The Demolition of Ali Salem Moussa’s House in Al’ Khader on the 14th of April 2010
ImageThe stove is standing outside under the sky, next to it a washing machine and in the background a big white tent. We are sitting in what till yesterday used to be the living room of the Moussa family, around us nothing but the little remains of the outside walls.
The Moussa family owned 4 houses on their property where different parts of the family lived. It is actually not really appropriate to speak of houses since the buildings mostly just include one room, a bathroom and a kitchen, all constructed with simple concrete blocks and a tin roof on top. In 2002 the first of them got demolished the when Israel’s Government started to build the Road 60 to connect the settlements like Efrat directly to Jerusalem and to each other. In this time the family lost a lot of their land to the wall which is supposed to protect the street now stretching through the valley underneath their land.
The Israeli Government came back on the 12th of February 2004 and demolished not only the rebuilt house but along with it two more. In this time it was snowing which made the whole situation even harder to suddenly stand on your land without having a roof above you to protect you from the outside conditions.
Since just one house remained on their property which was not demolished, the whole family had to live together with 17 people in one room. In 2006 Israel’s High Court decided to freeze demolitions on the Moussa family land.
ImageOn the 14th of April, 2010 at around 10:00 am the bulldozers rolled into the town of Al’ Khader and up the hill to the property of the Moussa family.When they arrived, the administrator was asked by Ali Moussa’s son to show the papers with the order for the demolition of this house but in the end he never saw them. At this time their lawyer was already on his way to Al’ Khader with the decision by Israel’s High Court, declaring that the demolition is not legal.
Everything went really fast, the family begged the soldiers to at least wait till the lawyer arrives but they already started their work. The lawyer arrived but not one of the present soldiers paid attention to the court decision and within 5 minutes the whole house was destroyed.
So for the third time all that is left are pieces of tin roof lying around, debris, and a family without shelter. The 8 year old son of the family came home from school just after the bulldozers had left again and he simply did not understand why his home suddenly was completely vanished. He was running around crying and asking his father and his brothers why but nobody could give him an understandable answer.
Ali says that he does not even care anymore, he got kind of used to this. The abnormal became normal here for him and it seems like the experience of having lost his home now three times broke the fear of this loss inside him. He stated clearly: “This is our land and we are going to build up our home again and again on our ground because we know that this is our right.”
On the other side of the valley our home rebuilding project for the Salah’s family is about to get finished and to watch that process while standing in the ruins of another just demolished home seems ridiculous but hopefully it will be possible to rebuilt this simple house within the next days with the support of Al’ Khader’s municipality.