Demolitions in Wadi Jheish (Southern Susiya)

Sunday, June 19, 2016


In the month of Ramadan we visit the tents of our friends in South Mt. Hebron only in the evenings, for the Iftar (the fast-breaking meal). During the day most of the people sleep or just rest, weary and trying to save energy during the long and hot hours of fasting.

An so, one evening, a week ago, we came to visit Tamam and Haj Halil in Wadi Jheish, in the southern part of Palestinian Susiya. Intimate and calm and deliciously tasty was that evening. Tamam and Halil are our close friends for years. Since settlers beat them and we accompanied Tamam when she was hospitalized in Beer Sheva with a head injury.

This woman has light in her eyes, said my granddaughter to her mother on our way back from the Iftar.

This woman, her husband, her children and grandchildren – I hugged them all today and with them I cried.

At two o’clock we were informed that demolitions are taking place in Wadi Jheish. After a short inquiry we realized that targeted are the home of Haj Halil and his wife, the home of their son, and a sheep pen who posed a special risk to the security of the Jewish state.

When we arrived, the military force – its soldiers, officers and bulldozers – was already gone.  Remained were the tent homes, demolished to their core, most of their contents not spared, beaten people, spilled food. People between rage and despair – hanging around helpless, trying to gather whatever could be saved from the ruins. Those who asked to take out their belongings from the tents before they were demolished were answered with beatings.

They received the demolition order six days ago and tried, with their lawyers, to annul the decree, even today, but to no avail. Have you not demolished people’s home and beat them? the question is ringing in my ears, reminding, in tone and spirit, the question “Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?” turned to King David about the vineyard ofNaboth the Jezreelite, in a place not far away from Wadi Jheish, in other times. Lessons are not learned.

Later I dared to look at the video taken by Hesham (the son of Tamam and Halil) during the demolition of his home. Bulldozers with their drivers, soldiers and officers with their demeanor – all of it brought back scenarios we were taught we shouldn’t forget. It wasn’t such a long time ago. Just the scenery is different. Are lessons not learned?

We sat in silence, just hugging. Being with their pain. Being in pain.

Youngsters, elderly and children remained without a roof over their heads. Tomorrow will also be hot. Tomorrow will also be a day of fasting. We will bring food for dinner today. Andtomorrow. Today, and maybe also tomorrow, interviewers from one or the other TV channels will come, and one or another NGO, or maybe even the Palestinian Authority, will supply them with new tents. And then the wheat will grow again and life will resume its course. Only the wounds of the heart heal slowly, if at all. And if they heal, they leave a scar, like the scar in Tamam’s face from the time settlers smashed her head. Today she was still crying about that too. And the children who saw what they saw today? Not only how their home is being demolishes. They also saw how their father and their mother are being beat.

At the checkpoint, on our way back, we were asked whether we’ve seen something unusual on our way. “No,” we answered. Such home demolitions are not unusual, we thought …

I am on my way to my granddaughters. I ask myself what shall I tell Roni, who is five years old, if she asks me why I arrived later than usual. But Roni doesn’t ask anything. She just suddenly say: “Grandmother, I want to sing you a song.” And this is the song she sang, by Uzi Hitman:

Dear God, I want to tell you

A dream I had at night in bed.

And in my dream I saw an angel

Coming from the sky, and saying:

I came from the sky, I have been traveling

To bring a blessing of peace to all the children.

And when I awoke, I remembered the dream,

And I went out to seek a blessing of Peace.

And there was no angel and there was no peace

And I am with the dream.

I froze. Shivers went up and down my spine. How did she know to sing for me this particular song on this particular day?

I cried again. The second time today.

There are many days of tears in this tough land.


Erella and Ehud (in the name of The Villages Group)

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  • Christopher Rushlau  On June 23, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    I got a shiver when I got to the end of the song, too.
    This is a totally new you writing here, a flesh-and-blood you. Spontaneous. Free. Alive.

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