Thursday is House Demolition Day in the Jordan Valley – #2 Beni Odeh Families

After we said our goodbyes to the two families whose homes were demolished in Mu’arrajat, we received another urgent call.  The military were demolishing four homes in Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar.

We traveled north for 30 minutes along Route 578 past the troublesome Hamra Check Point where two young men were killed on the same day two years ago.

On our left, to the west, is a large plain of agricultural fields.  Near the road the Israeli military has created a long row of earth mounds and on the other side dug a deep trench.  There are two gates that would provide access to Palestinian farmers if the gates were ever open.  Every time we pass they are locked. This means a further journey of 45 minutes to enter the area.

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We skirted the locked gate and drove up over a hill on what was barely a track.  Bone-jarring, teeth-rattling, vehicle-damaging.

And when we arrived at the first home, this is what we saw:

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Beyond the demolition debris, you can see across the highway to the Ro’i settlement, noticeably greener than the Palestinian fields.

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Imad Hassan Abdullah Beni Odeh is giving us the information on the demolition. Three jeeps of soldiers and border patrols arrived with three cars from the Israeli Civil Authority and 2 front-end loaders.  The soldiers ordered the families to leave. The men hired by the Civil Authority threw most of the personal belongings outside on the ground.  The heavy equipment then leveled the homes, damaging some of the personal belongings.

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Imad said that they lack the necessary pastures for their sheep. They lack a secure supply of water and have to pay dearly to have it trucked in, risking the confiscation of the water tanker. They have no shelter. And they plan to stay.

One of the final images that I take away is of the empty bed in a field, a donkey looking quizzically at all of us, and a young woman whose future is unsure.  Image

Is this what our nation, free and secure, supports?

Why is Canada allowing this to happen?

Is this a democracy where all people are equal before the law?

What is our own individual responsibility in complex situations like the conflict in Israel and Palestine?

The questions just keep on coming …

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