Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, 12/1/2004
It is a sad day for all of us. Today two houses were demolished in Anata. The first one was the big house right next to the one we rebuilt last August during the Summer Camp. This house belonged to the Jaduah Kabu'ah family. The second house was the Dandis home, right next to Beit Arabiya, owned by Mohammed Dandis who every day mingled with us during the Summer Camp.
Jaduah is the brother of Musa Kabu'ah whose house we rebuilt last August during the Summer Camp. Like his brother, Jaduah and his family are Bedouin originally from Tel Arad. Jaduah has three wives and fifteen children. One child was just born a month ago; the eldest is married, with two children of his own. Their large house was built in 1994 at a cost of about $150,000 (US).
The demolition order was issued for the house in 1995 and upheld by the Israeli High Court. The family lived in the house for another nine years until early October this year when the Civil Administration said they had three days to evacuate prior to demolition. The family lived in fear of the demolition for another month and half until the bulldozers actually came, this morning.
After the bulldozers finished demolishing Jaduah Kabu'ah's house they went on to Mohamed Dandis' home. Mohammed bought his land and built hi house with the savings of his late father's pension fund. He, his wife and his six children, whose ages range from 1.5 to 12, are now homeless. They have already spent over $5,000 (US) in lawyers' fees to try to prevent the demolition and now have no savings left.
Members of ICAHD's staff and volunteers were present but unable to stop the demolitions. One of our activists was arrested. Five ISM activist tried to stop the bulldozers but were taken from the site by force.
This is what we witnessed:
There was a bright winter sun shining, but for these two families thi was the blackest day of their lives. At 7am, 300 soldiers completely closed off the area. Three gigantic bulldozers began to slowly climb the hill towards the houses crushing everything in their path.
At 9am, the Civil Administration forces arrived at the house of Jaduah's family; they were given one hour to take all their belongings out. The parents, and the children still in their school uniforms, started to take out a much as they could, mattresses, chairs, tables. After the family took out the most private belongings, African workers hired by the Civil Administration came in and began to take out the heavier furniture and electrical appliances.
Then the bulldozers began to bash in the walls, and in a short while, in place of a two story home, only crooked iron sticks and rubble remained.
The women and the children observed the demolition from the house of Musa Kabu'ah. Tears flowed endlessly from their eyes. Jaduah wa standing nearby with his neighbors and watched the demolition with restrained anger.
After transforming Jaduah's home into rubble, the soldiers moved on to the house of his neighbor, Mohammed Dandis. When Mohammed's small children saw the soldiers arriving, they ran scared and crying hysterically back to their house. After Mohammed understood what wa about to happen, he fainted and remained unconscious for several minutes.
While the Dandis family watched the demolition of their neighbor's home, they prayed that their house would not suffer the same fate, but to no avail. Again we witnessed the same macabre routine. The soldiers ordered the family to take their belongings out, and in a few minutes their modest home was also destroyed. The family was in shock and unable to speak.
We had witnessed Mohammed's depression and sadness already during the Summer Camp; it is beyond words what this will do to him and his family. After today's demolition, we observed the children still terrified walking around the rubble, not believing what their eyes were seeing. There is no doubt that their personalities from now on will be sealed by the trauma of the demolition. Who could point fingers against them if in the future a desire for revenge emerges?
At 1pm, the Civil Administration forces abandoned the area, leaving 23 children and eight adults without a roof over their heads. The Occupation has again taken its banal price from innocent people who simply wanted to build homes for their families.
The houses were accused of not having a building license, but in thi area it is impossible to get building permits as the area is not "planned". (Of course, that was not a problem when building the Shin Bet compound on the opposite hill.)
We ask you to help us in our struggle to stop the continuing policy of house demolitions and to compensate those who have already lost their homes. We ask you to contact your parliamentary or congressional representatives, your ministry of foreign affairs, and Israeli government officials, asking for an immediate halt to this policy and compensation for the victims.
Following is a sample letter addressed to Israeli officials (addresses supplied). You can adapt it to your own political representatives.
To the Minister of..
Subject: Demolition of homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territorie
Over and over again I hear of the tragedy of the demolition of Palestinian homes in the Occupied Territories. I understand that in the Second Intifada alone already 5,000 homes have been demolished, leaving over 70,000 Palestinian civilians homeless and displaced. These figure are horrific and shocking. This policy is sowing seeds of hatred and revenge, it is a war against a civilian population and is a clear violation of international law.
I ask you to immediately implement the Fourth Geneva Convention protecting civilians in occupied territories. I demand the immediate cessation of house demolitions and compensation to the victims.
Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon
Office of the Prime Minister
3 Kaplan Str., P.O. Box 187
Jerusalem, 91919 Israel
Spokesperson of the Prime Minister <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Minister of Defense, Shaul Mofaz
37 Kaplan St.
Minister of Justice, Yosef Lapid
29 Salah al-Din Str.
Jerusalem, 91010, Israel
Ministry of the Interior,
2 Kaplan St.