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Three houses, roads and water pipes demolished near Tuwayel village, southeast of Nablus.

Early on Monday morning, while the inhabitants of the village of Tell at Khashaba, near Tuwayel, were sleeping, 8 military vehicles, a large front end loader, a backhoe and 30-40 soldiers came to the village. Within two hours the military had demolished 3 houses, water pipes and roads.

Photographs of the Israeli military taken early Monday morning by a local resident

The water pipes destroyed this morning were new and scheduled to be turned on Monday. The Aqraba community had funded these water pipes as part of the municipal water system. Of their destruction Sami Dariyah said: “They are trying to prevent people from living in this area. This is their clear policy.” Because of the continuing demolishment of houses, electric lines, water lines and other living necessities the farmers have fled to the city of Aqraba and departed their lands in Tell at Khashaba. Sami Direyah grew up near Tuwayel and remembers the many houses and shops that used to be there.

 Photograph before and after the house demolitions today

Prior to the occupation a village of 18-20 houses, including a small shop was here

Because of the nearby illegal new settlement of Etermar, the Israeli military has declared the village of Tuwayel and the area around it a closed military zone. With an Area C designation the Israeli Military now chooses what buildings and activities will be allowed. Sami wonders how their existing community, their farms and their 100 year old houses can suddenly become illegal.

Even though the 3 demolished houses were nearly 100 years old, dating from the British occupation, they were all still active homes for families like the Mahers. The residents of the houses were not given any warning the military’s planned visit. Sofian Maher, a former resident of one of these homes, tells us that this is not the first time the military has paid a visit to Tuwayel. In May of this year the village’s Mosque was demolished by an Israeli military bulldozer together with 4 other houses, 4 cottages and 2 barns. Less than 1 month ago the power line was cut by the military, leaving the village without electricity.

Photograph taken by Bakr Direyah at the demonstration in May after the demolition of the local Mosque

Sofian Maher and local resident near their destroyed home near Tell at Khashaba

Sofian Maher told us about how his family tried to rebuild their house after it was demolished in May. While rebuilding, Sofian’s family lived in a donated tent but the military returned to tear down the tent.  The family then moved into old stone huts that were built, long ago, to house animals while shepherding.  Periodically the military came back and destroyed the newly rebuild portions of their house. The family is now trying to rebuild their home for the fourth time.

To further make the area uninhabitable the military dug out sections of the road going to the farms that are left.  No less than 25 places the roadway was dug out, this included all of the culverts.  In addition there was a long section where the whole roadway had been dug out.

One of the demolished barns

This morning 3 houses were also demolished in Ramadin ash Shamali near Qalqiliya, Ramallah.

To improve the military’s ability to return regularly to Tell at Khashaba they cut a new road from the military base through the farmer’s fields and farms directly into Tell at Khashaba.

Scott and Sophie, 

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