The Israeli military demolished four concrete houses and one animal shelter on June 4, 2013. All houses belonged to the same family, Mohammed Hussein Al-Zaid and his three sons. They live in the Bedouin village of Nuwei’ma Al Fauq, just north of Jericho.
On Tuesday June 4, Saleh Al-Zeid was on his way to work as a teacher at an UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) School (http://www.unrwa.org/). He saw a bulldozer and the Israeli military driving towards his village. At that time he didn’t know that they were going to demolish his family’s houses. His children were still sleeping in the house. When arrived at the school, he was told that houses in his village were being demolished.
He returned to the village to find his brother’s house demolished. Dayef Al-Zaid lived with his mother, his brother and two sisters.
The owner of this house was distraught and sat crying as we took the story and photos.
Later she showed us how strong winds on Sunday ripped the tent that had been provided by the International Committee for the Red Crescent.
The bulldozer then started to demolish Saleh’s own house, where he lived with his wife, two sons aged 4 and 2 years and their 4-month old daughter.
This where they now live.
The families were not given time to remove their possessions. When people from the nearby village came to support the family and to protest against the demolition, the Israeli military surrounded them, shooting tear gas and sound bombs towards the people trying to reach their houses.
The Israeli military shot a sound bomb at his oldest son, and the canister landed just at his feet but did not explode. His wife injured her hand while trying to save some items from the house. Here he is holding the unexploded bomb …
Hussein Al-Zaid lived in the third house with his wife, six children, his mother and older sister. The mother had to be taken to hospital because of high blood pressure. Notice the clothes hanging on a line stretched from the wreckage to their emergency tent.
Suliman Al-Zaid lived in a fourth house just down the hill from Saleh and Dayeh with his wife and five children.
The families reported that some items were stolen from the houses by the civilian personnel who supervised the demolitions. A complaint has been filed with the Palestinian DCO.
Saleh told me: “As a grown man, I can take anything that the Israeli military does to me. But how do I explain this to my children? How do I keep them safe, keep them warm when the winter comes?”
Saleh told the team that the problems started in 1998 when they settled in the area. Until 2010 they received demolition orders from the Israeli District Coordination Officer (DCO), and in 2010 the Palestinian DCO together with the Israeli DCO came to the area and explained where the family was allowed to build and which shelters they had to move. Since then it has been quiet. Both the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre were present at that time providing legal advice to the families.
Where will this family live? They cannot build again on the same land without receiving another demolition.
Who will care for them?
Who cares about their situation?
What can you and I do to end this violence and inhumane treatment of innocent people?
From the hot and windy Jordan Valley.