Regional Programs > Israel & Palestine > Next Story

 Another house demolition
 Neta Golan, Israel
 January 17, 2002
As the terrors of the current escalation rage on, the ongoing daily humiliations and helplessness that make up the occupation continueŚ

Last night (17/1/02) at 11.30pm two soldiers and an officer entered the house of Sakkit Rushdi Al Alami, 300m from the main entrance to Beit Ummar village. Sakkit Al Alami was sitting with his wife and children in the front room of the house when the three Israeli solders pushed their way in, without knocking or any warning. They started asking the family questions, such as who the people in the family pictures on the wall were, how they had such a nice house, and if they could have their television. They then asked to see the rest of the house. One soldier stayed outside while the officer and the other soldier took Sakkit Al Alami into the bedrooms, where they proceeded to pull everything out of the cupboards. They found a broken tape player and told Al Alami it was just like the equipment Mossad had used to kill Yahya Ayyash; they spent a quarter of an hour looking at it. All three Israelis solders and Al Alami then proceeded upstairs. Entering the bedrooms, they asked Al Alami more questions, such as whether he had any weapons, and what the music his son was playing was.

They then saw a framed picture on the wall, a picture of four soldiers dragging a Palestinian called Shaakir Hassouna down a road. Hassouna was killed some months ago in Hebron and the picture of his brutal treatment has become a symbol of this Intifada, and can be seen everywhere. The officer and soldiers became angry when they saw this and said that the picture was forbidden; Al Alami thinks they were particularly upset because one of the soldiers present was one of the four soldiers in the picture. Al Alami took it down and tried to remove it from the frame but they wouldn't let him. They told Al Alami that they would now demolish his house (built by his father in 1929); they asked about his work and when he replied he was a builder, they said, "Good, so you know what a bulldozer is." Having been in the house for an hour and a half, they then left and told Al Alami they would be back at 8.00am the next morning to destroy his house. As they moved up the steps outside the house, they threw a sound bomb.

This morning at around 10.00am the officer returned with two different soldiers, and stopped outside. They asked Al Alami (who hadn't slept) to show them the best way to bring the bulldozer. When Al Alami told them that they could come from any direction they liked, one pushed him down with his gun; the officer took a bottle of water from one of the soldiers and poured it over Al Alami's head. At this point Sakkit al Alami, who is asthmatic, blacked out; an ambulance was called, but was held up at the Hebron checkpoint. In the meantime the soldiers fired tear gas and sound bombs at the people who had gathered; they told another man who was present to inform Al Alami when he came back from hospital that they would return in the morning to demolish the house. The ambulance eventually arrived and took Al Alami away; after it left the soldiers fired more tear gas in the area.

Neta Golan is an Israeli activist and founder of the International Solidarity Group. She lives in Ramallah.