Sunday, May 6, 2007

Israel's House Demolition Policies - Part 5

Rabbi's for Human Rights
The Dari Family

Today is Day 14,267 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Signed by Israel 7 March 1966: Ratified by Israel: 3 January 1979In compliance with the fundamental obligations laid down in article 2 of this Convention, (Israel) undertakes to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, notably in the enjoyment of the following rights:The right to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice;The right to own property alone as well as in association with others;The right to housing.

Again, as I have read over the years about the government of Israel not only not allowing Palestinians to build houses in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem but in actually destroying and demolishing houses unrelated to security issues but simply for administrative reasons such as not being able to obtain a building permit, I continue to be disgusted with what the government of Israel is doing.

Here is some additional material related to this deplorable policy of house demolition. For more detailed material you can visit the websites of some extraordinarily courageous human rights groups such as the Rabbis for Human Rights, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, B’Tselem and Bustan.


We are not talking about homes of Palestinain terrorists or their relatives’ houses in Jenin, Rafiah or Nablus. (Although even here, there is a callousness that is unacceptable. A number of months ago, Kamala Abu Sa'id, the 65-year-old stepmother of a wanted man, was killed during the demolition of his home in Gaza. Israeli soldiers just did not search the house well enough to guarantee that no one was inside. As a former soldier this is painful to see as it damages the army's sacred doctrine of "purity of arms.") As a political policy, Israel has determined to limit any growth of Palestinian neighborhoods in and around Jerusalem, even if it means that an additional room has been built on to a Palestinian home in Anata. Of course, building a Jewish community in Har Homa, which boarders Bethelem or taking over more land around Ma’aleh Adumim to the east of Jerusalem is perfectly legitimate, as is opting to set up a Jewish enclave in Arab Silwan, expropriating Arab land to do so.

It takes the army less than an hour to destroy a Palestinian home in the Jerusalem suburb of Issawiya because some family has added on a room illegally. (The destruction is usually total, including uprooting fruit trees surrounding the houses.) Yet, to dismantle an illegal settlement requires months of negotiations, and then when the crucial hour comes to do so, the army shows up without weapons so as not to hurt the Jewish population, even as rocks are hurled at our soldiers. Should an Arab protest the destruction of his home because a room was added on illegally, chances are that his family will be tear-gassed, shot with rubber bullets, beaten with billy-clubs, and may even be killed in some cases.

On Monday, as a part of ICAHD, we will conduct an orientation for tens of activists who are willing to stand in front of bulldozers or blockade themselves in buildings if our legal and political efforts to save a house fail. We are working closely with Palestinians to build a Jerusalem wide network insuring that we and they together know about every threatened house and do everything in our power to prevent the demolition. We will not passively accept Mayor Olmert's declared intention to demolish homes every week.

Statement of Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman on October 5th, 2006

However, there is still a huge debt hanging over me. The debt that is agonizing me is the fact that come November 15th the Municipality of Jerusalem will have 30 days to demolish the home of Ahmed Musa and Hanni? Dari, Musa (24),Samir (22), Samira (13), and little Yousef (6). Sufian is married and living in the two rooms in his uncle’s house where the entire family had been living. He too will be affected if the home is demolished. There are other homes also slated for demolition, but the Municipality is fiercely determined to demolish this one. Yes, thousands of people around the globe know about the Dari family. Yes, hundreds of mainstream North American Jews who would never have believed that such things were possible in the Jewish State have personally met the Daris and are horrified by their plight. Yes, hundreds of concerned individuals, tens of rabbis have emailed, faxed and called the Municipality. Some of our local rabbis even sat in at the Mayor’s office, demanding a meeting. Yes, if I wanted to be entirely cold and calculating about it, the best thing that could happen in terms of our struggle against the policy of home demolitions would be for the Municipality to succeed in demolishing the home. However, we are speaking about a family. I know what the demolition will do to Ahmed Musa, Hanan, Sufian, Musa, Samir, Samira and Yousef I can not say “It is not for you to complete the task” because I do not believe that we have done everything possible to save the Dari home.

Statement of Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman on December 11th, 2006

I received the call at 2:00 AM here in the U.S. The bulldozers demolished the Dari home even as our lawyer Ziad Karar was waiting in the judge’s chamber for an answer to our request for a stay based on our atira minhalit, an appeal designed to force the Municipality for the first time to explain the policy of home demolitions to the court. Little Yousef is again homeless, and shortly his sister will again come home from school to discover that the home she left in the morning is now rubble. Just a few hours ago I stood in front of the UN on International Human Rights Day and read the letter I wrote when the home was demolished the first time in 2003 (reprinted below). This time the family was all alone with their tears. I was not there to stand in front of the bulldozers and nobody from the RHR staff was able to get through the cordon of border police protecting the demolition. Over the past year we did not succeed in generating enough pressure to convince Mayor of Jerusalem that it was not worth his while to demolish this home. However, I have promised Ahmed Musa Dari that this is not the end. We will not abandon him and his family.

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

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