A Report by Erella on Yesterday’s Demolitions in South Hebron Hills

2/3/2021

Dear friends all,

It’s evening. Just got back home from the South Hebron Hills, and am still reeling from room to room, like some plaything that has been wound up, in an attempt to calm down.

Now I stare at the computer screen trying to write something. I get up to make myself a cup of coffee. I pace again.

Sit down at the computer again, and can only write how I cannot write about what happened today.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened today. Several homes were demolished in the South Hebron Hills.

I was there again today.

At 9 a.m. we came to A-Rakeez. Farsi, whose home has already been demolished three times, whose son Harun was shot in the neck by a soldier 2 months ago, ran to us, pointing to the road.

We turned our heads and saw the familiar destroyer convoy – a bulldozer followed by the Civil Administration car and military vehicles.

Shortly they will be busy demolishing. We just don’t know where and whose home.

The locals say it will happen at Khalat A-Dhaba and at A-Rakeez.

Khalat A-Dhaba it was – for the fourth time, the home of Jaber and his brother Omar. The fourth time in a year and a half.

Then they proceeded to demolish the home of Khathem at A-Rakeez. Again, we see the bulldozer crushing a humble abode with one blow of its blade. Poof, and an entire life collapses into the rubble. We watch from a distance – the occupier does not like being disturbed in his work – and experience for the Nth time the pain of those who cannot hold out a hand to prevent the destruction.

We drove on to Jaber, to hold out a hand.

Two weeks ago, we sat with him on the porch of the home he had built after the November 2020 demolition. I asked him what happens if they demolish again, and he answered: “I’ll rebuild”. Now he faces the rubble and says: “I’ll rebuild”.

Ilan of the Civil Administration harasses him personally. When he came this time, Jaber asked him: “Have you come to shoot me as you shot Haroun?”

This is how we stood for a long while, listening to Jaber give interviews to Palestinian media people who curried to the scene. If only this pain could be broadcast in the occupiers’ media, I thought.

When we visited 2 weeks ago, I brought Jaber a photo of a fledgling dove on its first flight. I told him: “Peace is not in our hands, but our freedom cannot be taken from us, and this fledgling dove symbolizes it.”

Today I asked him where the photo was, and he said: “In the rubble…” He fell silent, then added: “But they cannot destroy my freedom”.

Erella

On behalf of the Villages Group

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