Tag Archives: Settlements

Another Round of Israeli Military Vandalism at Umm-Al-Kheir

Yesterday morning, Thursday September 8 2011, around 7 AM, the IDF military regime’s “Civil Administration” officials arrived at Umm-Al-Kheir, accompanied by a bulldozer and military forces, to destroy homes.

The residents of Umm-Al-Kheir – situated in the West Bank, roughly 8km north of its southernmost border – are Bedouins, originally living on land that became part of Israel. They were driven out following the 1948 war (see more details here), and in the 1950s purchased the land on which they live, which was then under Jordanian rule.

the 1980s the nearby Karmel settlement was established and subsidized by the Israeli government. Like all settlements, Karmel continues to expand and encroach on more and more Umm-Al-Kheir lands. The “Civil Administration” – which, on land matters, is little more than the executive arm of the settler movement despite being formally part of the IDF – always does the settlers’ bidding. Controlling the vast “Area C”, about half of the West Bank, it issues virtually no building permits to any Palestinian. And for Umm-Al-Kheir, like in other places, this “Administration” has done nothing except to inflict repeated rounds of destruction – in 2007, in 2008, and a demolition order the residents have been fighting since 2009 – which is apparently the legalistic pretext for the current destruction.

The damage done this time around: an outhouse

(see the linked story, for a poignant description of what happens after Karmel settlers succeed in depriving their neighbors of their sanitation infrastructure)

A family’s living tent (note the Karmel settlement’s houses in the background)

And a tin shack that was home to ten souls.

The state-employed vandals notified residents that they will be back in two weeks to destroy some more. Following yesterday’s demolition, the same crew attempted to destroy a nearby power line installed by a Palestinian company. In the process, one of the vandals fell off the electric pole and he is now fighting for his life at the Beersheva hospital.

Please write to the Israeli Ministry of Defense – either directly (pniot@mod.gov.il, fax +972 3 6976711) or to its Mission office in the US (info@goimod.com, fax 212-551-0264).

Ask them to stop these criminal, indefensible demolitions, and to compensate the victims.

Thank you.

At Umm-Al-Kheir, Fighting Demolitions with Art

In November 2009, we reported to you about demolition orders, issued by Israel’s Civilian Administration of the Occupied Territories, against eleven structures in Umm-Al-Kheir (including stone and tin residential structures, lavatory structures, tents, and a tin storage structure). The structures are located in two residential clusters in Umm al-Kheir that are home to five extended families (over 100 children and adults). Thirty years ago, these families have had the misfortune of the Israeli settlement Carmel settling right on top of their lands and living quarters. The continued expansion of Carmel means continued demolitions and evictions for Umm-Al-Kheir.

Following the demolition orders of 2009, the families of Umm al-Kheir began a judicial fight to have the orders annulled. The two lawyers conducting the fight on the locals behalf have succeeded in postponing demolition in the northern-most cluster, that is, the cluster whose residents had been recognized by Israeli courts in the early 1980s as the legal owners of their lands. As for the southern-most cluster, where the courts did not recognize the residents’ ownership of the lands (notwithstanding their legal purchase of the lands under Jordanian rule), all judicial objections have now been overruled, and the court has upheld the demolition orders.

The last chance left of overturning or postponing the demolition of our homes is the appeal submitted recently by the lawyer representing us to Israel’s High Court of Justice. The residents of the southern cluster in Umm Al-Kheir appealed to for help in financing the appeal to the Supreme Court. Israeli individuals with the mediation of the Villages Group contributed most of the money needed to cover the cost of the application (approximately $800).

Among the structures facing demolition is the home of Eid Hathelin, a local artist. You can see Eid, his family and his work in the final extended version of David Massey’s unique video “Eid”.

Eid’s wife, Na’ama, gave birth last week to their second daughter Lin (sister to Sadin).

In the meanwhile, young people from both at-risk clusters erected (with the help of Israeli and international volunteers) a new tent which they designate to become a center for many educational, artistic and other activities. This is indeed a very special initiative that comes from within, one that can bring new light of hope for one of the most persecuted communities in the West-Bank.

If you are willing to help the people of Umm al-Kheir in this new endeavor, or would like additional details, please contact Ehud Krinis at ksehud”at”gmail.

Please Help Rebuild 13 Water Cisterns Destroyed by the Israeli Army

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We relay and fully endorse this message, from Ta’ayush activists with whom we have been working hand-in-hand for years to protect the right of South Hebron Hill (Massafar Yatta) indigenous residents. Please support their rebuilding effort.

Thanks, The Villages Group.

—————-
The situation of the Palestinian cave-dwellers in South Hebron Hills continues to be difficult. They suffer from permanent harassment carried out by the military and settlers. This year, however, has been even more difficult, due to a severe drought.

As if it wanted to capitalize on the harsh conditions, on December 16th, the Israeli military destroyed 13 water cisterns belonging to Palestinian families in South Hebron hills.
(direct link to video here; Ha’aretz news story here)

The military claims that these water cisterns (or reservoirs) were built illegally and therefore must be destroyed. Some were built in recent years with international assistance, and some were built before 1967 during the Jordanian rule, but still (according to martial law) need Israeli re-authorization. Since the military regime’s “Zone C Planning Committees” are dominated by settlers, there is no chance to obtain such a permit. The cisterns are located on West Bank lands that the Israel has designated for the IDF as “firing zones” – areas the military uses as training sites for live ammunition.

