June 18, 2019 | International Solidarity Movement | South Hebron Hills, occupied Palestine
Occupation forces went on a demolition spree yesterday in the South Hebron Hills, bulldozing the homes of four families in two villages.
A convoy of border police, Israeli Civil Administration officials, soldiers and two JCB bulldozers arrived in the village of Khalet al Dabeh at around 9am to destroy a house belonging to Mohammad al Dababsh.
Twelve members of the al Dababsh family including seven children, who have lived in the region for generations, are now homeless and have been given tents to sleep in by the Red Cross.
“People used to live in tents and caves and they had their dream come true to live in a house – they came up from under the ground into the light,’ Basil Adraa, a youth activist from the neighbouring village of al-Tuwani, told ISM.
“Now they have gone back 10 years, living before without light and houses.”
Adraa along with other local activists and ISMers arrived to Khalet al Dabeh just ahead of the demolition.
Members of the al Dababsh family were shouting in distress and at one point attempted to run through the line of border police – who had announced a closed military zone around the house – in a bid to protect his home before it was raised to the ground.
Omar al Dababsh was thrown to the floor by soldiers as he ran. His injuries required urgent medical attention and he was taken to Hebron hospital.
Soldiers also shoved local activists and ISMers in the scuffle.
Adraa was filming the demolition from a roof near the al Dababsh house when soldiers threatened to throw a sound grenade at him if he refused to get down.
A separate building storing solar panel batteries was also destroyed and the panels were confiscated.
After forcing a family of 12 into homelessness, the convoy moved on to the village of al Halawe where they destroyed a further three homes belonging to the Aram family.
Adraa told ISM that a ‘demolition day’ has happened every week this year, except during Ramadan when there were two demolitions in five weeks.
The region of the South Hebron Hills is in Area C of the West Bank where almost all construction by Palestinians is banned by the Israeli government.
Most of the region’s 30 Palestinian villages have demolition orders on at least one building meaning they could be bulldozed at any time.
Local activist group, the Good Shepherd Collective, which raises awareness about demolitions in the South Hebron Hills area stated on its Facebook page: “It is worth noting that these demolitions, injuries, and confiscations do not simply impact and traumatize the families and individuals immediately affected – demolitions, especially during the oppressive heat of the summer, force families to rebuild in order to meet their basic needs, and in the meantime rely on their extended family and community members.”
Adraa added: “It seems like a Nakba for these people, because the biggest goal for the occupation is to evacuate the people from these villages to the cities. So in this kind of demolition, big demolition, it’s a serious step to evacuate the people and take them from their land which is illegal by international law. They want to demolish houses so that the settlement can expand.”
Despite the ban, which also forbids Palestinians to hook up to the electricity grid and water supply, illegal settlers in the region continue to construct new buildings unimpeded by Israeli forces.