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'Israeli soldiers render Bedouin family shelter less'

Workers dismantle tents during a demolition operation led by Israeli security forces, of a Palestinian Bedouin encampment in the area of Humsa, east of the village of Tubas in the Jordan Valley, on July 7, 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
Workers dismantle tents during a demolition operation led by Israeli security forces, of a Palestinian Bedouin encampment in the area of Humsa, east of the village of Tubas in the Jordan Valley, on July 7, 2021 [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

A Bedouin family, which included two children, are spending cold winter nights under the open sky for over a fortnight in the village of Ein Samiya, 40 kilometres (24 miles) east of Ramallah, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mustafa Kaabneh, a sheep farmer and father of Yasmeen, 7, and Waad, 4, said the Israeli authorities have demolished his shelter and confiscated his tent and other equipment used for sheep rearing.

He said that he has lost some $10,000, because of demolition and has been threatened with further displacement if he reconstructs his home.

Israeli authorities aim to force Bedouin families living in Ein Samiya to leave their village to accommodate Jewish settlers. These families had been earlier displaced from Al-Auja village on the north-east of Jericho after the war of 1967.

"All of us here rear sheep, but the settlers banned us from reaching the grasslands and the army protects them all the time," said Kaabneh.

According to the Bedouins, the settlers have occupied more nearly 90 per cent of the total area of the grassland and are not allowing them to continue with the farming.

READ: 3 Palestinians injured by settler attack in West Bank

"When my father was displaced from his village, he lived here and worked on sheep farming. Our suffering was renewed in 1979 when the settlement of Kohav Hashahar was founded. From that time, until today, we are exposed to the assaults by the settlers who are protected by the army soldiers," said the farmer.

He said the Israeli soldiers arrested his cousin recently because his livestock was grazing on a mountain.

"The army forced my cousin to pay 8000 shekels ($2532) as a fine. He had to sell half of his flock of sheep to pay the penalty," said Kaabneh.

The reduction of grazing space has forced farmers to sell part of the flock to buy fodder for the remaining sheep, while the settlers are allowed to graze their sheep freely without any cost.

Threat of displacement

When, three months ago, Kaabneh had taken his sheep far away from the settler areas to allow them to graze in a safe area, the army officers threatened him.

On 23 November, the army demolished the tents and confiscated everything Kaabneh had in the home, leaving them to spend winter nights under the open sky.

"The relief organisations may give me new metallic equipment and tents. But this will not stop the Israeli threats. After a few days from the demolition the officer again threatened that he will demolish everything again," Kaabneh said.

READ: Recognition of Bedouin villages will be blocked by right-wing conditions

The Bedouin communities in the north-east of Ramallah have been exposed to a systematic demolition process for several years. They say that Israeli authorities want to clear the area to prepare it for more Jewish settlements.

Living without electricity and other means, Kaabneh has been facing the ire of settlers. He has to accompany his daughter every day to reach school, which is 6 km (3.3 miles) away.

With his family still living without electricity, Kaabneh said he is facing many difficulties in taking his daughters to their school, which is far away, through the desolate mountains.

"The public transportation never reaches our community, and it is not safe for my children to use the public transportation on Ayalon Street, which is a settlement main road. Any time they are vulnerable to the settler violence," he said.

More demolitions - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

More demolitions – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

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