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.