The destruction or the water cisterns leaves the Palestinian shepherds without water sources, and forces them to limit their grazing areas. This is exactly what the Israeli authorities intend to achieve. It makes the life of this population, already probably the poorest in the whole West Bank, all but impossible.

In order to help the Palestinians keep their lands and strengthen the Sumoud (steadfastness) of South Hebron area residents, Taáyush activists have started helping reconstruct the cisterns.

We need $4,200 for each cistern. We have set out to reconstruct ten cisterns, please help us accomplish this goal.

Donation can be made to Taáyush:
Via Bank Deposit

Bank Hapoalim
Branch 574 (‘Hapalmach’)
Account no. 160213
Swift code ‘poalilit’
IBAN: IL61-0125-7400-0000-0160-213

Via Paypal

http://tinyurl.com/taayush-jlm
Please mail Anat566@gmail.com with the donation details.
Thank you in advance,

The south Hebron committee of Taáyush Jerusalem

Settler and Military Violence Escalates in South Hebron Hills

A few days ago we reported of the December 14 demolition of old and precious water cisterns by the Israeli military in the desert southeast of Hebron. These actions take place with a clear context; local Palestinian residents do not face only the military ruling their lives, but rather a military-settler conglomerate that is becoming increasingly violent, aggressive and arrogant.

For example, the cistern demolitions were carried out under the pretense that the cisterns (most of which were built before Israel controlled the region) are “unauthorized”. Who “authorizes” constructions in this remote West Bank region? South Hebron hills are part of “Area C” – the 60% of the West Bank which was kept under complete Israeli control in the Oslo accords. The intent of this arrangement was temporary, but since the accords collapsed, Israel has been treating “Area C” as part of its own territory – except, that is, for according any rights to its Palestinian inhabitants. Construction permits in “Area C” are granted by a “Civil Administration” committee manned mostly by ideological settlers. So a key component of the supposed formal authority of the military rule, is in fact directly controlled and manipulated by settler interests.

On December 13 – one day before the above demolitions – 15 settlers attacked the Wadi Ghesh hamlet south of Susya, severely beating Haj Khalil and Ibrahim (who subsequently needed to be hospitalized in Yatta) and causing considerable damage to their tents (see attached photos) – when we called the commander of the military forces in the area “Colonel Guy”, we were not surprised to hear from his manner of reply that he sees the settlers’ attack against the people of Wadi Ghesh as an understandable outburst. A settler outpost had some sheep missing, allegedly stolen by local Palestinians. Therefore, according to the ruling military-settler justice, it is perfectly understandable that settlers – whether the same ones or others sympathizing with them – take revenge upon some arbitrarily chosen Palestinian families, and we should just move on, “no harm done”.

Settlers, apparently feeling omnipotent on the ground but fearing geopolitical developments that will eventually curb their power, seem to be rushing to gobble up more Palestinian-owned farm and grazing lands, and lashing out in violence against vulnerable communities. The military, supposedly apolitical and formally in complete charge of law and order – but in fact completely dominated by settler interests in “Area C” – collaborates willingly.

And so the settler impunity invites more settler violence. Yesterday, Tuesday December 28, at 3 AM, Hajja Sara woke up to the sound of her dogs barking. Coming out of her living tent she saw her two adjacent kitchen tents going up in flames (pictures above). Then she noticed, on the dirt road, a vehicle starting up and driving towards the nearby Israeli Sussya settlement. Her son Ahmed woke up and managed to get the gas tanks out of the kitchen before they exploded.

Friends and neighbors began arriving to help. A firefighting vehicle sent from Yatta was held up by soldiers at a checkpoint, and arrived only after the residents had put out the fire themselves. They used a cistern dug last year, which we at the Villages Group had helped dig. When it was all over it turns out that Hajja Sara’s entire immaculate kitchen had burnt to the ground. The taboun earthen oven located in a nearby tin shack was burnt as well.

Hajja Sara is the sister of Haj Khalil who was beaten by settlers two weeks ago. She is especially vulnerable, living near the road connecting the settlement with the Israeli-run antique site and the notorious Dalia Har Sinai outpost, an outpost which sees its presence in the area as the continuation of a decade-long feud. This, by the way, is the same outpost whose settlers claimed the theft of sheep as a pretext to December 13’s attacks. A year ago Hajja Sara’s family succeeded in preventing a similar arson attempt, but they are the ongoing target for harassment and provocation such as young settlers speed-driving with ATV’s by their tents (two of the family’s dogs were run over during the past month).

The military and police authorities are, of course, well aware of the identity of the natural suspects for both attacks. Unfortunately, given the track record showing the settlers and military as two arms of the same effort to uproot the local population, and the total impunity accorded to the settlers by the military, there is little hope that any serious investigation will take place.

Instead, we ask you to contact Israeli embassies and consulates to alert them of this escalating wave of government-backed, government-sponsored criminal activity. Perhaps they will be more cognizant of how this makes Israel look.

Not less important, we continue to support our friends in the region in at this difficult time. If you would like to help us rebuild Hajja Sara’s kitchen, please contact Ehud at ksehud@gmail.com. Thank you.

Update, January 12: we received some indirect and yet unconfirmed information, that Yatta’s fire department thinks this might be an accident rather than arson, caused by a fire starting in the taboun behind the kitchen tent. Please see a fuller description here. We will continue updating this post as we know more.