Corporate Occupation has completed its latest research, looking at which companies manufactured the construction equipment used to demolish Palestinian homes and property in 2019.
We have analysed each incident in 2019 (such as a house demolition, the razing of a field, or the breaking of water pipes) and we have searched for photographic or video evidence of the type of bulldozer (such as JCB or Caterpillar) that has been used.
JCB machinery has, once again, been used extensively by the Israeli forces and Israeli Civil Administration in Palestine.
In 2019, we found that JCB bulldozers were usually used to carry out demolitions in vulnerable farming or Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley or the South Hebron Hills. The bulldozers were most often used to destroy people’s homes or animal structures, olive and fruit trees. They were also used to destroy wells, and community fresh water systems, cutting off villagers from water sources.
In 2019, we found that incidents involving JCB machines
Affected at least 29,483 people
Displaced at least 123 people
Displaced at least 39children
Destroyed at least 6,784 olive & fruit trees
Destroyed at least 20 water systems
The total amount of people affected by JCB equipment is extremely high. This is because demolitions carried out with JCB bulldozers affected whole villages (rather than just one household) by cutting down orchards or by destroying water systems.
The below table shows the number of demolitions of Palestinian structures, farmland or trees where we could prove 100% that JCB machines were used.
Homes 34 Commercial building 1 Power room 1 Swimming pool 1 Latrine 6 Animal structure 9 Storage/agricultural structure 3 Walls/fences 5 Solar panel 1 Water pipe 7 Water cistern/tank/well 10 Reservoir 3 Sewage works 1 TOTAL STRUCTURES82Trees 6784 Incidents where JCB machines were used to raze land 2 Incident where JCB machines were used by Israeli forces to create road blocks 1
How we compiled our data
We compiled our data by using the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions’ monthly Demolition & Displacement Reports. We painstakingly searched the internet for photo/video evidence of which bulldozer was used for each demolition/razing of land/chopping down of trees.
For around 60% of demolitions, we could not be 100% sure of the bulldozer used, and therefore these demolitions are not included in our final figures. This is because many news agencies and social media users upload stock photos or random photos of demolitions when reporting on a specific incident. If we were uncertain whether a photo was a stock photo, we did not include it in our results.
We used ICAHD’s statistics to record the number of people displaced/affected in each incident, and then added them up to make a total. If ICAHD didn’t record the number of people displaced or affected in an incident, neither did we. For one incident, where 3,000 trees were destroyed, we used the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) statistic.
Israeli occupation warplanes attacked several sites in the Gaza Strip last night. Four Palestinians were injured in the Gaza Strip and six people, including Palestinians, were killed in an Israeli strike on Syria.
Israeli warplanes resume airstrikes on Gaza Strip
Shortly after the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has concluded a security meeting in Tel Aviv today, Israeli warplanes resumed this afternoon airstrikes against targets in the besieged Gaza Strip causing damage but no injuries.
02:55 PM: Israeli warplanes attacked a Palestinian post belonging to the resistance in the southern of the Gaza Strip, in the city of Rafah.
04:50 PM: an Israeli drone targeted a group of citizens in Tuffah neighborhood of Gaza City, no injuries reported so far.
05:05 PM: Israeli warplanes targeted a Palestinian post in the northern of the Gaza Strip.
05:12 PM: Israeli artillery targeted a Palestinian post in the eastern of the Gaza Strip, in the city of Khan Younis.
05:19 PM:Israeli artillery fired a shell towards the northeastern areas of Rafah Governorate.
05:25 PM:Israeli artillery targeted a shell towards the east of the Middle of the Gaza Strip and towards the northern of the Gaza Strip in the Beit Lahia city.
05:39 PM: Israeli artillery renews shelling towards eastren areas of the town of Khuza’a, east of Khan Yunis, and the power cuts in the area.
05:48 PM: Heavy Israeli airstrikes north of Gaza city.
05:50 PM: One Palestinian man at least is targeted by Israeli tanks in Deir al-Balah, in the Gaza Strip.
07:08 PM:Israeli warplanes targeted area in the West of Deir al-Balah with two missiles.
