Presentation on theme: "The destruction of Khirbet Tana near Beit Foureek - the act of state vandalism Report by MachsomWatch following a site tour on July 23, 2005. Written by."— Presentation transcript:
The destruction of Khirbet Tana near Beit Foureek - the act of state vandalism Report by MachsomWatch following a site tour on July 23, Written by Nina Mayorek. The historical background was provided by the mayor of Beit Foureek Mr. Husam Hanani and by the member of the municipality Mr.Atef Hanani (Beit Foureek Municipality website:
Geography and living conditions Khirbet Tana is a small Palestinian village located a few kilometers east of Beit Foureek. The land of this village belongs to its farmers, who are also members of the Beit Foureek community (they have ownership certificates going back to the Turkish rule times). Beit Foureek community includes around 12,000 citizens. Around 150 people (including children) live most of the year (from September to June) in Khirbet Tana. In addition, about 300 persons come for agricultural work in this area during daytime, but do not stay there at night. During hot months of July and August, the village is empty: families, together with their livestock, move to Beit Foureek. Families used to live in Khirbet Tana in small houses build from stone or concrete blocks and covered with metal sheets. There are many caves in the area, where people keep their livestock. The area is rich in water sources, which are very important considering a very limited water supply of Beit Foureek. There is a very old mosque with an adjacent archeological site and there was a school building consisting of two rooms, where children from grade one to four used to study. It is worthwhile to add that Beit Foureek belongs to area B and Khirbet Tana to area C (i.e. Occupied Territory under direct military control; Israeli policy is directed towards expropriating area C for settlements.)
The demolition On July 4th, 2005 a demolition order issued by Israeli administrative authority was found on the ground by passers by. The document was issued on June 15, 2005 and addresses an unspecified owner (no name is mentioned). The title of the document is "An announcement on a right to appeal against demolition order no 13741". It is stated that a 45 square meter shelter and a surrounding stone fence will be demolished and an owner has a right to appeal within 3 days. It is worthwhile to note that this document is written in Hebrew, and that it was not delivered to any person, but just left on the ground. Next day, July 5th, 2005, early in the morning, somebody called Beit Foureek municipality and said that 15 army jeeps surround Khirbet Tana and two bulldozers destroy the village. People were prevented from entering Khirbet Tana, which was declared a closed military zone. They managed to see the result of the destruction at 11 am after the Israeli army left.
The destruction as seen by Machsom Watchers today Piles of rubble are seen all over Khirbet Tana. All buildings (23) are destroyed except the mosque and one one-room cement brick building. The school was demolished but the school furniture including chairs and a blackboard are tidily arranged by the mosque wall probably expressing the respect for educational needs of Palestinian children by the Most Humane Army in the Middle East army, which brought to ruin the entire village. The bread-baking oven is destroyed. The store with many sacs of food for sheep is demolished in such a way that sacs were covered by falling walls of the structure.
The remains from the school: the school consisted of two rooms and serviced children from grade one to four: a teacher was coming every day from Nablus
The old mosque was not demolished. By the mosque soldiers arranged tidily school furniture before the demolition of the school building.
The taboon, an oven for bread baking, which women of the village used, was also demolished.
The store with sacks of sheep and goat fodder was demolished so that the valuable fodder is buried under the walls of the store
While showing us the destruction, our Palestinian companions spotted an army jeep on an opposite hill. Our driver asked us to leave immediately. He was very much afraid of any encounter with the army. Another car with owners of the demolished structures, who also visited Khirbet Tana at the same time, left in hurry as well. Soon the chase on a very steep and narrow road developed - soldiers in the jeep wanted to catch the other car. They lost in this race so they stopped our vehicle. We asked soldiers why they chase cars and got mixed answers - something like: "we know which cars are allowed to be there". When we asked which specific cars are allowed to be in Khirbet Tana an answer was that everybody is allowed to be there, but running away was suspicious in their eyes. Clearly it was important to them to show who is the boss of this area.
The villagers of Khirbet Tana are very determined to come back and to restore their life there. They need your help and support – write protest letters to Israeli government officials and embassies Owners of the land in Hirbet Tana