While the media focused on Khan al-Ahmar’s nonviolent struggle against its destruction, Israeli authorities demolished 12 structures in a nearby Bedouin community, laying the groundwork for further evictions.
Israel is fighting a war of attrition against the Bedouin villages east of Jerusalem. And yet, despite the looming threat of wholesale demolition and eviction, the villagers can finally breathe easy, after the High Court of Justice night froze the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar until July 16. This, of course, is far from a victory; ever since the same court gave the green light to the demolition in May, the villagers have been counting the days until their expulsion.
Over the past few weeks, the village has been the site of activity by Palestinian, Jewish, and international activists, as well as security forces who have been preparing for the eviction. The IDF has declared the area a closed military zone — refusing entry even to diplomats — all while paving access roads that will eventually be used to carry out the demolition.
Things reached a boiling point last Wednesday, when security forces clashed with activists who attempted to block Israeli bulldozers. The village remained untouched, yet the destruction Israel is meting out against the Bedouin communities of E1 is simply a matter of time and place. While the media was focused on Khan al-Ahmar, the Civil Administration demolished 12 structures in the adjacent Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar, leaving 62 people — half of them children — without a roof over their heads, in the summer heat.
One of them is Harba Hamadin, a young construction worker, husband, and father to a one year old. Following the demolition of their home, the family moved in with his parents in a packed structure with another 15 people. His brother and cousin also lost their homes, as did their children, nine in total. All of the kids, says Harba, witnessed the demolition, and have been in a state of deep anxiety ever since. “The demolition orders are from three years ago,” he says as he stands by the ruins of his home. “I do not know why they came now. The attorney says they need to give a month’s notice, but they said nothing.” Like Khan al-Ahmar, the state wants to move the residents of Abu Nuwar to a garbage dump next to Abu Dis in East Jerusalem. “This will destroy our entire community,” Harba says. “That isn’t our land, and the...Read More