Al Khader and Al Walaja: Sad meetings before and after demolition

Facebook Twitter Whatsapp Email
Netanya G., Hana Barag, Anat T. (photos and report) Translations:  Danah E.

"Every day, among all the blockades, I feel more and more like an animal".  And we add: a trapped animal.

  • At the Qalandiya checkpoint and the Bethlehem checkpoint, they began to check the magnetic cards of those returning with a permit from the West Bank, to make sure that they do not stay in Jerusalem beyond the daily permit. This has been the  civil administration's wet dream since the "crossings" were opened - reducing the stay in Israel to a minimum, even if a construction worker has to travel every dawn from Hebron to Tel Aviv and back home in the evening. And on and on it repeats all week.
  •  The Jaba/Lil  checkpoint is closed in the morning during the rush hours, until all the settlers pass through towards their destinations.

9:30 Al- Khader, the Dadua family home - we met with the mother, Nafuz, , with Hamed, the AMOS representative (a British charity organization that helps the Palestinians) and the contractor who renovated at the family home. The kids were at school. The entrance to Al Khader has been blocked at the beginning of the war, so the children walked many miles. Ramadan begins this evening, and we brought sweets and a bit of money to buy food.

The atmosphere is heavy - Nafuz is anxiously waiting for 16.3.24, which has been set as the date after which the demolition can happen any day. The legal route was exhausted by the ruling of the High Court of Justice 4 months ago (extremely right-wing selection of judges), and we are gathering advice on how else to protest before or even on the day of the demolition, and what is going to happen if they demolish.

The CEO of AMOS is coming to visit next week and we will try to meet him at the Dauda home. We do not have high expectations for his intervention, although the renovation financed by the organization in 2023 was an expensive bet, designed to provide the family with an improved quality of life within the existing structure. The organization with the greatest influence in Britain, is dealing now with large donations for Gaza refugees, and did not even respond to our requests to try to postpone the decree to more empathetic times through diplomatic pressure. After all, what is the fate of a family in one house on the outskirts of Bethlehem compared to entire neighborhoods completely destroyed in Gaza.

Hamed, a sainted man, who also works in Masafer Yatta on behalf of the United Nations, promises Nafuz that if they destroy the house, he will put a trailer or two in the yard. He suggests, much to our surprise, that we contact a human rights activist from Gush Etzion who might have good connections and be able to help with the protest.

We from the Jerusalem group and everyone who joins, will come, if we know in advance, to demonstrate on the day of the demolition.

10:30 Walaja - Hamed leads us to Walaja, to one of the houses that were unexpectedly destroyed during the war within the municipal area of ​​Jerusalem. The Jerusalem municipality refused to include these 6 houses in the proposal of the outline plan that the residents are preparing with the help of the organization "Bimkom" and "Eir Amim" for the Jerusalem neighborhood of Walaja. This plan has not yet been discussed in court, so the demolition orders for 36 more houses have been frozen and thus they are protected in the meantime.

It was a shocking experience, because we saw the family and their house (Netanya, Claire and I) on a protest tour conducted by Aviv Tatarsky ten months ago in the place. A simple house, one floor without stone cladding (Veneer). I remember where I sat then, and the beautiful woman and the children next to her, all the time the father told the group about the house he built in 2017 on the family property, about the large fines imposed on him in 2020 at the beginning of the legal battle, and about the new demolition order that arrived in May 2023. Today all that is left to do is take pictures of the ruins, and in order to evacuate them, money had to be raised.

We are sitting in the parents' house on the eve of Ramadan 2024, the father tells about the alarmed message from his wife while he was at work, that the demolition workers from the municipality arrived unexpectedly and announced that they would start demolishing in 5 minutes. The terror of the children, the fact that they could only save the living room and the television while everything else was gone, and the children constantly continue to look for things among the piles of rubble. He continues to pay the fines from 2020 until 2025. Fortunately, Hamed and AMOS take care of the destroyed houses and do not give up.

Ramadan Kareem, Al Quds. Hoping for days of freedom of movement, without fear of the destruction of people's lives and their homes and freedom of religious worship for all.