fassayil, Khirbet Makhul

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Guests: Buma Inbar (who brought the tarpaulins), Shlomo Shapira (who drove the pickup truck with the large, heavy trailer), Tzvia Shapira (reporting)

Demolitions at Fasail, Palestinian Jordan Valley: So much meanness! Such cruelty!

On Tuesday, October 6, we visited a family in the Palestinian village of Fasail, after the Israeli army had demolished their sheep pen. The sight was horrific! In the 42°-centigrade heat, the few sheep that are the source of livelihood for this family stood in a completely ruined shed, without any shade. The place is surrounded by piles of rubble from previous demolitions.

The family lives in a trailer that has not been demolished thanks to a court ruling to delay demolition, achieved by a Jerusalem lawyer. The compound is inhabited by a young couple and the wife's mother. The man does not stop crying and shouting about the injustices that the army and Civil Administration have been perpetrating here.

These are the weakest people in the Valley, and the Israeli army has been harassing them, literally unhampered.

That very evening we spoke with our generous friend Buma, who works tirelessly to help Palestinians, and because of his connections and ability to move mountains, we asked him to get some tarpaulins for the family at Fasail, so they could raise a new shed. The next day we already received 10 new, large tarpaulins.

We spoke with Itamar from Combatants for Peace, and suggested that the youngsters come to help the Fasail family erect its new sheep pen.

On Saturday, October 10, at 8 a.m., we left for the Palestinian Jordan Valley, collecting on our way a single bed and mattress, and a bedding chest - a donation. We encountered no checkpoints and no one minded us. We arrived at Fasail at 9:30 a.m. When A. saw us he was surprised and touched. Itamar got there too, and was shocked at the sight of the destruction, the filth, and the sheep standing in the sun.

We unloaded 4 tarpaulins and A. thanked Itamar and said his neighbors and friends would help him. I hope that when we come for another shift in the area we'll see the sheep pen standing and shading its dwellers.

From Fasail we proceeded north to Makhoul. I. was the first to see us, and asked us to unload 3 tarpaulins for him. N., busy with her children, asked us to sit with them, but we were in a hurry so we thanked her and drove on to A. There were no demolitions there, but the tarpaulins of his dwelling tent were ruined during the summer. We sat there for nearly an hour, enjoyed cold water and delicious tea, and spoke with him and R., his wife. Buma was very impressed with her radiant face and I identified with him, of course. E. spoke with Buma and Shlomo about the tremendous difficulties of life in the hot and dry desert without water after the Israeli army blocked the wells near their tents. They are forced to bring water by tankers from Toubas, bought at a steep price, while the settler colonies of Hemdat and Roi enjoy plenty of water for their farming and swimming pools!

E. kept repeating that if the Israeli army hadn't' been harassing them, their lives would be good and calm in spite of the harsh conditions of nature in this area. Buma and Shlomo, hearing these stories for the first time, were stunned. Even I, who already know it all, am always stunned anew.

We continued to B. but unfortunately, there was only one tarpaulin left. I promised him to bring more as soon as he needed it.  He also shared his difficulty to obtain water at such distances and expenses.

Around noon we began driving north, leaving behind us the boiling Jordan Valley and its deeply troubled communities.