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A Thirst for Justice: Six Palestinian Wells Demolished in Jenin

Friday, 15 June 2012 08:42 - [5-12 June] - Ref.: 127/2012
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demolished-wellOn Thursday 7 June 2012, six water wells were demolished in the villages of Beit Qad and Deir Abu-D’if, east of Jenin. These incidents are part of the increasing trend of water well demolition operations in the West Bank at the hand of the Israeli authority.

The Israeli army carried out the demolitions claiming that the wells were constructed without the required permits from the Israeli authorities. The owners of the wells reported that they received no notification of the demolition orders prior to the wells destruction.

Mahmoud Sharif ‘Abd-al-Razeq

Mahmoud Sharif ‘Abd-al-Razeq is a farmer and lives in Deir Abu-D’if village, east of Jenin, comprising of approximately 7,000 inhabitants. Mahmoud owns 20-dunums of agricultural land (one dunum equals 1,000 m²), on which the water well was located. The well was 235-metre deep with a 40-centimetre diameter and, nine years ago, its construction cost some 40,000 Jordan Dinar (about USD 56,400).

On 7 June 2012 at around 7.30 am, an Israeli military convoy composed of ten jeeps and two yellow bulldozers arrived in Deir Abu-D’if village. The convoy was also accompanied by one white jeep, belonging to the Israeli Civil Administration. The bulldozers proceeded to demolish various wells in the village close to Mahmoud’s property. At 10:00 am, the Israeli officials arrived at Mahmoud’s land, and within minutes demolished his well using a bulldozer. Mahmoud protested with the Israeli soldiers against the demolition, with the latter reacting with violence by assaulting and beating him. Mahmoud was pushed to the ground and forced to back away from the area after the soldiers aimed their rifles towards him. Mahmoud was informed by a soldier in Arabic that the demolition of the well had been carried out due to the lack of a permit. Mahmoud did not receive any notification of the demolition order prior to its execution. The demolition operation lasted for almost 20 minutes under a tight military closure of the area; eventually the Israeli convoy vacated the site.

The water well demolished was essential not only to Mahmoud’s land, but it also served the owners of the agricultural lands adjacent to his property, feeding water to a total of 40-dunums of agricultural land.  Additionally, 20 farmers who worked on Mahmoud’s land and their families were also adversely affected by the demolition of the well. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7485/2012)

‘Issam ‘Izat Yasin

Demolition-of-the-water-well-in-villages-east-of-JeninOn the same morning, at around 9:00 am, an Israeli military convoy reached ‘Issam’s land in Deir Abu-D’if village. The convoy was composed of 12 military jeeps, two yellow bulldozers and one white jeep of the Israeli Civil Administration. The convoy surrounded the land and immediately the bulldozers began the demolition operation. As ‘Issam argued with an Israeli soldier, he was informed that the demolition was carried out under the allegation of water theft and due to the lack of a building permit.

Some thirty minutes later the bulldozers had completely destroyed the well, water pump, the electric installation, and the water pipes. In addition, the bulldozers closed the well by filling it with earth. The well was 240-metre deep, 45 cm in diameter and, nine years ago, its construction cost approximately 50,000 Jordanian Dinar (about USD 70,500). The destruction of the well resulted in a substantial loss for ‘Issam and his community. The water well was used by ‘Issam for irrigating his crops and for drinking purposes. Also, the water extracted from the well was supplied to the residents of the nearby communities, including a chicken farm. (Al-Haq Affidavit 7484/2012)