Volunteers rebuild part of village demolished by Israel: Israel declares area a "closed military zone".

12:00 Sep 30 2013 Mak-hul (Khirbet Makhool)

TUBAS (Ma’an) – Volunteers from 10 Palestinian grassroots organizations based in Ramallah and Nablus on Monday rebuilt two tents and two steel structures in Khirbet al-Makhoul which Israeli forces demolished on Sept. 16.

Khirbet al-Makhoul is a hamlet in the Jordan Valley’s Tubas district housing about 120 Bedouins living in tents and handmade steel structures. Israeli forces stormed the small village on Sept. 16 and demolished it entirely.

Monday’s voluntary work was organized by the Ma’an Development Center. The volunteers represented 10 organizations which signed a 2011 partnership agreement they called the “partnership for the sake of development”.

Tubas Gov. Rabih al-Khandaqji applauded the volunteers and highlighted that an international organization funded part of the reconstruction job, which included usable remnants of the tents and steel structures. He said the deputy governor and other officials from the governor’s office were sent to the village to oversee the reconstruction process.

“We will continue to support our citizens with all possible means we have in order to help them remain on their lands which are an inseparable part of the independent State of Palestine whose capital is holy Jerusalem,” the governor told Ma’an.

Ahmad Asaad, the deputy governor of Tubas, who also attended the voluntary work, highlighted that Israeli forces deployed heavily in the northern Jordan Valley in early morning hours in an attempt to prevent volunteers from reaching Khirbet al-Makhoul.

“Despite the flying checkpoints, we managed to reach the village and build a number of tents and steel houses to shelter our citizens,” Asaad said.


Village destroyed by Israel declared closed military area

JORDAN VALLEY (Ma'an) -- Israel's army on Monday declared the Jordan Valley village of Makhoul a closed military area, a local council official said.

Aref Daraghmeh, the mayor of al-Malih and al-Madarib villages, said that Israeli forces set-up road blocks at the entrances to the area to prevent anyone from reaching it, official agency Wafa reported.

Israel's army is expecting Palestinian and international activists to visit the area to show solidarity with residents of Makhoul, who were forcibly displaced after Israel demolished their village in the northern Jordan Valley on Sept. 16.

The demolition forcibly displaced 10 families, including 16 children, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

"The displacement of a whole Palestinian community in the occupied Palestinian territory is a very disappointing development at such a delicate moment where we look forward to positive measures on the ground," the UN's humanitarian coordinator James Rawley said.

Days later, Israeli forces used force to disperse foreign diplomats distributing aid to residents of Makhoul.

French diplomat Marion Fesneau-Castaing was dragged out of an aid truck by an Israeli soldier, who later confiscated the vehicle.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton's spokesman demanded an explanation from Israel following the confiscation of humanitarian aid.

The Israeli military said Palestinians were to blame for instigating the incident.

Israel has destroyed more than 500 Palestinian properties in the West Bank and mostly East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, displacing 862 people, according to OCHA.
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