The title sounds absurd. And it is. But it’s true. The Zionists don’t just destroy homes, university, mosques, crops, livestock, schools, hospitals and airport. They destroy the Palestinian toilets too!
About 1,500 Palestinians in a dozen West Bank hamlets maintain a unique tradition of cave dwelling.
The Civil Administration on Wednesday knocked down 13 structures – most of them toilet facilities – donated by Christian groups to Palestinians living in two cave communities in the West Bank.
The Civil Administration, a branch of the Israel Defense Forces that deals with civilian issues in the territories, sent troops Wednesday afternoon to knock the buildings down.
The facilities serve dozens of residents of the Mrar al-Abid and Safieh communities, which are otherwise not connected to a water supply or any electrical grid.
The cave dwellers have previously suffered from harassment by the IDF, which has in the past destroyed their homes and sealed up water sources as well as restricting their freedom of movement. Local residents have also been victims of settler intimidation.
The High Court of Justice, however, has prevented the cave dwellers’ expulsion from their communities.
The Civil Administration said the structures were demolished because they were constructed without building permits in accordance with the law.
The South Hebron Hills region coordinator for the Ta’ayush Arab-Jewish organization, Ezra Nawi, said he believes the demolition of the structures is connected to a planned move by the government to evacuate illegal settlements in the area.
Nawi said the state is attempting to show it is confronting the phenomenon of illegal Palestinian construction just as it is facing off against illegal settlement outposts.
Masafer Yatta, occupied West Bank – In
the district of Masafer Yatta, in the southern part of the occupied
West Bank, about 1,500 Palestinians in a dozen hamlets maintain a unique
tradition of cave dwelling.
“We live the same way my ancestors used to. It is a very simple life;
we live with the seasons, taking care of the flock, harvesting the
fields. We collect water from two wells, and a power generator provides
electricity,” said Mahmoud Hussein Hamamdi, who lives in Um Faqarah, a
cave hamlet where the Israeli military has prevented the building of any
According to research by Ali Qleibo, a Palestinian anthropologist
studying these communities, the tribes from the south of Jerusalem to
the outskirts of Beersheba were all cave dweller communities until the
“The powerful symbolism of these caves still resonates in the
Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition, as is evident in the Cave of Abraham
in Hebron, the Cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and the cave under the
Dome of the Rock,” Qleibo told Al Jazeera.
harvest wheat in the village of Um Faqarah. However, the production is
barely enough to cover the needs of the population, as most of the land
was seized for Israeli military bases and settlements. When there is no
rain, the plants also suffer because Palestinian residents are denied
access by Israel to running water. [Eloise Bollack/Al Jazeera]