October 16, 2018

In East Jerusalem, more Palestinian families brace for Israeli home demolitions

The Al Shaludi building was the first to go.

At 1 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 19, around 50 members of “>rammed his car into a Jerusalem Light Rail station on Oct. 22. The crash killed a three-month-old baby girl and an Ecuadorian immigrant, and sent Jerusalem into a new era of racial tension and violence “>according to the New York Times. “When he knows that his house, the house in which his family lives, will be demolished, this will have an impact.” His spokesman, Mark Regev, elaborated in an interview with the Times:

“There is a culture of support within Palestinian society — these people are put up on a pedestal, they become martyrs, they become heroes, they are praised by the Palestinian leadership, their families are embraced, there are also very practical benefits for the family vis-a-vis financial support. In many ways, an action against the house is evening of the playing field. One is saying that by committing a heinous crime, in this case by murdering a baby, there will be a price to be paid.”

Enas Al Shaludi doubted the move would deter future attacks.

“I don't like to see innocent people dying. I don't like to see anyone die — Jew or Palestinian,” she said. “But violence will create more violence. Action will create more action. The situation will only become worse. The only solution is to end the occupation, and to “>the IDF demolished two family homes in the West Bank belonging to Palestinian men suspected of carrying out the “>discontinued in 2005 after the IDF declared it ineffective, and had only been approved in two exceptional cases since.

But by last Wednesday morning, the IDF was confident enough in its decision to send out a mass text alert to journalists just after 5 a.m.

The message read:

“Tonight, IDF and Israeli Police forces demolished the house of the terrorist responsible for running over Israel civilians in a Jerusalem train station on October 22. The terrorist, Abed Al-Rahman Al-Shaludi, resident of Silwan, is responsible for the deaths of a baby girl and a young woman, as well as the injuries of five other civilians.”

It was no doubt “>statement to the nation on the night of the attack, the prime minister said:

“We will not tolerate this reality; we will fight terrorism and we will defeat it. We will restore law, order and security to the streets of Jerusalem. This evening I ordered the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the massacre and the hastening of the demolition of the homes of the terrorists who perpetrated the earlier attacks.”

“>flipped a Jerusalem bus with his tractor on Aug. 4, are on the IDF's list.

Theirs is a tight-knit neighborhood that cascades down a hill just south of Jerusalem's Old City, spilling over the political fault line that separates East Jerusalem from the West Bank. And on Friday afternoon in Jabel Mukabbir, hundreds of residents had gathered to support the Abu Jamal family at a mourning tent for Ghassan and Uday.

“There is rain coming,” said Kamal Awisat, 51, a cousin of the Abu Jamal family. “We have to stand by these people. They are our people.”

“>in the Shuafat refugee camp, where another Palestinian man who crashed his car into a Jerusalem Light Rail station used to live — have been trying to block demolition teams from entering. This has meant vicious clashes between police and protesters in both neighborhoods, with hundreds injured from rubber bullets and tear gas inhalation.

“Gas is now oxygen for the Shuafat refugee camp,” one camp resident told me last week. (Pictured below: Smoke from burning tires billows over the separation wall that cuts through Shuafat.)

“>stench of skunk water still fill the streets from the clashes. Young residents told me they succeeded in driving back demolition forces a couple nights ago — but eventually, they said, Israel will send in a larger team to get the job done.

“Exploding a home, this is the most scary thing for us,” said a 22-year-old woman from Jabel Mukabbir who works as a nurse at an Israeli hospital. She only gave her initials, R.A., so as not to endanger her job.

R.A. also volunteers for a Palestinian emergency response team, where she's been treating protesters wounded in the clashes. “We couldn't just let them come in,” she said of Israeli forces. “All of the people of this village stopped them from entering. We are very close here; every home is our home. We can't give up that easily.”

Next door, in the more low-key, up-scale East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, there's another IDF demolition slated for the home of Mutaz Hijazi — the man suspected of