Placement visits are opportunities for EAs to see how things are outside our own region of the West Bank. Today I have been visiting the Jerusalem team. While in the midst of a three-hour tour of the Old City, so awesome that it will need its own blog post later, the team received notification of an ongoing demolition in the Bedouin village of Jaba, just north of Jerusalem. When we arrived, we found that seven structures, including five shelters for goats and sheep and two dwellings, had been demolished.
Moussa, a middle aged man, described how his mother and father had had their living space demolished with no warning. When the bulldozer came, the soldiers gave them five minutes to take belongings out.
Moussa’s father was sitting in a chair nearby, staring silently. Moussa’s mother, Fatma, showed me where she had been brewing tea on a wood fire just at the entrance to the tent. The ashes were still a little warm where the fire had been.
We asked other family members how they would keep track of the goats now, without any shelter. They expressed worry about the oncoming winter. But they added, “The neighbors will help us. We are all like one family in the situation.”
However, solidarity cannot change the fact that the people here are regularly harassed by local settlers. Solidarity cannot change the fact that children have been arrested from these tents in the middle of the night. Nor can the people in the village forget that they still have demolition orders outstanding for other dwellings. The village is in Area C. The Army could come at any time.
In the rubble, we heard a faint peeping and the children began to pull apart wood and metal, digging quickly in the rubble. After some minutes, they emerged with one small chick that had survived the bulldozer.
Somehow, finding this chick alive gave us all a bit, a tiny bit, of triumph, happiness and hope.
We need more.