Israeli forces steal Palestinians' donkeys, try to sell them back to owners

Published August 3rd, 2016 - 12:58 GMT
A sign on a concrete block reads "Firing area entrance forbidden" in Hebrew, Arabic and English (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
A sign on a concrete block reads "Firing area entrance forbidden" in Hebrew, Arabic and English (AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

In a particularly audacious act, Israeli forces have attempted to make a quick buck by trying to sell the donkeys they stole from Palestinian farmers in the Jordan Valley back to the farmers themselves.

Written in a Palestinian newspaper, Israeli forces advertise “40 donkeys for sale,” having seized the animals just days before.

Unfortunately for the Palestinian residents of the Jordan Valley, where housing demolitions and Israeli army raids are the norm, the seizure of the animals comes as nothing unusual.   

However, the notice in the Palestinian newspaper, advertising “40 donkeys for sale,” does tend to rub salt into an already very open wound.                                                                                          

According to the advert, the donkeys will be auctioned off if unclaimed by their owners, but reclaiming their own property will be costly.

Arif Daraghmeh, head of a council of 26 hamlets in the valley's Al-Maleh district, said they have to pay fines of up to 2,000 shekels ($526 USD) for each donkey.

The Israeli authorities have defended themselves, claiming they round up wandering livestock as a means for public safety, especially to reduce road accidents.

But for many Palestinians in the Jordan Valley, the seizure of donkeys constitutes just one small aspect of Israel’s systematic attempts to have them removed from the area, which is rich in valuable water resources and farmland.

According to Israeli NGO B’Tselem, Israel has taken various measures to annex the Jordan Valley, preventing the development of Palestinian communities, destroying homes in Palestinian Bedouin communities and denying access to water.

Given Israel’s track record in the Jordan Valley, and the Palestinian territories in general, the donkey seizures and consequent reselling may not be the biggest issue. Although perhaps the Israeli forces could do with a lesson in tact.


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