Affidavit No. 5847/2010

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Mukhles Na’im Hafeth Masa’id, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 935970343, born on 25 February 1975, Chairman of Yarza Projects Committee, and a resident of Yarza village, Tubas governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a resident of Khirbet Yarza village, which is located at a distance of approximately nine kilometres east of Tubas city. Housing about 60 residents, Khirbet Yarza includes 10 houses that accommodate about 12 families. These houses are built of bricks and concrete. Only one house owner has a construction licence, which the Israeli side issued in 1975. Owners of the other houses do not have construction licences, because The Israeli occupying authorities refuse to grant residents such licences because the whole area is under full Israeli control. In addition to approximately 20 barracks used for raising livestock, Khirbet Yarza housed a mosque, which measured approximately 100 square metres and was built of bricks and bricks and roofed with metal plates. Designated for ablution, a small room, measuring about 20 square metres, was situated beside the mosque. The mosque was constructed several years ago. As Khirbet Yarza does not have a healthcare centre or schools, residents move to Tubas city for healthcare and education services.

The Israeli occupying authorities treat Khirbet Yarza, which is located in the Jordan Valley, as an area of military training exercises. Therefore, the Israeli occupying forces are constantly present in the area and its environs. On a daily basis, residents are subjected to the danger posed by military training and the use of live bullets during this exercise.

At around 6:30 am on Thursday, 25 November 2010, an Israeli military force, consisting of 25 – 30 military jeeps and three yellow JCB bulldozers raided Khirbet Yarza. The bulldozer drivers were wearing civil clothes. The Israeli occupying forces imposed a blockade on Khirbet Yarza, preventing anyone from entering or exiting the area. As soon as they raided the village, a bulldozer started to destroy the mosque and demolished it completely. Then, the three bulldozers dispersed around the area under protection of dozens of heavily armed soldiers. They demolished many barracks, which were used for raising livestock and storing animal feed. This military operation lasted from two and a half hours to three hours. At around 9:30 am on the reported day, the force left the area.

I discovered that the bulldozers demolished the mosque and 11 barracks. Of these, two barracks were used as residences. My father and brother tried to prevent the bulldozers from demolishing the mosque by sitting inside. However, soldiers evicted them forcibly and at gunpoint. The mosque was demolished under the pretext that it had been built without the construction licence.

About three months ago, the Israeli occupying authorities handed me notices for the cessation of building barracks as well as a notice for the demolition of the mosque, ostensibly because they were built without the required construction licences.

The demolished barracks belonged to and were as follows:

  • Fayez Hamed ‘Abed Daraghma and his son Mithqal had two barracks used as places of residence. They measured 50 square metres each.
  • Na’im Hafeth Ahmad Masa’id had a 120-square-metre barracks and used it toraise livestock and store feed.
  • Hafeth Na’im Masa’id had a 60-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock and store feed.
  • Hasan Khaled Mahmoud ‘Anbousi had a 70-square-metre barracks and used it raise livestock and store feed.
  • Sami Khaled Mahmoud Daraghma had a 60-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock.
  • Mahmoud Fawzi Mahmoud ‘’Anbousi had a 50-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock.
  • ‘Amr Khaled Mahmoud Daraghma had a 70-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock.
  • ‘Muhammad Ibrahim Daraghma had a 70-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock.
  • Fawzi Mahmoud Mifdhi ‘Anbousi had a 60-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock and store feed.
  • Mithqal Fayez ‘Abed Daraghma had a 70-square-metre barracks and used it to raise livestock and store feed.

All these barracks were constructed approximately 10 years ago. When we received the demolition notices, we tried to stop the demolition threat with the aid of a private lawyer, called ‘Abdallah Hammad. A case was filed to the Israeli High Court, but we did not succeed in stopping the demolition. We did not pay any money in return for the demolition process.

It should be noted that the Israeli occupying troops allowed us to take the sheep and livestock out of the barracks, but not the animal feed. Therefore, it was damaged under the rubble. During the demolition process, fire was not opened and no one was arrested.

However, soldiers forced residents of Khirbet Yarza away from the demolition sites.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5847/2010
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 14 December 2010
  • Name: Mukhles Na’im Hafeth Masa’id
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