Just in from my good doctor colleague Tony Davies. I think he is over 80 but keeps going. We have been in Palestine together. Note EU funding of community centre. Hundreds of structures built with EU money have been destroyed. A vile game since the EU supports the entity in all ways. Its protests are feeble and made to bounce off the wall.
bcc to Mr John Mann Chairman of the British Parliamentary Committee Against Anti-Semitism
Dear Friends, Just before Christmas I spent a week in the Palestinian village of Umm al Kheir. This was because a number of families had their homes demolished in 2016. The villagers asked for an international to stay with them in the hope that this would discourage the Israeli army from bulldozing more buildings -- a particularly brutal thing to do at this time of year. It has been unusually cold and there have been some heavy rain storms. I am doubtful about my visit having had much influence on the Israeli army but the villagers have been very welcoming and kind to me. At least they feel that there are people in other countries who are aware of and concerned about their plight. With very best wishes for 2017 -- Tony
The bulldozer threatens
There is much anxiety here in Umm al Kheir, a Bedouin village in the south of the West Bank. A gifted villager made this amazing model of a bulldozer out of material salvaged from a home demolished earlier this year. The reason for the anxiety is that the pace of demolitions here and elsewhere in the West Bank has been been considerably greater in the past 12 months than previously, and there was an inspection of the village on 12 December by Israeli officials of the Civil Administration such as is frequently followed by demolitions. Nearly all the structures in Umm al Kheir have demolition orders on them and these may be carried out any time – maybe in days or maybe months. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live with the possibility of losing my home and possessions at any time.
Hadra is standing beside a concrete slab – all that is left of her house which was bulldozed on 23rd August. The same day, the Community Centre, funded by the EU, was demolished. This is very important not only as a meeting place for the villagers, but also where the kindergarten and clinic ran. The Centre was rebuilt with money raised internationally, including us in Devon. It was bulldozed again on 15th November but there are plans to rebuild again.This is one of the ways the villagers show their determination to stay.
An Israeli settlement, Carmel, illegal under international law, overlooks Umm al Kheir and is built on land to which the villagers have doumentary proof of ownership. The settlement already occupies 50% of what was village land. However the greed of Israel for Palestinian land is insatiable and the settlement is spreading into outpost buildings, which are at present illegal even under Israeli law. Raw sewerage from the settlement is discharged onto village land making it unusable for grazing or for growing crops. A while ago Hadra was grazing sheep on some of the best village land. Settlers from Carmel chased her and the flock off it. She fell and broke her leg. One of Hadra's sheep has just wandered into the home in which I am typing this!