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Israeli bulldozers bury Bedouin village

Feb. 22, 2011 10:56 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2011 10:00 A.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- The five tents giving shelter to some 50 Bedouin residents of Amniyr, a tiny community north of Susiya in the south Hebron hills, were torn down on Monday, their olive trees uprooted and water sources covered over.

An observer with the Christian Peacemaker Teams said Israeli demolition crews arrived before sunrise, at about 5:30 a.m., and began taking down the tents, then filled a well and a water cistern with earth.

"They uprooted several olive trees and buried them under the dirt," he said.

All that was left of the small herding community was a cave, where residents took shelter during the demolition, and a small bread oven made of stone, the observer said.

Residents had moved back to the area during the winter, saying settler harassment at a second location one kilometer away had driven them out. Years earlier the same harassment had forced them from the location where the tents were demolished.

Residents said they had ownership papers for the land at one point, but according to the observer every week for the past month Israeli officials from the Civil Administration have delivered notices saying the community was living on state land and must evacuate.

"The demolition orders were delivered on 15 February," the observer said.

Residents say they are planning to rebuild, and will contact the International Red Cross to supply tents.

"We need god's help," Hajj Mohammed, a resident of the community told Ma'an, "we don't know what we are going to do."

Representatives from Israel's Civil Administration did not answer calls seeking comment.

On Sunday, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories Maxwell Gaylard condemned a similar demolition targeting a community in the northern West Bank. In Khirbet Tana, residents have had their tent homes destroyed four times since January.

"If the authorities ultimately responsible for these demolitions could see the devastating impact on vulnerable Palestinian communities, they might reflect upon the inhumanity of their actions," Gaylard said in a statement following the last demolition.
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