07:13 PM: A Palestinian man is targeted by an Israeli drone missile east of Gaza. WhatsApp Image 2020-02-24 at 4.33.18 PM
Israeli occupation forces on Monday detained 36 Palestinians, including three minors and a woman, in multiple raids across occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoner Society (PPS).
It said Israeli police force rounded up 15 Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh.
In Ramallah district, PPS said Israeli military raided the village of Bittin, northeast of Ramallah city, and detained three minors, all aged 15.
In Hebron district, Israeli forces raided detained five Palestinians, including a young woman from Yatta town identified as Wafa Abu Zahra, who was later released on condition she has to appear in court in April.
Three others detained in the Hebron district were identified as a father and his two sons from Deir Samet town, west of Hebron. The fifth is a resident of Hebron city neighborhood of Jabal Abu Rumman.
In Bethlehem, also in the south of the West Bank, Israeli military raided a home of a former prisoner and detained him.
They rounded up another Palestinian after ransacking the house of his family in Hindaza village, east of Bethlehem.
In the Jordan Valley, Israeli troops raided Aqabat Jabr refugee camp, southwest of Jericho, where they broke into and ransacked the house of Jericho and the Jordan Valley governor, Jihad Abu al-Asal, and detained his son, Nael, who is also secretary-general of Fatah movement in Jericho.
PPS said another army raid in al-Jiftlik village, north of Jericho city, has resulted in the detention of two Palestinians.
Two others were detained from Qalqiliya district in the northern West Bank.
Soldiers rounded up two brothers after ransacking the house of their family in al-Faraa refugee camp, south of Tubas.
In Jenin district, soldiers detained three Palestinians from Qabatia and Kafr Rai towns, southwest of Jenin.
In Nablus district, PPS said a predawn military raid in al-Lubban al-Sharqiya village, south of Nablus, resulted in the detention of a Palestinian identified as an undergraduate student in Birzeit University.
Israeli occupation troops opened fire at two Palestinian youths were in the agricultural lands near the border area in Khan Younis city south of the Gaza Strip early Sunday morning.
Local sources said that Israeli occupation forces killed one Palestinian, and injured 5 others, one of them was with the first who killed earlier, and the others were attempting to recover both of them.
It added that an Israeli army bulldozer is seen running over the body of the Palestinian shot dead by Israeli occupation forces today at the very beginning morning.
Israeli occupation forces managed to take only one body. The second Palestinian survived and he’s only injured after he was rescued by the young Palestinian heroes. He’s alive at the hospital now, local sources confirmed.
This photo shows, how the outrageous sadism of the Israeli occupation forces when its bulldozer ran over the Palestinian dead body:
The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem today condemned Israeli settlers’ violations of its property in the northern Jordan Valley village of Tayasir.
It said in a statement that yesterday “thousands of Israeli settlers entered with no permission and gathered on the land lot belonging to the Latin Patriarchate in Tayasir, near Tubas in northern West Bank, in clear violation of private property.”
The armed settlers were demonstrating in the area under Israeli army protection. Tayasir was only one of several Palestinian villages in that region the settlers broke into in a provocative step to the local Palestinian civilian population.
The Latin Patriarchate said that few days ago the settlers brought their cows to the patriarchate lands and caused considerable damage there.
It protested these and other violations of church property to the Israeli authorities “but – so far – violations to our property continues to take place while the authorities are practically not prohibiting them,” it said.
The Patriarchate said that it is “very concerned not only from the settlers’ violations of its properties, but also from the lack of action by the Israeli authorities to put an end to such offenses.”
It urged the Israeli authorities, “once again, to make sure that law to be respected by all people under their control and to ban further illegal breaking into our properties.”
Israeli occupation forces opened a barrage of gunfire at a Palestinian youth at Lions’ Gate of Jerusalem’s Old City reportedly after attempting a stabbing attack.
Witnesses said the youth, who was not immediately identified and who most likely was killed despite no official confirmation of this yet, was shot several times and left on the ground bleeding before Israeli paramedics arrived at the scene.
Israeli reports claimed the youth was shot and “neutralized” after he attempted to stab police.
Video clips showed the youth lying motionless on the ground outside Bab al-Asbat, one of the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque. They also showed a large police force at the scene and inside the Old City streets.
