Boston artist Steve Mills - realistic painting

Thursday, February 23, 2012

‘Cruelest demolition’ kills Palestinians’ sheep and signals political tension with Europeans

‘Cruelest demolition’ kills Palestinians’ sheep and signals political tension with Europeans

Philip Weiss

February 21, 2012

We often report about house demolitions, but it is something else to see one up close. Two days ago in Palestine I saw "the cruelest demolition" in the tiny village of Sadat a Thaale in the southern West Bank.
Last Wednesday morning, the Israeli civil administration came into the village, which is situated between two sprawling Israeli settlements, and used heavy equipment to destroy three structures: a house that was home to eight people, a cistern, and a large sheep shed. The authorities did not even empty the shed of sheep when they crushed the roof. Farmer Jamil Awad told international visitors that five sheep were killed, including one lamb.
You can see the destruction, and the dead lamb, in the video I shot above. You can see the cistern too, broken and fouled.
About 1 minute into the video, I call over Ezra Nawi, the famous Israeli activist who was arrested last week when he protested this demolition. In the wind-whipped interview, he says that this was the "cruelest demolition" he has ever witnessed-- because the authorities wanted to destroy animals.
The likely reason for the demolition-- the true object of the Israeli civil administration's wrath-- is an ambitious solar project that gives the 100 villagers of Sadat a Thaale minimal electrical power. In the last year, the German government working with an Israeli/Palestinian group called Community Energy and Technology in the Middle East (Comet-ME) to erect a bank of solar panels and a battery house, at a cost of about $80,000.
But in the last two months, the Israeli government has issued stop work orders on the solar panels in Sadat a Thaale and five other villages. The obstruction could turn into an international incident.

Video 14 0 00 01 27
Elad Orian at disputed solar panels in Sadat a Thaale
"Area C is the most important political issue in Palestine at the moment," Elad Orian of Comet told me. "It's becoming clear from both the Palestinian Authority side and the European Union that they do not accept Israeli policies any more [against Palestinian building in the West Bank]. This issue is at the forefront of international politics."
Akiva Eldar reports that the German government is making the solar panels an issue:
A German Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the German government is aware of the stoppage order for the solar energy systems in Tha'lah, and is in close contact with the Israeli government in order to find an amicable solution. The German press sees Israel's behavior as a rude gesture to the European Union, which dared publish a report critical of Israel's discriminatory policy toward 150,000 Palestinians in Area C, who have survived the harassment of the authorities and the fury of the settlers.
The solar project is one of 16 that Comet has undertaken with a political goal: to keep Palestinian villages on the map. The projects are being built without permission from the Israelis, who may have discovered their presence from satellite imagery.
Sadat a Thaale can be found on British survey maps of the last century, Orian said. But in recent years, two large settlements, Ma'on and Carmel, have taken over the nearby hills and prevented the villagers from grazing sheep on the land.
Near the end of the video, you can see Ezra Nawi gesturing at the village lands that were taken over by the neighboring settlements, and see a shepherd leading sheep on village lands.
Jamil Awad repeatedly thanked international visitors for coming to observe the destruction. While Orian, explaining his own commitment to the "strong" villagers, said, "The work we do is based on our understanding that, to put it in high terms, the oppressor is as enslaved as the oppressed. I don't want to live in a place where racism is institutionalized. I want to create a different reality."
Here are excerpts of that interview with Nawi:
Q. How does this make you feel?
A. Great. [ironic] I have never seen such a cruel demolition. I've been to many many... When somebody kill animals, he come to such a level...
He [an official who participated in the destruction] was smiling... I met him outside... I said, your face show that you have endless orgasm, so satisfied...
Q. This makes me think something is very wrong with Zionism.
A. I think Zionist is ... very racist, very very racist. People don't know the real face of Zionism from the 20s, the 30s.
Q. Is this the real face?
It's one of the faces.


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