Home Demolition in Khashm Zanna
Thursday in the unrecognized Bedouin village of Khashm Zanna the home of Bassam abu Gwedar, a father of three young girls, and his wife, all citizens of the State of Israel, was demolished. The reason given by the Israeli authorities was that the structure was a new structure and had been built without a permit, which for all residents of the unrecognized villages is unattainable. The home had been built a year ago replacing the tin hut in which they had lived, and the demolition order was posted almost immediately. The family took the case to the local courts, which refused to offer any respite from their predicament. The situation is that of a catch 22: there is no method of attaining a building permit, but without a building permit the home is illegal and must therefore be destroyed, so Bassam and his family were left homeless. The bulldozers arrived at nine o’clock in the morning accompanied by 150 soldiers and 20 members of the paramilitary Green Patrol.
The season chosen for the demolition was not lost on the family. The recent rains and cold make the homelessness that much harder.
“We have nowhere left.” He told members of the RCUV Thursday.
Khashm Zanna is an unrecognized village of more than 2000 people living roughly 15 kilometers south of Beer Sheva in the Negev desert, and has been in the same location for more than 200 years. They have no access to electricity, water, sewage, paved roads, or medical services from the Israeli government. They are constantly under the threat of home demolition, as all houses in the village have been deemed illegal. This demolition is not an isolated incident, but the latest in a series of co-ordinated operations designed to make life in the villages as unbearable as possible, so as to force the residents to abandon their lands.
Also Thursday, the village of Tweil abu Jarwal was completely destroyed for close to the 20th time. The night prior to this demolition, six young men of the village were arrested and kept overnight in the police holding cells in Beer Sheva. They were arrested in the village on charges of trespassing on their own land, held overnight and then released on the sole condition that they refrain from returning to their homes for two weeks.