torsdag 25. november 2010

"Who can stop this??"

The soldiers from the Israeli Army came to the community Abu Al Ajaj in Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley in 20 jeeps and with 2 bulldozers around 6 in the morning and bulldozed three sheep sheds and one living unit housing a family of 11 members. 

Bulldozed living unit 

Yesterday morning I woke up a quarter to 7 when my colleague Rosmarie's telephone rang. She answered the phone in the living room but I could still hear the voice in the other end from my bed: - There is a house demolition going on in the Jordan Valley! Can you come quickly? I jumped out of bed and put my clothes on, grabbed my EAPPI-vest where I always carry my phones, camera, notebook, pencil, passport, money - well, in short, all I need for such a mission.

We were met with a sorry sight. The soldiers had already finished their job and had left, and there were residues from the demolished buildings all over the places. Some men from the village were still pulling out wounded lambs from the remains of the sheep sheds. Angry and distressed people were walking about.

Wounded lambs

Pulling out lambs
We walked over to the remains of the living unit and spoke with Sadie Adnan, the mother of the family that had their home bulldozed. She has a husband and 9 children. She told us that when the soldiers came they just said that they are coming to demolish their house and commanded them to get outside. The soldiers did not let their neighbours help them carry out their belongings so the family just managed to save some of their belongings before they bulldozed the house. The neighbours who tried to help were beaten and arrested.

Sadie Adnan 
The electricity was cut and several of their water barrels were also run over. - And now we do not have any water! We told the soldiers that this is water for us and our animals, but they did not care, she said. Around 50 sheep and 60 - 70 lambs were in their shelter when it was demolished.

Bulldozed sheep shed
They got the demolition order a month ago. Her family has lived here for many years; all her 9 children were born here. - I will stay here, I will die here, she said and added that they will immediately start to rebuild their units and stay with neighbours in the meantime.

A lamb in the residues
We asked the Mayor of Jiftlik, who along with much media, a representative from the Palestinian Authoritiy and the Israeli Civil Administration, had come to the place. He told us that around 150 people live in this community and altogether they own about 10,000 sheep. On the question why the house of exactly this family was demolished the Mayor said that this family was just picked at random, and that next time some other family's units will be demolished, and the army do not give them any warning, they just turn up with their bulldozers.

- The Palestinians who live here have no documentation of their ownership of the land. The land belongs collectively to Jiftlik, the Mayor explains. The Army had been there also before, in 2008 they demolished two living units and 3 sheep sheds. The soldiers had said that this is Israeli land and that the Palestinians must leave. The villagers have later rebuilt the houses. It was not always like this. The mayor goes on telling us that - before 1980 we were in good terms with the Israeli settlers living the Massu'a settlement, we were good neighbours and were visiting each other. However, with the new generation of settlers everything has changed. Now they are not friendly anymore, they want to take our land in order to expand their settlement.

Emptied water barrels
The Governor of Jericho is also very upset by what happened this day and says that the settlers are pushing the army to demolish and that the Israeli commander in this area is not willing to coordinate with the Palestinian Authority at any level. He goes on callling the Israeli regime an apartheid regime, - which is very clear here, he says. - On one side of the road you have the masters, the Massu'a settlers, and on the other side the slaves who are the villagers. The settlers have their electricity lines above our heads and their water pipes under our ground.

- Who will end this, he shouts.

And this morning we were informed that Israeli forces have demolished another 7 structures in Khirbet Yarza in Tubas, Jordan Valley, displacing 2 families of 11 people. 

The palmtrees of the Massu'a settlement across the road to the Abu Al Ajaj village

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