The Demolition of an Israeli Arab village is why Israel is an Apartheid State & why a racist state has no ‘right to exist’

The Demolition of an Israeli Arab village is why Israel is an Apartheid State & why a racist state has no ‘right to exist’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Raba Abu al-Kiyan, the widow of Yakub, next to the rubble of their home in Umm al-Hiran. Alex Levac
If you want to know why Israel is a racist state, with
racism embedded in its DNA, then read the following stories.  It is also why Israel is not a ‘normal’ Western bourgeois democratic state.  Only a settler colonial state demolishes whole villages belonging to a particular ethnicity in order to build on top of it a town belonging to the colonial elite, in this case Jews.  And of course, unlike the Arab village of Umm al-Hiran, the Jewish town of Hiran will have running water, electricity, be connected to the sewerage etc.  Such things are taken for granted in Jewish towns but not in ‘unrecognised’ Arab villages.
A Bedouin village, Umm al-Hiran in Israel’s Negev desert
(not the Occupied West  Bank or Gaza)
which, after over 60 years, was demolished in order to make way for the
‘Jewish’ town of Hiran.
The Negev is largely unoccupied.  Few Jews want to live there.  It would have been easy to  build a Jewish town next to Umm al Hiran but
that would have defeated another racist master plan, the Prawer Plan.  It is an article of faith amongst Israel’s
planners and demographers that the Negev must be Judified.  In other words Arabs must be confined to
their own shanty towns at the disposal of Israeli industry.  The High Court when allowing the demolition
was told that the new town of Hiran would include Arabs but now they have been
told that only religious Jews will be allowed to join.  The High Court, having willingly been
deceived, is not likely to overturn its original judgement.  Today Israel’s High Court, which has always
been complicit in Zionist colonisation and ethnic cleansing, is being cleansed
of any Judge who is seen as concerned about human rights.  The Court is both being stuffed with
right-wing settler justices and it is under attack because it isn’t racist
enough.

