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Dhaher al-Malih Village Suffers Prolonged Power Outage

Saturday, 22 March 2014 07:42 - [10-16 March] - Ref.:26/2014
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Dhaher al-Malih is a Palestinian village located approximately 20 km west of Jenin in the West Bank. The village has a population of 300 and includes 45 residential buildings. In mid 2003, the village which is classified as “Area C” became completely isolated due to the construction of the Separation Wall. Israeli authorities allocated a gate along the Wall for residents of Dhaher al-Malih to move in and out of the village. This gate is the only remaining passage connecting the village and the rest of the West Bank.

Due to its location, Dhaher al-Malih could be classified a ‘Seam Zone’ area. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories Special Focus Report, 2012, Seam Zones are “closed military zones”, designated as such due to their location in the area between the Green Line and the Wall. According to the same report, with the planned completion of the Wall, over 33,000 West Bank Palestinians will reside between the Wall and the Green Line in addition to most of the 284,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem.

Hussein ‘Abed Khatib –Dhaher al-Malih– Jenin

Hussein, 56, is the head of Dhaher al-Malih village council who attests that the village lacks essential facilities such as a school, a nursery and a healthcare centre. Dhaher al-Malih’s infrastructure is minimal and inefficient.

The residents of Dhaher al-Malih have been suffering a prolonged electricity outage since 8 March 2014 following the breakdown of the village’s electricity generator. This village has always depended on its generator for electricity which runs on green diesel and operates once a day for four hours. This is already a costly system as a resident of Dhaher al-Malih pays almost four times more for one kilowatt of electricity than a resident in Jenin city, for example.

The Israeli authorities have prohibited the village from connecting to the Israeli central electricity network despite the fact that it is only 100 metres away from the village, claiming that the village lacks a structural plan. Hussein affirms that inhabitants of the village have been experiencing harsh conditions due to the electricity blackout. For example, they haven’t been able to use any electrical machinery. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9437/2014)

map-west-bank-access-nd-clousreIn July 2012, Dhaher al-Malih faced the same situation when the electricity generator broke down. However, the village council was able to fix the generator on that occasion as the problem was reparable. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7627/2012) At the time of writing, Dhaher al-Malih remains without electricity.

Al-Haq is greatly concerned by Israel’s policy towards Dhaher al-Malih and its inhabitants which constitute a violation of international humanitarian law including, but not limited to, Israel’s obligation as an Occupying Power to, at a minimum, ensure the basic needs of the population under its effective control. Furthermore, Article 11(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a State party, sets out that states party to the Covenant must recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. In addition, harsh conditions imposed on families confined and enclaved to one village may result in the indirect forcible transfer of the community, which is a war crime and constitutes a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.