Palestine: Bedouin Homes Demolished

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Bedouin child sits in the ruins of his family's former dwelling destroyed by Israeli authoritiesThe Israeli army demolished three dwellings and a bathroom in the Palestinian village of Umm al Kheer in the South Hebron Hills early on the morning of 8 September 2011.  According to UN field workers at the sight, the demolitions left eight adults and sixteen children homeless.

“This [has been] done many times here, and it’s catastrophic,” said a resident of the village who, due to fear of retribution from the Israeli government, wished to be referred to only as Suleiman.  “The toilet doesn’t make problems for Israeli security; the tent does not make problems for Israeli security; neither does this house in which live twelve kids.  How will these kids live?  How will these kids sleep tonight?  How can we explain the truth to these kids?  Maybe these kids will grow up with fear.  They must think about that.”

Umm Al Kheer is a Bedouin village in Area C (under Israeli control) built in the 1950s.  It borders the Israeli settlement of Karmel (considered illegal under international law) established in the 1980s.  The village routinely experiences harassment from Israeli soldiers and settlers. 

The demolition is part of a clear strategy to push the Bedouins away from the area around the settlement.  In October 2008, the Israeli army demolished ten house-tents in order to clear the area for expansion of the Karmel settlement.  The demolitions left sixty people homeless.

CPT and Operation Dove have maintained an international presence in at-Tuwani and the South Hebron Hills since 2004.

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