Photos by Mareike Lauken and Keren Manor
On January 17, the Israeli army destroyed 55 homes and animal shelters in the Al Maleh area. This large scale military operation happened simultaneously in two separate locations: Hamamat al-Maleh, and further up the valley in Al-Mayta. Al-Maleh and Al-Mayta are two marginalized villages located in the north of the Jordan Valley, near the Tayasir checkpoint.
Of the 55 buildings demolished, 23 were family homes: five in Hamamat Al-Maleh (leaving 37 people homeless) and 18 in Al-Mayta (leaving 150 people homeless). In addition, 33 other buildings used to shelter the communities’ animals were destroyed, as well as some water tanks. Two days later, on January 19, the entire village had been declared a Closed Military Zone and the Israeli army confiscated the community’s possessions, including food, bedding and tents that had been provided to the families by the Red Cross after the demolitions. However, the residents stayed and slept out in the fields with no shelter.
Both Al-Maleh and Al-Mayta, like many villages in Area C, have suffered a continuous pattern of harassment by the Israeli army. They have been subject to repeated demolition orders and only two weeks ago were forced to leave their homes for one night, purportedly due to Israeli military training.