Friday, December 26, 2008

Celebrating Channukah in Israel bulldozing a mosque.

(Hands up all those who think that Muslim forces bulldozing a synagogue would be similarly ignored by the media.)

Israeli Bedouins are under attack once again.

From Josh Berer, who shared this information yesterday:

Hello friends,

Many of you will remember the flurry of emails we sent out around the end of November regarding the Straw-Bale Mosque in the unrecognized village of Wadi al-Naam. We in conjunction with another organization, Bustan, managed to organize a demonstration and show of support with the people of Wadi al-Naam and stopped the demolition of this mosque. We were, and continue to be, very thankful to all who showed their support with us and the Bedouin of Wadi al-Naam.

We are extremely sad to tell you that this morning at five o'clock AM Israeli forces arrived at the mosque and razed it to the ground. The builder and director of the project, Mahmoud Jarbeau, was sleeping in the mosque when he heard the rumble of bulldozers, and awoke to find a demolition team at his door.

He served for 9 years in the Israeli Defense Forces, ending his career as an officer in the Paratrooper Corps, and has poured more than 40,000 US dollars of his own savings into the project over the past 6 months.

We called an emergency meeting to discuss our response, and have decided to begin rebuilding the mosque immediately, and would like your help in doing so!

In addition, we are actively soliciting financial support from the community to help in the rebuilding process. God willing, it will be rebuilt soon, and will serve as a testament to the will of the people to persevere in the face of enormous adversity.

A constructive protest is planned:

Join us in rebuilding the mosque on Friday, January 2 in Wadi al-Naam!

We can arrange transport from Beer Sheva, and want to see as many people as possible there to help us rebuild! It's going to be fun! We'll dance around in mud and then build it into walls, the walls become a building and there you have a mosque!

Meanwhile the destruction of homes continues as well--for the apparent crime of being Bedouin in Israel:

Also today, a home was demolished in the unrecognized village of Mkaimin, near Lagiya.

Raya Abu Atik lived in her tin home since 1975. She waited together with the rest of her community for the government to recognize her village, a village that is in this location since Ottoman times. After more than 25 years was still no recognition of the government, but after 25 years tin homes erode. Eventually it was blown away by the wind. Her community tried to re-ground the tin home, but it flew again in the next strong wind. So the community pitched in and built a new home – again a tin home, same size, same location. This was two years ago. It did not take long and a demolition order was posted on the "new" home. Arguing before a judge, the family showed arial photos from the 1980s, showing the same home in the same location. The judge was not impressed. This morning, a rainy morning in the middle of the Jewish holiday of Hannuka and on Christmas day, the police forcefully took the 12 children living the home out to wait in the rain while the budozers demolished their "new" home. Now all the children are spread out among their neighbors. Their community will pitch a tent for the family.

UPDATE: More on Israel's ethnic cleansing of Bedouins and its forcible seizure of traditional Bedouin land in the Negev here. According to RCUV, the aim is to force Bedouins off their lands and into existing towns, to make way for an expected influx of 250,000 Jewish immigrants into the South Negev over the next five years.

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