Here we go again – Four Bedouin Homes Demolished near Jericho

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.

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The owner of this house was distraught and sat crying as we took the story and photos.

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Later she showed us how strong winds on Sunday ripped the tent that had been provided by the International Committee for the Red Crescent.

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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.

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Saleh’s two sons, followed us closely, appearing to be tense.Image

This where they now live.

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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 …

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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.

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Suliman Al-Zaid lived in a fourth house just down the hill from Saleh and Dayeh with his wife and five children.

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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.

Here is his wife and his 4-month old daughter.  Image

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.

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2 Responses to Here we go again – Four Bedouin Homes Demolished near Jericho

  1. Peter Short says:

    Norman,
    One of the any things about which you are educating me is the relentless regularity with which this destruction of home and property happens. We receive reports of this through the media only sporadically and only I suppose when it is deemed sufficiently spectacular to warrant media attention. I have no idea what filters may be imposed or voluntarily adopted as editorial decisions are made but your work has helped to keep us aware and informed on a regular basis. Thank you. And be assured that you are in my prayers each morning. Peter

  2. Good afternoon from Jerusalem Peter. I started 3 days off last night with a trip to Bethlehem, with visits this morning with the team placed there, a stroll along the separation barrier with insightful graffiti and a short visit to the Church of the Nativity. Apparently the Armenian Patriarch is ruling the roost these days, followed by the Syrian Patriarch and then further back the Latin Patriarch (Catholic). It was so interesting to hear about the discord among the Christians as the hordes of believers and non-believer tourists mobbed the place. I walked through the checkpoint, a real bovine experience, and hopped on a bus to Jerusalem this afternoon. I will post on the blog about this.

    Thank you for keeping me in your prayers every morning. I hold all of you up every morning, noon and night. It helps to keep me centred on my purpose here, rather than only carrying an immense burden of despair, anger, frustration and helplessness. The real work will begin when I return and start preparing presentations.

    Blessings, shalom, salaam.

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