Tony Greenstein
Eight
months ago, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan was killed by police during a protest against
the demolition of Bedouin houses to make way for Jewish ones; his widow and 10
kids are living in a tent next to the rubble of their home
Gideon
Levy and Alex Levac Sep 08, 2017 8:13 PM
Wearing
black, she emerges from her tent, a beautiful, smiling woman whose face is
etched with the lines of life’s ordeals. Raba Abu al-Kiyan, the widow of Yakub
– the teacher who was shot to death on January 18 by the Israel Police, who in
a snap decision concluded that he was trying to run them over – lives in a tent
next to the ruins of her home in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the
Negev.
When we
visited here a few days after the incident, Raba repeatedly circled the rubble,
mutely. Her nephew Akram, a medical student in Moldova, told us at the time
that she was reconstructing her last moments with Yakub. This week she stood at
the entrance to the large tent that is her home and that of her 10 children and
one grandchild, and, in the late-summer heat, bottle of water in hand, agreed
to talk.
For eight
months – through winter, spring, summer and now with the onset of autumn – the
bereaved family has called this tent home. The heaps of rubble nearby have lain
untouched since that fateful, early January morning, the morning of the killing
and destruction in Umm al-Hiran. The ruins of the parents’ house, the
children’s house, the animal pen – all are just as they were. People don’t
clear away the rubble in Umm al-Hiran, because they understand that in any
event they’re living on borrowed time here.
On July
18, the bulldozers returned and started to prepare the ground for the
religious-Jewish community of Hiran, which is to be built on the ruins of the
Bedouin village. The work is going on just steps away from the tent where Raba
and her children live. They probably won’t be able to stay here much longer.
Her
father called her Raba (“four,” because she was the fourth child) and
her mother called her Najah, which means “success.” Raba-Najah was born 46
years ago on this now rubble-strewn soil. Her husband Yakub’s second wife,
Amal, had gone to visit her parents the day we visited. Amal is the widow of
his deceased brother; Yakub married her after his brother died, according to
tradition.
A pall of
despair seems to have descended on Umm al-Hiran. No one is expanding his house,
no one is renovating or fixing anything – neglect is rampant. The mounds of
ruins have become street furniture, the meager plantings have wilted, there’s
no reason to cultivate anything. The generators, the black water containers,
the satellite dishes and the solar panels – all are now signs of transience
here, scattered about on the ground, after dozens of years of habitation. Only
the access road to the community, formerly scarred and pot-holed, was
miraculously repaired and repaved recently. After all, it’s going to serve
Jewish residents soon.
An uneasy
silence hovered over Umm al-Hiran under a blazing noontime sun, penetrated
occasionally by the bleating of a lamb or the crying of an infant. Everyone
understands that the fate of the village is sealed: Bedouin out, Jews in. And
not just any Jews – according to the charter of the new community that will be
built here, its land will be sold exclusively to “observers of the Torah and
the precepts according to the values of Orthodox Judaism.”
The core settler
group is already waiting, living in mobile homes, in the nearby Yattir Forest.
Two weeks
ago, the district planning and building committee approved a plan for the
evacuees of the Bedouin village to be moved to a provisional site for 15 years,
in Hura in the southern Negev. In the entire expanse of this vast desert, only
here in Umm al-Hiran was a place found for Jews to settle in, on the site of
yet another demolished village.
Residents look at the remains of homes demolished in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in southern Israel, January 25, 2017.Alex Levac
Strewn
about, across from Raba’s tent, the double mattress she shared with her husband
lies amid solar panels; their personal effects remain trapped under concrete
beams. Iron rods, kitchen cupboards, a basin. Of the small olive grove that
Yakub tended, the wreckers left only one ornamental tree, which thrusts up from
the ruins.
“They
thought that was their tree, a tree that we didn’t plant, so they let it be,”
Raba says, “but it’s a tree that Yakub planted.”
The sheep Yakub raised as a
hobby, which were the apple of his eye, also survived and now lie, reeling from
the heat, in a small new pen that was built for them. Two mangy stray dogs have
found shelter under the wreckage of a car.
Along the
sloping dirt road on which Yakub drove slowly to his death, exactly at the
place where he was shot by the police, a modest monument of stones in his
memory has been erected, surrounded by used tires. Before leaving his house in
his jeep, he told Raba and the children to stay clear. “It’s dangerous here,
Yakub said. His family never saw him again.
Last
weekend, on Id al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, Raba prepared two holiday
meals, one “a meal for Yakub,” the other for guests. She took the meal for her
late husband to the mosque and donated it to the needy.
The
couple’s eldest son, Hussam, 25, completed medical school in Odessa and is now
preparing for the Israeli certification examinations. Unable to study in the
hot, crowded tent, he travels to Be’er Sheva every day, to the library of
Ben-Gurion University; his father had a master’s degree in computer engineering
from BGU.
Daughter
Maryam, 21, emerges from the tent and joins the conversation. Smiling and
exuding charm, she’s a student at Kaye Academic College of Education in Be’er
Sheva. At the time of her father’s death, she was doing a trial week as a
kindergarten teacher. Three weeks later, she sat for exams. She says she was
unhappy with the grades she attained, in the shadow of the trauma.
A memorial for Yakub Abu al-Kiyan in Umm al-Hiran. Alex Levac
When her
mother stumbles while speaking Hebrew, Maryam helps her out. Her teacher-training
studies haven’t yet resumed for the fall, so she’s helping out in the tent.
There are no toilet facilities, and the only electric power they have is
generated by a solar device.
Everyone
in the village has been living in the shadow of fear since January, Maryam
says, especially the children.
“I am in
a constant state of worry,” she says. “Maybe they will come back again to
demolish. Maybe we will leave home in the morning and won’t be able to come
back in the afternoon because everything will be blocked and they will level
the rest of the houses. If they destroy my home, they will destroy all the
memories that it contains for me.”
In the
meantime, other than a widow’s allowance from social security, Raba hasn’t
received anything from the state, whose leaders lost no time calling her
husband – a revered teacher – a “wicked terrorist,” in the words of Police
Commissioner Roni Alsheich. Later they half-retracted what they had said,
without apologizing. Nor is the Justice Ministry department that investigates
the police in any hurry to help out. Following reports that the department’s
investigators had found a “grave operational failure” in the conduct of the
police on January 18, and that “there was probably no terrorist event” – an
oppressive, prolonged silence has prevailed, as though the case has been
closed.
At the
other end of the village, Yakub’s nephew, Raad Abu al-Kiyan, continues to wage
a struggle for the community’s survival. Forty years old, polished and
articulate, he’s the chairman of the village committee and he sets forth his
views again, tirelessly. His wife, Maryam, who has a master’s in public policy
management from BGU, is the chairwoman of a local women’s group.
Raad
works in the realm of environmental quality, but won’t say where.
“They
killed Yaakov and Musa,
” he says, referring to his uncle and to his
grandfather, Musa, Yakub’s father, who died 21 days after his son was killed,
possibly from heartbreak.
“We’ve
lived here for 62 years without getting a thing from state, which settled us
here. And now the state rewards us with murder – a state that employs all its
force against its citizens,”
Raad says. “We asked for a partner who would come
and talk with us. Who would bring a real offer. But they don’t want an
agreed-upon solution. They want to do things by force. Why is there only an
enforcement unit that operates against the Bedouin, the [Israel Police’s] Yoav Unit?
Is there a unit against people from the Caucasus? Against the Russians? The
Ethiopians? Why is there an enforcement unit only against us?
We
suggested that we live together, one next to the other,”
he continues. “But the
Hiran charter states that the community will be only for Orthodox Jews. Why did
Yakub and Musa have to be killed in order to bring Yaakov and Moshe instead?
It’s no small thing, what happened on January 18. The world knows what happened
here. Now they want to do things by force again, but without anyone noticing.
To remove Umm al-Hiran from the ‘front,’ to soften things, so it’s not felt –
and then to expel us. We don’t know what to expect, but we haven’t lost hope. A
hope that’s 2,000 years old.
Adds
Raba: “Aren’t we citizens? I tell my friends from Hebron: You live better than
us. You have land. We don’t even have that.”
Her
daughter, Maryam, points to the concrete ceiling that lies crushed on the
ground. “This is where we did our homework, and here’s where we played, so we
wouldn’t bother Dad, who liked quiet.”
Every
month Raba visits Yakub’s grave, at nearby Tel Shoket. She was there early this
week, too, with two of her children. What do you tell her husband in his grave?
That God will help.”

 

 

 

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