As in all similar incidents in the holy city, police shut down all gates of the Old City, particularly the gates to Al-Aqsa Mosque, before reopening them shortly after.
Hamas spokesperson Hazam Qassem said on Saturday that the American company Amazon announcement to provide free services for Israeli settlers is a flagrant violation for the International laws and decisions.
In a statement, Qassem said that Amazon company’s decision violated the United Nations resolutions that criminalize settlement and the companies deal with it, as the High Commission for Human Rights published a blacklist of companies dealing with settlements.
Amazon began in November to provide free shipping service to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank while Palestinians living in their towns and villages near the illegal settlements have to pay fees if they put their address as Palestine instead of Israel.
Khader al-Saidi lost his eyesight and sense of smell when Israeli navy forces fired rubber-coated steel bullets at his face while he was fishing in the sea off Gaza.
The 32-year-old was silent at first when The Electronic Intifada came to interview him.
His father, Marwan, had already cautioned that Khader may halt the interview at any moment.
Marwan filled the silence. He spoke of the family’s long history of making a living from fishing, of how his grandfathers used to fish the sea before him and how the 60-year-old’s own sons had followed in his footsteps.
Fishing is an integral part of Gaza’s culture, nutrition and economy. Israel’s routine attacks on fishers in Gaza continue to devastate the industry.
Also in the room was Khader’s friend and fishing companion, Muhammad Abu Riyala, 36, who also spoke about the dangers of fishing outside Gaza.
After a while, though, Khader broke his silence.
“We, fishermen, can’t work in any place but the sea,” he said. “I’m like the fish. If I leave the sea, I die.”
The black night
This was Khader’s way to start talking about the attack that left him blind, an attack that took place on what he has since been calling “the black night.”
On 20 February 2019, Khader left Gaza’s port on his boat with his cousin Muhammad.
The pair headed to the south toward the coast off Khan Younis, Khader said, in the southern area of the territory. They had been working there for two months after Israel had expanded the fishing zone to 12 nautical miles.
At around 10 pm, as Khader and Muhammad were pulling their fishing nets from the water at an area, he said, of approximately nine nautical miles out from the coast, five Israeli navy boats began approaching them.
Without warning, the Israeli soldiers opened fire. They tried to escape but Israeli navy boats surrounded them quickly. Then the soldiers began firing rubber-coated steel bullets towards the two fishermen – 15 according to one count – injuring Muhammad in his chest and stomach, and Khader in his back, leg, chest and face.
When Khader woke up, he found himself shackled by his hands and legs to a hospital bed.
Khader and his cousin had both been detained and taken to Barzilai Medical Center in southern Israel.
“I tried to open my eyes, but to no avail. Everything was black. I started screaming until a doctor came,” Khader said.
“With broken Arabic, he told me that they removed my right eye, and that in the coming hours I would have surgery in my left eye.”
This was Khader’s fifth arrest since he started fishing at 12 years old.
His last arrest lasted a year, he said, and included 37 days in solitary confinement. He was released in April 2018.
When Israel detains Gaza fishers, according to the Palestinian Fishermen Syndicate in Gaza, they confiscate their boats and fishing equipment.
Thus the past two years have cost Khader some $28,000.
When Khader woke up after the second surgery, the doctor informed him that the operation had failed.
The Israeli military then offered him, he said, $100,000. It was hush money so he wouldn’t file a lawsuit.
“Despite losing my sight, and in addition to the financial losses, I never considered saying yes. I refused immediately,” Khader said.
He has filed suit through the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. A researcher there told The Electronic Intifada that Khader’s case has been submitted to an Israeli court, but there has been no response so far.
Nizar Ayyash, head of the fishers’ syndicate, said that “the majority of fishers arrested by Israel were within the agreed fishing area. In detention, the fishermen are subjected to torture and other cruel and degrading psychological treatment.”
In October 2019, Al Mezan, a human rights group in Gaza, found that Israel had committed 1,034 violations against fishers since 2015, using live ammunition a majority of the time.
The fact sheet affirmed Ayyash’s assertion that the majority of violations took place within the limits Israel imposes for fishing.
Israel released Khader after holding him for four days at the hospital.
