9 September 2011
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli army threatens village of Umm Al
Kheer with demolitions
[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the
International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all
Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are
illegal. Most settlement outposts,
including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are also considered illegal under Israeli
During the night of 4 September, the Israeli army delivered a demolition order
for a small taboun oven to the inhabitants of the Bedouin village of Umm Al
Kheer. A lawyer representing the
village obtained a two-day stop-demolition order from the Israeli High Court,
temporarily delaying the demolition.
In addition to the taboun oven, where the villagers bake their bread, the
Israeli military has slated eleven other structures in the village, and
residents of the village fear that the military may destroy those structures,
and possibly others during the demolition of the oven. “The army has come to our village twice
before to demolish houses,” said a resident of Umm al Kheer who wished to be
identified only as Suleiman. “Whenever
they come, they destroy five or six buildings. They won’t come and destroy just an oven, and then leave.”
The Israeli army delivered the demolition order on the oven in 2010, after Israeli
settlers from the nearby settlement of Karmel complained about smoke. “When you start this oven, there is
about five minutes of smoke, and then it burns for two weeks without making any
smoke,” said Suleiman.
According to Suleiman, the Israeli army initially offered to provide a gas oven
for the village to use, but then retracted the offer. The army will not allow the village to
build a structure around the oven to contain the smoke.
Umm Al Kheer is a Bedouin village in C area (under Israeli civil and military
administration) and is close to the Israeli settlement of Karmel, which is
considered illegal under international law. The demolition order 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.
In July 2009, some toilets were
destroyed too, because the Israeli Civil Administration designated them as “illegal.”
For background on Um Al-Kheer and its taboun, see this 2010
blog entry by a member of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.
Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international
presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron