Tuesday, September 22, 2020

House Demolitions and Tear Gas in Hares

Juicebox Gallery

By James Knoop - November 08, 2012
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES]
Tags: [demolition] [Displacement] [settlement construction] [Hares]

On November 7, approximately 50 Israeli soldiers overran the West Bank village of Hares yesterday near the illegal settlement of Ariel, clashing with residents and demolishing two houses.

Israeli soldiers evicted the two families of Hamam Yousef and Omar Jaber who had recently built their houses despite not being able to acquire building permits out of necessity for their growing family.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian residents are not allowed to build without the notoriously hard to get building permits on land marked as Area C. Yet the Israeli occupation forces do not issue building permits because they do not want the Palestinian population to expand.

“We need building permits to be able to build extensions on our houses,” says Jalileh Jaber, Omar’s wife. “There are 80 people living in this neighborhood with no room. In each family there are 10 people sharing one room with only one bathroom.”

“I have six daughters and three sons living with me and my husband in one room. We married our oldest son but the whole family lives in one room in the house. We have no choice, we have to build extensions,” she continues.

We need building permits to be able to build extensions on our houses

Across the valley sits the settlement of Ariel, which is visible from the village. Omar Jaber points to the settlement saying, “Why can they build over there but I can’t build here? It makes no sense. How is this different?”

The house demolitions led to dozens of clashes between the residents and the Israeli soldiers. Several clashes occurred while the soldiers forcibly removed the family from their houses. Tear gas was fired into the village to prevent the residents from interfering. 40 villagers were treated for suffocation, while another 10 were hit by rubber bullets.

Dozens of nearby residents also watched from a hilltop 500 meters away. Many rounds of tear gas and percussion grenades were used to prevent their descent into the village.

Secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) Dr Mustafa Barghouti visited Hares yesterday and paid tribute to the steadfastness of the villagers who at first refused to leave their houses as the Israeli bulldozers came, but were later driven out by the tear gas fired at them.

“What the Israeli occupation forces committed in Hares is a massacre, where soldiers used live bullets, stun grenades and tear gas against the villagers, in addition to fracturing one villager’s thigh by the use of their rifle butts, and injuring two more with live bullets,” Dr Barghouti said.

Village elders engaged in arguments with the soldiers while dozens of local residents gathered together in show of support and looked on helplessly as the bulldozer completed its work.

As the soldiers broke formation after completing their work, many of the young men from the village starting throwing stones from behind concrete fence barriers. The soldiers tear gassed the entire village causing the families to run inside their homes for cover.

Dr Barghouti called for a wider campaign of solidarity with Hares and its people in order to augment their steadfastness, and pointed to the paradox of demolishing Palestinian homes instead of demolishing the illegal settlements built on Palestinian land, stressing that the occupation and the settlements illegal must both be dismantled.

When the violence was over Omar came outside of his house and sat himself on the discarded cushions of the house he had built for his son and cried. The young men from the village gathered up all the tear gas canisters and percussion grenades into a large pile as evidence of what had been done.

All the residents of the village sat in the courtyard of the house as a somber mood took over the crowd. A generation of children learned the lesson – the occupation forces will never let them live in peace.

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