Two Families Receive House Demolition Orders

11 September 2012

On the 22. of August, 2012, Israel issued a demolition order to Jawad Awad and his wife Melal for their home and a water pool. Jawad and his family live in area C, witch constitutes more than 60% of the West Bank. Most constructions in area C face the threat of being demolished if it is newly built, expanded or just repaired; anything that Israel can see as an improvement. The possibility of getting a permit from the Israeli Occupation Authorities to build is nearly nonexistent, therefore most Palestinians go ahead and build without permission.

Despite the house being more than fifteen years old, only the top two floors are new, however, the demolition order is for the entire house and a water pool used to store rainwater and water which they buy in the winter when the access is better. This water is crucial for agriculture on their land. According to their lawyer at St. Eve in Bethlehem, the demolition is likely to take place in three months, six months if they are lucky.

This year Jawad’s wife, Melal, who works as a teacher, has dealt with late payment and salary cuts in addition to the price increase. Their funds, therefore, do not allow further construction of the house at the moment, but Jawad and his family are going to proceed with the construction and they hope to have their two new floors ready in six months. Melal says they have no other option than to fight for their house. “It’s all we’ve got, we have nowhere else to go” she says, begging for help. The family won’t get any compensation if the house and water pool are demolished, and thus they are going to be left with
no place to live and drowning in debts.

In addition to the notice of an upcoming house demolition, Jawad and Melal have had both of their sons, aged 16 and 17, arrested this spring. Like all children arrested during spring they where prevented from taking their exams at the end of the semester. The boys were arrested at night, taken out of the house, blindfolded and imprisoned for two months. In addition to two months in prison they got a fine of 1500 Israeli Shekels ($375).

In the same area we meet the farmer Ibrahim Arar working in his greenhouse. August 22. just like the Awad family he got a note from the Israeli occupation forces ordering demolition of a water pool. As the Israeli occupation forces are limiting Palestinian access to water, Ibrahim built a pool on his own land, allowing him to grow profitable crops. In the pool he, like the Awad family, stores rainwater and, during the winter when the access to water is better, as well as some water from the municipality. Due to the occupation these pools are necessary for Palestinians to secure a stable water supply for farming.

To fund the pool Ibrahim had to get a loan of $20000, money he will have a hard time to pay back without a stable water source for his farming land. Like Jawad Awad and his family he has been told by his lawyer at St. Eve that the demolition is likely to take place within 6 months.

Both of these families have their destiny written by the occupation forces. Within 6 months their lives will likely be bulldozed by the Israeli occupation forces, and they too will be added to the tragic numbers in statistics summarising Israeli war crimes.