Demolitions in Al-Bweireh on New Year's Eve
Before I forget, my younger colleagues working in Hebron and At-Tuwani want to start a movement that will call the last decade, "The Singles."
Yesterday, most of the Hebron team went to participate in the Gaza Freedom March, so I was going to make it my computer day--catching up on my considerable e-mail backlog, blogging and getting my teammate Markie's pictures uploaded to her Facebook account. I did accomplish a good sleep-in, but when I came downstairs and started making coffee, someone from B'tselem called to tell us that the Israeli military was demolishing buildings in al-Bweireh. Ryan was sick, the rest of the team was traveling to Gaza, and there's kind of an important policy about sending only one person to a location where there are a lot of settler attacks (not just for safety, but for the sake of truth. Five settlers could say that I started throwing rocks at them and they were only defending themselves and it would be my word against theirs.)
I called Miranda, from the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI--I call them "Eepies" and they call themselves, unofficially, "Yappies.") She was able to come out with me for an hour or so. We visited the two families who had had their outbuildings demolished. After that, it was almost time for school patrol, so I called Ryan and asked his permission, as the only other available teammate, to stay and monitor by myself, close to a house where I could run for cover. Then I dictated a release (see below), that he sent out to our Yahoo groups newslist. The more he thought about it, the more he didn't like the idea of my being out by myself, so he decided to come out for an hour, given that it was warm and sunny. Unfortunately, it was cold and blustery once he got out to al-Bweireh, which didn't do his cold and sore throat any good.
A very nice lady took pity on us and brought us out some hot tea and a very purple winter coat that she said she wanted me to keep and take back to America. She asked me if I had children and I mentioned Michael's kids, but when she found out that I had no biological children, she said that she, too, was childless after thirty years of marriage. She then shrugged, pointed heavenward and said it was God's decision. The coat was just what I needed at the time, but it's a little small for me and I actually have a coat with me in Hebron, so I'm trying to figure out if I can return it without committing some major cultural faux pas.
I was exhausted by the time I got home. I brought a dictionary out, but 6 hours of conversing with my limited Arabic was really draining--not to mention coming after the fact and too late to help. People were not devastated the demolitions of their animal pens and garages, in the way they are when a house is demolished, but still there was a lot of anger at the injustice of it all and frustraton by my lack of comprehension.
I felt sorry for the doves, who had their dovecote destroyed. They kept wheeling around the property looking for home; then they would finally come to rest on the telephone wires. Then they would forget, or maybe they were thinking, "Hey let's look again to see if our house is back." Beautiful and symbolic, but kind of stupid animals.
I'll try to upload some pictures later, but a demolished stable and goat pen basically looks like a pile of trash.
That night, since we heard that it was a "blue moon," i.e., 2nd full moon in a month, the Hebron and Tuwani people who had returned from Gaza and Ryan and I went out to look at it, and we stood there for over an hour as orangish-gray cloud banks raced across the sky. Each time the moon reappeared in all it's cold silvery-white glory, it was kind of like fireworks.
Here's a link to a picture of the moon over a church in Amman, Jordan, which isn't so very far away: http://www.vancouversun.com/opinion/2009+gets+blue+moon+sendoff/2396981/...
Israeli Military Destroys Buildings in Al Bweireh
On the morning of December 31, 2009 the Israeli Military destroyed buildings
belonging to the Sultan and Al Za'atari families in the Hebron neighborhood of Al
Bweireh. At the Al Za'atari house the military destroyed the stables where the
family kept their goats and horse as well as a pigeon coop. The army destroyed a
garage of the Sultan family. The military used a small Bobcat bulldozer to carry
out the demolitions. Three days ago, members of the Al Za'atari family observed
settlers and soldiers together photographing their barn and animal pens. More
details will follow.
This month, residents of Al Bweireh invited members of the Christian Peacemaker
Teams and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) to
accompany their children as they return home from school.