Two people accompanied Khader to Erez, the military checkpoint separating Gaza and Israel, and left him alone at the entrance with a document instructing him to return to the hospital for medical review on 11 March 2019.
“I didn’t know what to do or where to go. I’ve just lost my sight. I started crying and calling people to help me. Within minutes, a merchant returning to Gaza came to help me,” Khader said.
The merchant asked a driver to transfer Khader to the Palestinian side of the checkpoint. Khader then asked the driver to call his friend Abu Riyala.
Khader and Abu Riyala have been friends for 15 years. They worked together and shared losses caused by Israel; in May that year, Israeli navy forces confiscated Abu Riyala’s $300,000 boat. In 2015, Israel shot and killed his brother, Tawfiq, in his boat.
“I’ll never forget my friend returning to Gaza. His face was puffy and there was blood on his nose and chest,” said Abu Riyala, who supports a family of 17.
“I took Khader to the hospital immediately. They told us that the bones around his right eye were destroyed and the inner parts of the eye and the retina are removed.”
On 11 March 2019, as Khader was preparing himself to travel back for his surgery to reconnect the severed nerve in his left eye, Marwan received a text message telling him that his son has been refused for security reasons.
“The hospital determined a new date for the surgery: May 2019,” Khader said.
“Before the second date, I had the chance to travel to Egypt with my father.”
There, Khader had a glass eye implanted in his right eye socket, while doctors informed him that there was no chance he could regain sight in his left eye.
“I went to the doctors to examine my nose as well. The upper area of my nose is totally damaged but doctors told me that I might restore my sense of smell with time.”
Khader returned from Egypt depressed. He wasn’t sleeping and had no appetite.
“My family stood by me. They tried to reassure me by telling me that there’s still hope when I travel to Israel by the end of May,” he said.
“When the second date for the surgery came, I received another security rejection. We submitted eight requests after that, with the same result every time.”
After seven months of Israeli procrastination, Khader was permitted to travel to the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, a city east of Tel Aviv, with his mother.
“Doctors told me that there’s no treatment for my case, and maybe if I return to Israel after four years they might have advanced treatment for me.”
“Seeing and smelling my children”
By the end of the four-hour interview with The Electronic Intifada, Khader’s wife Hadil, 25, came with their three children: Muhammad, Hashim, and Inas.
Inas, 3, jumped to her father’s lap and asked him to see a scratch on her leg. Khader took a deep breath and told his daughter that she’ll be okay.
“I feel there’s hope, we have to wait,” Hadil said, putting her hands on Khader’s shoulder.
Khader interrupted her, however.
“I’m done, Israel destroyed my life. I’m still young but I lost everything that made me happy: the sea, and seeing and smelling my children. It seems impossible to have this again.”
Recently, Hadil started learning how to embroider to make a living to support her family.
Khader’s story is one among 4,000 fishermen working in Gaza, supporting 70,000 family members, all of whom are subjected to Israeli blockade and violations against this sector.
Economic expert Maher al-Tabah said that “if Israel released the blockade on the fishing sector, this would elevate Gaza’s economy by 27 percent and Palestine’s economy by 9 percent.”
Abdullah al-Najjar is the last boat maker in Gaza.
Fully aware that he plies a vanishing trade, Abdullah, 61, is nonetheless trying to keep it alive in a time-honored way. He is training his son Jamil, 25, so that his skills can be handed on to the next generation.
Abdullah himself began learning how to build boats when he was in his early teens. He was taught how to do so by an uncle.
“Boat making is almost nonexistent in Gaza today,” said Abdullah. “That is because of the high costs involved, the fact that raw materials are scarce and the restrictions placed on fishers.”
Gaza’s maritime traditions have deep roots.
In ancient times, a Greek port known as Antidon was established near present-day Gaza City. Fishing – particularly for tuna, sardines, shrimp and squid – has long been a key source of livelihood for Palestinians living along the coast.
Despite surviving for so long, the traditions are now at grave risk because of Israel’s policies.
The Oslo accords – signed between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization during the 1990s – allowed Gaza’s fishers to work in a zone that stretched for 20 nautical miles. In reality, Israel has never allowed fishers to venture beyond 15 miles of the coast.
