Two homes destroyed in Jalbun village, east of Jenin, by Israeli forces amid daily violations

Two homes destroyed in Jalbun village, east of Jenin, by Israeli forces amid daily violations
The locals say that the Israeli occupation has turned the village of Jalbun into a large open-air prison.
4 min read
West Bank
04 June, 2024
Palestinian residents in the village of Jalbun, east of Jenin in the occupied West Bank, look on as Israeli forces demolish two homes. [Shatha Hanaysha/TNA]

On Monday, Israeli forces demolished two houses in the village of Jalbun, east of Jenin, under the pretext that they were constructed without a permit from the Israeli authorities. The Israeli army didn't give sufficient time for the homeowners to take their belongings from their houses before the start of the demolition process.

The owner of one of the houses, Maleka Abu Rob, said to The New Arab, "This is me and my husband Rashid's home. We have lived here since we got married 40 years ago. My husband built the house in 1982 before the settlements existed and even before the Israeli segregation wall was built. At that time, there was no electricity, no water, and not even a road leading to our house."

"I am surprised that the occupation demolished the house without any prior warning. They didn't give us time to empty its contents. When we received the demolition order last year, we filed a case in the Israeli courts to protest the decision, but it was rejected. They said our house was built in a closed military area, even though our house is far from the wall and the [Israeli] settlement," Maleka continued.

She tells us that what happened this morning was that Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by military vehicles, passed in front of her house and headed to the other house, starting its demolition. At that time, Maleka thought the demolition was for the other house, but when they finished destroying the first house, they returned to her house. She was shocked to find out they were going to start demolishing it too.

"They didn't even tell me the demolition would take place today, so I couldn't remove the belongings from the house. I managed to take out some items, but when I placed them next to the house, all the demolition debris fell on them," she remarked. 

The head of the village council, Ibrahim Abu Rob, said that the Israeli occupation forces demolished two houses. One of the houses was inhabited by 7 people and had an area of 300 square meters, while the second house was inhabited by 6 people and consisted of two floors, each with an area of 150 square meters.

According to Abu Rob, the Israeli occupation authorities had previously issued demolition orders for four houses on the outskirts of Jalbun village, in addition to two other houses in the centre of the village.

One of the village residents said, "Our village has been under siege since October 7th. We are subjected to oppression, humiliation, and persecution. Where is the Palestinian Authority in all that is happening to us? The residents of our village are primarily agricultural, and they make their living from farming. Our homes and agricultural facilities are being demolished, and we don't see any action from the Palestinian Authority".

"Here is my cousin's house being demolished, yet I don't see any response from the PA, not even to provide them with a tent. Where will the family go today? This land is ours, and the land on which the settlement is built belongs to my grandfather, my uncle, and our relatives. My grandfather, who is older than the state of the occupation." He said.

These violations are not the first for the village of Jalbun. Since 7 October, the village has been subjected to daily repeated raids by the Israeli forces. Some houses have been turned into military points by the Israeli army, preventing the Palestinian owners from accessing their homes for days.

The locals say that the Israeli occupation has turned the village of Jalbun into a large open-air prison by setting up checkpoints at various entrances, hindering the movement of the villagers in and out. They have also started launching gas bombs at homes and residents, prompting school to suspend classes for students for ten days in late April.

Earlier, the Israeli forces also obstructed the work of farmers and prevented them from accessing their land along a stretch of 5,000 dunums along the route of the Israeli segregation wall surrounding the village and destroyed agricultural roads.

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According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, Jalbun is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlements: "Ma'ale Gilboa," "Merav," and "Melekh Yishua," all of which were established after 1976. Additionally, the separation and expansion wall was built on its lands in 2004, after seizing approximately 1,500 dunums of land from the residents for the construction of the wall, which deprived the majority of the villagers of their lands. 

The Israeli occupation authorities prevent the villagers from undertaking any construction activities within the 3,000 dunums near the wall. Several houses in the village have been demolished in that area, and others have received orders to halt construction and development.

The population of Jalbun is 3,500 people. Historically, the village covered an area of 34,000 dunums until 1948, when Zionist forces seized the land. After the construction of the Israeli segregation wall in 2004, Jalbun shrank to approximately 8,000 dunums.