Bulldozers Poised to Destroy Susiya!

EAPPI's photo.

Bulldozer used to demolish homes in Palestine

Our worse fears are unfolding. As we were returning home this bulldozer lumbered down the road past Susiya and was delivered to the military outpost 2 minutes away!

The EAPPI overnight shift arrived. Nothing to report in the handover. It had been a  quiet day. Just as  we arrived  back in Yatta, a phone call from Nassar, the spokesperson for the village, informed us of the unwelcome but not unexpected arrival of bulldozers.

We race back to Susiya. Another bulldozer, and trailer of heavy equipment and bales of hay??? have been delivered to the military outpost. The moment we have been dreading has come. We expect that the plans to demolish the village will be deployed tomorrow.

strategy planning

strategy planning

Days off and checkpoint duty are abandoned as we plan for the probable demolition in the morning. We are prepared ….everything we might need has been stored emergency trunk,,,,water, dried food, first aid kit, flashlight batteries, everything that could be needed in an emergency. We increase our surveillance – camera’s and phones charged; we are ready for whatever is coming. We meet with Nassar and plan strategy.  Sentry duty begins at dawn, the time when the Israeli army usually begins its demolitions. We know that whoever is in the village at this crucial time will be the eyes and ears  to the unfolding tragedy. The road will be closed and the area will be declared a closed military zone. No one else will get in!

Now it is ‘hurry up and wait’. We send reports to our National Coordinators. They contact consulates and the media. At least we can ensure that whatever does happen, it will, like Krakatoa,  sound an echo throughout the world.

Nothing happens that morning…. nor the next!

On Tuesday morning, Henk, a recently arrived EA, and I go for a walkabout. A walkabout serves a dual purpose. The first is to be seen by the Israeli sentry who is constantly watching the village from his watchtower across the valley. The song,

‘I am looking back to see, if you are looking back to see,

if I am looking back to see, if you are looking back at me.’

comes to mind.IMG_0426

The sentry and I have been watching each other over the past few weeks. The other reason for the walk is a reconnaissance to introduce Henk to the area. As we walk past the home of  three young women, they invite us to join them. One attends  university and will qualify as a teacher next year, one is going to be married in the fall and another is finishing high school and also plans to be a teacher. We have a lot of fun posing for pictures, inviting their mother to take a break from hanging out clothes and join us.

New friends

New friends

IMG_0677

As we continue  our walk, the phone rings. Terrible news! The DCO (district coordination office) wing of the Israeli establishment empowered with giving an order for demolitions, has entered the village. Hamdilila,  Nena is there. Usually, we travel in pairs but this morning, luckily, we are three.

Nena and the soldiers

Nena and the soldiers

We race back to the village. The DCO officers, flanked by soldiers, arrogantly strut through the village stopping at various structures to take photographs…usually a preliminary action to sending in the bulldozers. This has happened before.  In 1986, the Israeli administration ‘discovered’ an archaeological site on the traditional village of Susyia. The villagers were expelled and moved across the street. These women and children know only too well that the order to demolish is not an idle threat! Nena follows them, takes pictures and attempts to ask questions. They ignore both her and the villagers.

We arrive as the DCO vehicle is pulling away. Our colleagues from Yatta are not far behind. The women and children  have been badly frightened.

IMG_0690

We, EAPPI,  have been  sent to provide protective presence to the villagers, to show the Israeli authorities that the wider community is watching and to document events as they unfold for the world to see. Our national coordinators have been informed, they in turn have informed the media, and governmental organizations, who will express their outrage that these violations of UN conventions are taking place.

We represent to them world that cares.  This world, through the UN, supported by church communities, Rabbi’s for Human Rights and human rights activists  have sent us to insist on the Palestinian’s right to live on their own land, to develop it as they choose, to send their children to school without fear, to be protected by the rule of law, and to live a life without the oppression of an Israeli occupation.

The lives of Palestinian families  will not change until we, as a world community, insist on an end to this brutal occupation.

What do I do now?

What do I do now?

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5 Responses to Bulldozers Poised to Destroy Susiya!

  1. Dave Cass says:

    Hi Pat – Blessings at this perilous time in Susiya !! It sounds like a hard day ahead.. Thanks for being our eyes on the ground and giving us some context on what life there is like before something happens. Found your posts when trolling on UCC / UNJPPI websites to see if any recent news to announce on Sunday.. It didn’t sink in at first that you were back in Palestine. Again, Blessings Dave Cass UNJPPI Vancouver

  2. sherry ann says:

    Reblogged this on Peacing Stories and commented:
    Witnessing life under occupation – Please share and talk about Patricia’s news from Susiya, a Palestinian village under threat of demolition by the Israeli government.

  3. Diana Ralph says:

    Thank God for your eloquent description of this unjust outrage.

  4. Reiner Loewan says:

    One feels both sad and angry when reading the above story, which is a continuous happening to people in an already desperate situation.

  5. Steve Berube says:

    The disregard for international law on the part of the Israelis is appalling to say the least. What kind of deeply disturbed government would ever contemplate such The indignity being foisted upon the Palestinians is inhumane. I give thanks for your strong witness and for your support to the Palestinians and all those who seek peace with justice for all people. May God give you and the people of Susiya strength, grace and courage for today and the days ahead.

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