Since the beginning of the second intifada in 2000 Israel has reduced the size of the zone repeatedly. The effect has been a sharp fall in the number of Gaza’s fishers – from approximately 10,000 in 2000 to just 3,500 in 2013.
Today Gaza has about 3,700 fishers, only 2,000 of whom go out to sea on a daily basis.
The size of the zone in which fishing is permitted has continued to fluctuate. Israel introduced 20 changes to its demarcation in 2019 alone.
Earlier this month, the Israeli military announced that it was once again reducing the size of the zone. No fishers are allowed to go beyond 10 nautical miles of the coast; in areas south of Gaza’s port, the zone is only six nautical miles.
Israel stated that the reduction was imposed because rockets were being fired and incendiary balloons were being flown from Gaza. Yet Israel did not produce any evidence linking fishers to such actions.
The restrictions on fishers constitute collective punishment, which is illegal under international law.
Fishers have also been repeatedly attacked. The UN monitoring group OCHA has reported that during a two-week period in December, Israel opened fire on fishers off Gaza’s coast at least seven times, sinking one boat.
Throughout his career, Abdullah al-Najjar has made around 30 trawlers. Such vessels are 17.5 meters long, 5.5 meters wide and 2.5 meters in height.
They can command a price of $70,000 each.
Abdullah’s business has nearly collapsed since Israel’s blockade on Gaza was severely tightened in 2007. He has made just two boats in the past 13 years; one of them was for use by his own sons.
“Fishers have stopped buying new boats,” he said. “And they can only mend their old boats when they get help from charities.”
Despite all these difficulties, “I have insisted on teaching my son how to make boats,” Abdullah added.
Of his 13 children, he chose Jamil as the inheritor of his skills.
“Jamil is so talented,” said Abdullah. “He reminds me of myself when I was young.”
“I need experience,” said Jamil. “So far, I’ve only been able to make one boat with my father. I need more practice.”
“Graveyard for boats”
Israel’s tightened siege of Gaza – now in its 14th year – has placed major obstacles in their way.
Israel has prevented a large number of goods from entering Gaza. As a result, vital components of and equipment for fishing vessels – such as nets, fiberglass, electric motors and steel ropes – are hard to obtain.
The shortages of materials and the generally dire economic situation in Gaza have also meant that Gaza’s fishers cannot carry out much-needed repairs on their boats.
Zakaria Baker from the Union of Agricultural Work Committees – which represents both farmers and fishers in Gaza – estimates that there are 300 boats that will not be seaworthy until they are mended.
“We keep them in a place that we call the ‘graveyard for boats,’” Baker said.
Israel has frequently confiscated the boats of Gaza’s fishers.
In 2016, Abdulmuti al-Habil’s trawler was attacked and seized by the Israeli navy. After a lawsuit was filed in Israel’s high court, his boat was eventually given back to him last year.
He went to collect the boat at Kerem Shalom, a military checkpoint between Israel and Gaza.
The court ordered, too, the release of 65 boats which had been seized from other fishers. They have been returned but often without engines and without equipment that was onboard at the time they were confiscated.
“My heart leaped with joy when they told me my boat was being released,” said al-Habil, who heads al-Tawfiq, a fisheries cooperative. “But my happiness didn’t last long. I was shocked when I saw my boat. It was almost destroyed.”
Israel had badly damaged the boat with its gunfire.
Al-Habil contacted Abdullah al-Najjar, who examined the boat. Mending it would cost $50,000, Abdullah calculated.
Al-Habil agreed to that price and received the repaired boat two months later. Both Nabil and Abdullah worked on repairing it.
Trawlers are not the only fishing vessels used in Gaza. Numerous fishers have gone to sea in a small boat known as the hassaka.
Gaza has three workshops for producing these boats, yet none of them is functioning at the moment.
The shortages of materials – especially fiberglass – has made the cost of production and, as a consequence, the retail price more expensive. Fishers would need $8,500 to buy a new hassaka in Gaza, a price that most of them cannot afford.
“The demand for hassakas is very weak,” said Mufeed Jarbou, who has made these boats for the past three decades. “Over the past four years, we have almost stopped producing them.”