The following report and photos were prepared by members of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Team in Hebron, 12 Jan. 2011.
Israeli army demolishes seventeen structures in village near Hebron
“On the morning of January 12, children of Dkaika were in school and the families were going through their morning routines. Suddenly, the army appeared and the demolitions began,” reported international accompaniers from EAPPI.
Seven households (residential structures) destroyed; 1 animal shelter; and 1 class room. In total 46 people were displaced plus an additional 10 students (not displaced, but have lost their classroom).
The accompaniers’ journey yesterday to Dkaika was delayed by military checkpoints. When they arrived, 17 structures in the village had already been destroyed. They reported that there were four bulldozers present, along with Israeli military civil administration officials and guarded by up to one hundred soldiers.
One of the village women, Hamdah Najadah, told accompaniers: “Two policewoman stopped me when I wanted to go in to the house and take out the furniture and our things before they demolished it. They would not let me,” she told them.
“They destroyed everything, even the coffee, sugar and flour. Where will we sleep? It is winter, and bad weather is coming. God be with us!”
There are around 39 families in Dkaika village. Nasser Najadah (see photo) is 73 years old and was born in the village. His family lost 7 buildings, including the one where they sleep. Three villagers, among them two teachers, were arrested.
The homes that were demolished yesterday were homes that were not covered by the restraining orders. The 4th Geneva Convention states that “any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property… is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” (Article 53). No notification was given to the villagers as to when the demolitions would happen.
Many other houses in the village have demolition orders from the Israeli courts, says the Israeli human rights group Rabbis for Human Rights. The group has been attempting to get a master plan for Dkaika approved by the Israeli courts. Some houses are temporarily protected from demolition pending a court decision on the plan.
“When the hearing on the zoning plan happens, the decision will not be made simply on planning criteria, but political criteria will be involved so it’s hard to be optimistic,” Rabbi Arik Ascherman, General Secretary of Rabbis for Human Rights.
The Red Cross provided tents for the villagers who lost their homes yesterday.”
Sherry Ann’s additional note: See this article about a separate demolition in the West Bank on 11 Jan. 2011.
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. When they return home, EAs campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law and implementation of UN resolutions.