‘Cruelest demolition’ kills Palestinians’ sheep and signals political tension with Europeans
February 21, 2012We 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.
"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."