Ramallah: Israeli regime forces are poised to demolish the village of Atir-Umm Al Hieran inside the Green Line to make way for a Jewish colony to be built in its place. Hundreds of indigenous Palestinians will be left homeless as a result with no alternative residence option being offered to them.
The village residents as well as thousands of other Palestinian citizens of Israel, including members of the Israeli parliament (the Knesset) and international supporters, have visited the village to try to prevent the demolition which is to be carried out imminently. The Israeli forces and their heavy machinery have already been deployed to get the job done.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has lodged an appeal with the Israeli Higher Court of Justice to issue a precaution order suspending the demolition until further notice.
The Higher Follow Up Committee inside the Green Line that is recognised by some countries as Israel’s international border, said in a statement that the current situation is so tense that a few months ago the Israeli Higher Court of Justice ordered the total eviction of the village and ordered the Israeli state to find the village’s residents an alternative place to stay.
“The Israeli forces have not taken the allocation of new homes for the residents into consideration at all, and will demolish the village without any regard for the residents who will end up homeless,” said the committee.
The committee holds the Israeli forces fully accountable for the implications of the demolition, noting that as a committee they have been using all possible means at their disposal to spare the village.
“This is a new Nakba (catastrophe) facing the residents of the village,” reads the statement.
The statement notes that the residents of the village have lived in the area since 1948. They have struggled to gain approval from the Israeli regime for any infrastructural projects; all the villagers’ demands have been consistently rejected, the government’s position being that the village is an unrecognised and illegal entity.
In 2003, the Israeli regime officially announced that the “illegal village” of Atir-Umm Al Hieran would be demolished, declaring a plan to replace the village with a Jewish colony.
According to the committee, the Israeli regime has been accelerating demolitions in the Al Naqb desert, which constitutes two thirds of the total size of historical Palestine, in order to put all the region’s lands and properties under full control of the Israeli regime. The committee said that Israel does not recognise 51 of the villages in the Al Naqb as legal, and these are scheduled to be demolished and used later for the building of Israeli communities.
The Israelis have attempted to demolish the village of Umm Al Araqeeb in the Al Naqb 110 times. After each demolition the residents have rebuilt their village, insisting that nothing would change the fact that it is their home.