Israelis demolish Palestinian buildings, say Christian peacemakers

By staff writers
June 8, 2006

Israelis demolish Palestinian buildings, say Christian peacemakers

-08/06/06

Israeli troops in a distant area of occupied Palestinian land have demolished another house and five toilet facilities say Christian peace workers based around At-Tuwani ñ another example of the continual and often daily harassment faced by local people.

Two of the facilities destroyed at the end of last month were built several years ago with financial support from a British organisation, Economic Resource Management.

On 30 May, Christian Peacemaker Teams workers Diana Zimmerman, Heidi Schramm and a member of Operation Dove (an Italian peace organisation) observed a large Israeli military and police presence in and around the outpost directly south of Ma'on settlement.

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports that the Israeli civil administration delivered demolition orders to eighteen buildings in the Ma'on Farm outpost. Defence minister Amir Peretz said that the outpost is being evacuated because of attacks by settlers on Palestinian school children from the villages of Tuba and Migael Abed, as they pass on their way to and from school in At Tuwani.

Among the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams in the area is to walk with schoolchildren, shepherds and other locals to try to reduce the chances of attack.

On 31 May 2006, the Israeli military demolished one Palestinian house and five toilet facilities in villages south and east of At-Tuwani. Zimmerman and a Dove volunteer were unable to reach the home in the village of Khalet al Thaba before the demolition.

The peace workers were able to videotape, from a distance, the five minutes it took the military bulldozer to demolish the house. Zimmerman and the Dove volunteer visited the family later in the day to document the demolition.

The family told them that twelve family members, nine of them children, lived in the house that they had built from rocks, with a tarpaulin roof. They also explained that the military had not delivered a demolition order and that the family had no warning that the demolition was going ahead. The soldiers gave them no time to remove their belongings from the house before the demolition started.

The next say, Christian Peacemaker Teamsí Diane Janzen and a Dove volunteer walked to the village of Migael Abed to gather information about two of the demolished toilets. A Hebron NGO built the toilets almost four years ago with funding from Economic Resource Management (a British organisation).

The owner of one of the toilets reported that he had received a demolition order for his toilet a year ago, as had the owners of the other facilities in Migael Abed. However some three weeks ago the other owners received another order, but he had not. He told the internationals how he had tried to speak with the soldiers to try to prevent the demolitions.

The man told the soldiers that it was shameful to go to the bathroom and to wash oneself in the open where other people might see you. A soldier replied that the family "should move to Yatta with the other Muslims."

The Palestinian told the international volunteers: ìThey [the Israeli government] are trying to make life too difficult for us to continue living here [because they hope] that we will leave.î

Christian Peacemaker Teams, an ecumenical violence reduction and conflict transformation programme established by the historic peace churches (Mennonites, Quakers and Brethren in Christ) came to global prominence as a result of the recent Iraq hostage involving Norman Kember, Jim Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden and the late Tom Fox.

CPT has put pictures of the recent demolitions online. Throughout the occupied territories, Palestinians complain of numerous arbitrary ësecurity relatedí house demolitions.

ICAHD (the Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions) brings Jews and Palestinians together to oppose demolition and to rebuild dwellings. This sometimes has to be done several times. It is much more difficult in areas where ideologically-motivated settlers are constantly harassing Arab neighbours.

[Also on Ekklesia: Iraq hostage Tom Fox remembered by UK peacemakers 08/06/06; Norman Kember talks about life beyond his Iraq kidnap ordeal 07/06/06; UK Christian Peacemaker Teams meet to plan future 06/06/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams remain in Iraq with new plan; Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemaker Norman Kember to give first major interview to the BBC ; Christian peacemakers can make a difference, Vatican Radio told; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking]

Israelis demolish Palestinian buildings, say Christian peacemakers

-08/06/06

Israeli troops in a distant area of occupied Palestinian land have demolished another house and five toilet facilities say Christian peace workers based around At-Tuwani ñ another example of the continual and often daily harassment faced by local people.

Two of the facilities destroyed at the end of last month were built several years ago with financial support from a British organisation, Economic Resource Management.

On 30 May, Christian Peacemaker Teams workers Diana Zimmerman, Heidi Schramm and a member of Operation Dove (an Italian peace organisation) observed a large Israeli military and police presence in and around the outpost directly south of Ma'on settlement.

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reports that the Israeli civil administration delivered demolition orders to eighteen buildings in the Ma'on Farm outpost. Defence minister Amir Peretz said that the outpost is being evacuated because of attacks by settlers on Palestinian school children from the villages of Tuba and Migael Abed, as they pass on their way to and from school in At Tuwani.

Among the work of Christian Peacemaker Teams in the area is to walk with schoolchildren, shepherds and other locals to try to reduce the chances of attack.

On 31 May 2006, the Israeli military demolished one Palestinian house and five toilet facilities in villages south and east of At-Tuwani. Zimmerman and a Dove volunteer were unable to reach the home in the village of Khalet al Thaba before the demolition.

The peace workers were able to videotape, from a distance, the five minutes it took the military bulldozer to demolish the house. Zimmerman and the Dove volunteer visited the family later in the day to document the demolition.

The family told them that twelve family members, nine of them children, lived in the house that they had built from rocks, with a tarpaulin roof. They also explained that the military had not delivered a demolition order and that the family had no warning that the demolition was going ahead. The soldiers gave them no time to remove their belongings from the house before the demolition started.

The next say, Christian Peacemaker Teamsí Diane Janzen and a Dove volunteer walked to the village of Migael Abed to gather information about two of the demolished toilets. A Hebron NGO built the toilets almost four years ago with funding from Economic Resource Management (a British organisation).

The owner of one of the toilets reported that he had received a demolition order for his toilet a year ago, as had the owners of the other facilities in Migael Abed. However some three weeks ago the other owners received another order, but he had not. He told the internationals how he had tried to speak with the soldiers to try to prevent the demolitions.

The man told the soldiers that it was shameful to go to the bathroom and to wash oneself in the open where other people might see you. A soldier replied that the family "should move to Yatta with the other Muslims."

The Palestinian told the international volunteers: ìThey [the Israeli government] are trying to make life too difficult for us to continue living here [because they hope] that we will leave.î

Christian Peacemaker Teams, an ecumenical violence reduction and conflict transformation programme established by the historic peace churches (Mennonites, Quakers and Brethren in Christ) came to global prominence as a result of the recent Iraq hostage involving Norman Kember, Jim Loney, Harmeet Singh Sooden and the late Tom Fox.

CPT has put pictures of the recent demolitions online. Throughout the occupied territories, Palestinians complain of numerous arbitrary ësecurity relatedí house demolitions.

ICAHD (the Israeli Coalition Against House Demolitions) brings Jews and Palestinians together to oppose demolition and to rebuild dwellings. This sometimes has to be done several times. It is much more difficult in areas where ideologically-motivated settlers are constantly harassing Arab neighbours.

[Also on Ekklesia: Iraq hostage Tom Fox remembered by UK peacemakers 08/06/06; Norman Kember talks about life beyond his Iraq kidnap ordeal 07/06/06; UK Christian Peacemaker Teams meet to plan future 06/06/06; Christian Peacemaker Teams remain in Iraq with new plan; Briefing on Christian Peacemaker Teams; Christian peacemaker Norman Kember to give first major interview to the BBC ; Christian peacemakers can make a difference, Vatican Radio told; Briefing on media accusations against Christian Peacemaker Teams; Archive of comment and features on Christian Peacemaking]

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