted in their public call for the destruction of the village. While there is a delay, many believe that the forced displacement of the 200 community members may be forthcoming within the year. While al Khamis has reiterated the community’s determination to remain, he has also described the trauma and anxiety its Palestinian residents face under the weight of the possible ethnic cleansing, “Everyone here is apprehensive. The residents cannot sleep or rest, especially the children and women”.
Read more about Khan al Ahmar here.
Read more about Regavim, the settler organization pushing for Khan al Ahmar and many other communities’ displacement, and what you can do here: defundracism.org