Solidarity Visit to Al Hadidiya and Makhoul
How does Israel try to expel the indigenous inhabitants of the Palestinian Jordan Valley? By making their life a living hell with cruel harassment, hoping they will give up and leave. A soldier wearing the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces wreaks havoc and damages the residents’ property undisturbed! So far they have not been broken.
Hajje Bsharat infront the rubble the elderly couple’s bedroom
More rubble the sheep and goats unsheltered
After the Israeli army came 3 days ago (November 26th, 2015) and destroyed Abu Saker’s encampment (6 adults and 4 children), that of his son Razi (2 adults and infants) and of Abu Ali (two elderly and adults) – altogether 12 adults and 6 children who remained homeless, the inhabitants returned two days later, and along with international and Israeli volunteers, put up 2 small tents provided by the Red Cross. The army immediately showed up and destroyed the tents.
At night the inhabitants put up 3 tents from the Red Cross at Abu Saker’s encampment area, and another tent for the elderly in Abu Ali’s area. At 4 a.m., in the dark, soldiers came and forced Razi to destroy one of the tents. They forbade the inhabitants to light torches, and the destruction took place in utter darkness. The soldiers further announced that at 6 a.m. they would come back to destroy all the rest. All night no one slept for fear of the soldiers.
At 6 a.m. soldiers came to Abu Ali and destroyed the tent he put up. After 2 hours, at 8 a.m. soldiers came to Abu Saker and left without doing anything.
We arrived at 9:30 a.m. and found the people exhausted and spent. Abu Saker was running a high fever. The man is 66 years old and sleeping exposed outdoors for two nights, as well as the tensions he has been under, simply defeated him. Later we gave him some medicine against the fever and he came back to himself. There was also a British activist of the Jordan Valley Solidarity organization who stayed to sleep there for three nights, and serve as a human shield.
At 12:00, more Machsomwatch members arrived. Guests keep coming and bringing more equipment and provisions, as well as encouragement. Two social workers arrived on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and sat with the women most of the time, consulting and listening to their account of the stress they are under and about the children’s suffering.
We were warmly welcomed and the people there repeatedly emphasized that although they appreciate the aid and contributions, our solidarity with them is more valuable to them than everything else. We also visited the elderly couple who are having a particularly hard time because of their age. Again they have not slept the night, the trauma of the demolition is too much for them.
Before we left, Abu Saker’s small children came back from school with the school van. Children will be children – gleefully running around. 11- year old Awad said no one slept that night. He was not afraid, he said, but the girls were. In school he fell asleep at his desk.
Yesterday Burhan Bsharat replaced the roof of his sheep pen, made of black cloth to shield it from the sun, with a corrugated iron one that also shelters it from the rain. At 6 p.m. two soldiers arrived, entered his dwelling tent, accused him of illegal construction of a sheep pen (It’s a lie! I can attest that this pen has already existed for over a year and there’s a court injunction against its destruction). One of the soldiers claimed that Burhan’s daughter laughed and he began to thrash around and kick various objects, spilt down flour, sugar and cheese, and threw around matrasses. He also described in full detail to Burhan what he would do to his wife and daughter if Burhan were not there.
This morning an officer and that thug of a soldier from yesterday arrived. The officer did not let him enter the tent, and told Burhan (who in the meantime had dismantled the sheep pen fearing the soldiers would destroy both the pen and his home) not to rebuild for a few days, until they decide what to do… What arbitrary brute force! The sheep pen is supposedly protected by the court, but if the soldier or his commander decide to destroy, they have the power to do so. They will simply go ahead with the demolition (just as in March this year they destroyed structures belonging to Burhan’s brother and parents, also supposedly protected by an Israeli court injunction). And then what? The authorities will say “sorry, we made a mistake…” And what will he do?
Addition from yesterday, November 30, 2015
Yesterday – no demolition. Perhaps because of our present, Israelis. But this morning soldiers arrived with fresh brutality and a crane. They demolished everything. Loaded up and took away everything – Red ross tents, metal rods, nylon sheets to cover the animal feed – Everything
6 little children, including a one-year old baby, 3 elderly people, and another 10 people remained totally exposed to weather conditions, to the extreme cold of the desert nights, the winds and the rain that has begun to fall today.
And there is nothing left to do!!
Addition from 1.12.2015
It is International Struggle Against Racism Day! But here we have no such struggle. Racism and its daughter – cruelty, are running wild, unimpeded. After the army yesterday confiscated all the temporary shelters and tents brought by the International Red Cross, as well as rods and other equipment, tonight the people of Al Hadidiya sheltered themselves under nylon sheets. It was raining, not hard but still annoying and wet. In the middle of the night the Israeli army arrived, removed the nylon sheets and took them away.