Israeli authorities destroy three homes in al-Walaje, a village that was partially annexed to Jerusalem, yet has been totally neglected by the municipality.
By Aviv Tatarsky
Israeli authorities demolished three homes in the Palestinian village of al-Walaja on Tuesday. Bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers raided the village at approximately 4 a.m. and began demolishing a home with two units that have yet to be occupied, a family home of five, and a home of Mahmoud, a young man who just got engaged.
The demolitions in the village are part of a larger wave of home demolitions across the West Bank over the last months, including in Khirbet Tana, Umm al-Khir, the Bedouin communities between Jerusalem and the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, and more.
Hundreds of people have lost their homes and entire communities are in danger of expulsion. Settler groups such as Regavim, along with people such as MK Moti Yogev (Jewish Home) have been putting pressure on the authorities to carry out the demolitions, whose entire purpose is to expel Palestinians from Area C of the West Bank, under full Israeli civil and military control. The Jewish Home party’s formal plan is to annex Area C to Israel, leaving the rest of the Palestinians imprisoned in Areas A and B.
From the first day we came to stand alongside al-Walaja, the residents of the village have told us: “Israel doesn’t want us here, the state is trying to remove us.”
The demolitions in al-Walaja may have far-reaching consequences, beyond the three the homes that were destroyed. Ever since the beginning of the construction of the separation wall, which has disconnected the village from Jerusalem — and despite the fact that nearly a third of the village was annexed to and is considered part of Jerusalem’s municipal jurisdiction — Israel refrained from demolition homes there. In North Jerusalem, too, there are eight Palestinian villages — where over 100,000 East Jerusalemites live — that were disconnected from the city by the separation wall. The municipality stopped demolishing houses in every single village left behind the wall — a cold comfort when considering the total neglect of these neighborhoods.
The sight of a demolished home is a horrible thing. It is difficult to see a family that, just moments ago, lost their house. I visited Mahmoud’s family a day after the demolition. His father, Maher, spoke with a measured, soft voice, showing...Read More