Israeli Occupation Builds Villas for Carmel Settlers, Destroys the Hut of their Widow Neighbor. YOU Can Do Something about it.

Miyaser Al-Hatheleen is a 45-year-old woman living in Umm al-Kheir, South Hebron Hills. Her house was first demolished by the Israeli Occupation authorities in October 2008, together with other dwellings belonging to her relatives (see our original 2008 report about these demolitions). In July 2009, Miyaser’s husband Salem passed away, leaving behind him his widowed wife and their seven children: Manal (now age 18), Tareq (17), Husam (15), Ahmad (13), Khulood (11), Maysoon (8) and Gamila (6).

No, this is not the home the Occupation authorities is building for Miyaser in compensation for the 2008 demolitions. These are villas being built only a few minutes walk away, expanding the Carmel (Karmel) settlement, on land confiscated and/or denied from the local Bedouins and Palestinians. This construction is underway with heavy subsidies from the Israeli government, whose political pretext for the expansion is “natural growth of the settlements.”

After the 2008 demolitions, Miyaser’s extended family at Umm al-Kheir built for her and her children a small house – or rather, a hut – made of mud and stones:

Yet, even this extremely poor dwelling place was too much in the eyes of the Occupation regime. Last week, on January 25 2012, while the heavy machinery keeps swallowing the hill near Carmel settlement in order to make room for the building of spacious new houses for Umm al-Kheir’s Israeli neighbors, a “fellow bulldozer” made its way to the indigenous village – not for construction, but for demolition work that left once again Miyaser’s home in ruins. It should be noted that the past few weeks in Israel-Palestine have been very cold and wet. Umm-Al-Kheir sits some 800m above sea level, with nightly temperature near freezing.

Over the last weekend, the Hatheleen family of Umm al-Kheir and activists of the Taayush movement erected together a small tin home for Miyaser and her children.

A different, yet effective way of helping Miyaser, even by those of you who live far way, is suggested by us here: Miyaser is a skillful embroider. She is willing to sell her embroidery art, such as table maps and runners.

During the last year we have been able to sell several of Miyaser’s embroidery pieces here in Israel, and also in Durham, United Kingdom (by the help of our friends there, Shlomit and Alison). Anyone who wants to help Miyaser and her family by buying her embroidery works (or in another creative way), is invited to contact us at our Villages Group’s address: We will ship Miyaser’s art to you. If you live in the UK, Villages Group activists are due to visit Shlomit and Alison soon and bring them a new collection of Miyaser’s embroidery.

Ehud Krinis on behalf of the Villages Group (with additions from Assaf)

PS: this recent demolition is part of a broader pattern, that has been continuing for years but escalating recently. For more background about the current wave of Occupation vandalism in South Hebron Hills, and in West Bank Area C in general, see this post from November, and this one from 2009.

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  • Abigail  On February 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    It is so apparent that these so-called orthodox settlers (the majority) are willingly ignoring Torah/halachah: to oppress and rob a widow if not a human being to begin with and on top that her house! Plus she is a widow. Her children orphans. Anybody with any grain of knowledge of Torah, the Bible or Qur’an knows that these are grave violations. But as apparently the mafia is in charge in Israel anything goes. The more evil the better so it seems. Why don’t I read this in the Western press?

    • Assaf  On February 8, 2012 at 8:00 am

      Abigail hi,

      Yes, it was easy to present Judaism as “the religion of justice” as long as we were a downtrodden people. Now that we are soveriegn and powerful, we discover we are no better than others. The sad irony is that many Jews think that the Western press talks about this too much! They would prefer the world to look the other way, while these “facts on the ground” are being perpetrated.

      I wonder if you’ve seen the post we published a few months ago, that specifically addresses the moral-religious hypocrisy of Karmel’s settlers:

      That being said, the system that oppresses and disenfranchises Palestinians, both Occupied and (using milder methods) also within Israel, is a secular one. It has been set up and maintained by secular governments and a secular military – and not in the name of religion.

      • Abigail  On February 23, 2012 at 11:43 pm

        Hi Assaf (Ashaf like the poet in Tehilim?)

        Thanks for your response. I agree with you. It was not meant to attack my own faith or people who are dati/orthodox. I know that the settlers can do/are acting with impunity because of the crimininal policies of the consecutive Israeli governments maybe even since the birth of the State of Israel itself. (Why otherwise would there be an organisation in Israel called “Zochrot”?). To tell you the truth, I am an optimistic, lively and sunny woman but every time I read something about this horror that we are inflicting, I feel dark inside. Powerless. I pray. That is my weapon and living in Europe can not make me demonstrate otherwise my total contempt for some of my fellow Jews. Kol Yisrael acharait ze al ze. God forbid I would be punished because of these. Why don’t we learn? No one can say the people do not know: every Israeli is or has been in the army. At least two or three years.

  • shergald  On February 8, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Thanks Assaf for keeping these ongoing injustices toward the most needy of the Palestinians in print. Their slow ethnic cleansing has continued now for over forty years. When will it stop?


    • Assaf  On February 8, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Thank you Shergald,

      Long time no see 😉

      I would like to think that we will be able to stop this in our lifetime. The Arab Spring has renewed my hope that this will indeed happen. As far as I can tell, this Spring has only just begun.

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