Hebron: Why was this home demolished?

Art Gish

February l8,l997 This afternoon a Palestinian friend took CPT member Dianne Roe and me out to the village of Beit Anun, which is connected to the village of Sa'er between the Israeli settlements of Harsina and Asfer, northeast of Hebron. We went to see the Al Motur family home that was demolished February l2, as one of of 5 homes that were demolished in the Hebron area that day.

The family has owned this land since during the Ottoman times. This extended family had one of their homes demolished last year and three more of their homes are scheduled for demolition any day now. It was sobering to stand on the big chunks of concrete that had been their home only days before.

The bulldozer had been quite effective. In a few minutes a family's life savings were gone. Why was this home demolished? The Israeli government says the only reason for demolishing this house is that the family had no permit to build the house. The government doesn't say that it was impossible for the family to get a permit. What are the reasons why the family couldn't get a permit? Our guide told us that the Israeli government has allowed construction of new homes inside villages, but not outside the villages.

The reasons seem to be that the Israelis want to keep all Palestinian homes consolidated close together with large open, unpopulated areas between the villages. This makes control of the Palestinians much easier, and leaves large open spaces for future Israeli settlement expansion. The Israelis also contend that control of all the hilltops is necessary for security reasons. It seems that the home demolitions are directed to scattered homes outside villages. In other words, we are seeing a clear policy of ethnic cleansing in order to create bantustans, surrounded by open areas completely under Israeli control. .

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