On Wednesday, 21 st February 2018, the bulldozers of Israel’s “Civil” Administration (which it calls its military government over 7 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza) destroyed the farm of the Jaber family in the Baka Valley, near Hebron. Normally this would not be a notable event. Every day dozens of actions are taking against Palestinians, from demolishing their homes (52,000 homes and structures demolished in the Occupied Palestine Territory since 1967, the Jabar family’s home itself demolished twice and rebuilt by ICAHD) to uprooting olive orchards and fields to cutting irrigation and destroying wells to detaining children and, virtually every day, shooting a young person who dares to protest.
But Atta’s case is special. He and his family represent every level of resistance to Israeli occupation, from just trying to eke out a living from a tiny farm whose land Israel claims, to having a roof over their heads, to having to defend their home from nearby settlers (who once occupied and burned it), to being beaten and imprisoned by the Israeli army, to testifying before the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The Civil Administration claims the Jaber land is “state land,” although the family has lived on it for generations and has an Ottoman period deed. So, on Wednesday, by surprise, the bulldozers arrived, accompanied by soldiers, and destroyed all the crops in the family’s tiny fields, the terracing Atta had painstakingly done stone by stone for years and the cistern he had dug to collect rainwater (which Israeli authorities stated also belongs to the State). One hundred and fifty fruit trees were uprooted, including olives, figs, grapes and almonds, along with grape vines. Atta estimates the damage at $50,000.
Atta is ruined; his family, which barely eked out a living from its small plot of land, is destitute. ICAHD's Director Jeff Halper asked Atta what he’s going to do now: “Just keep on struggling,” he said.
Tribute to Atta Jaber’s Resilience
On 6th September, ICAHD’s Jeff Halper visited Atta Jaber on his farm in the southern West Bank. It was Atta’s birthday but instead of cake, Jeff was served something much better - maklouba.
Atta showed Jeff around the half acre narrow strip of farmland that runs along the main highway that he is allowed to till. Atta’s farmland with its terraces and established fruit trees located up the hill by his house was bulldozed by the Israeli authorities using JCB bulldozers a few years ago and now Atta is forbidden to farm "Israeli state land" - though he has a deed of ownership that goes back 100 years. In addition, Atta’s olive orchard has been fenced in by the Kiryat Arba settlement, to which he also has no access.
Israeli Bulldozers Target Atta Jaber Family Yet Again
In our September Actions Bulletin, we paid tribute to Atta Jaber, from the West Bank, who has known nothing but oppression and cruelty from the Israeli authorities as well as from extreme religious settlers. Atta’s resilience shines through as does his gentle determination to remain in his home and not be displaced
We were shocked and saddened to receive this news from Jeff Halper who reports on what happened on 25th September 2020.
Settlers Again Target the Atta Jaber Family (13 December 2020)
Extreme religious settlers from Kiryat Arba in Hebron have again been targeting the Atta Jaber family as they intend to make life so difficult for them that they leave their beloved home. On the evening of 13th December settlers arrived outside the front door and called for the family to leave because their home is going to be demolished to make way for a new Israeli settlement. Atta feared that this time the settlers would throw explosives because they have been used against other Palestinians that settlers seek to displace. Atta phoned the Israeli army begging it come to protect his family and this time the army arrived and escorted the settlers away.
The same day, settlers put up a one-room structure near to Atta’s home where it is intended that the new settlement of Nofei Hevron – View of Hebron – is established. As soon as they left, it was pushed over by the Jabers in an act of defiance. In a previous attempt a few years ago, settlers arrived and laid the foundation for the first home of this settlement. Both ICAHD’s Jeff Halper and Rabbi Arik Ascherman rushed to the site and pushed down the stones that had been laid and then they trampled through the wet concrete. Read more »