The January 2014 demolition that left 25 shelterless

Finding out what hard life truly means so one can learn to count their blessings and be grateful, let's read the story of Mushakhis Bani Maniya.

Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah is in the Jordan Valley of occupied Palestine.  Twenty-five members of this little desert community have been sleeping under the stars in the cold wintry nights of January after their humble tin-shelters were demolished, including the only water pipe serving the community.  The sheep-pens were also dismantled by Israeli bulldozers on January 8, 2014.  A few days later, the tents given to them by the red cross were also destroyed and confiscated by Israeli authorities.  The residents re-built simple pens several times to protect the new-born lambs which they fear will die in the cold.  But the makeshift pens have been repeatedly pulled down since January 8.  Israeli authorities have kept returning after the major demolition of January 8th to ensure they continue to wreck and destroy every temporary shelter the residents may re-erect to survive. 

Mushakhis Ahmad Yusef Bani Maniya is a 40-year-old mother of seven children living in Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah. On January 13, 2014 she told the story of her small community to the reporter who visited them. 

In the words of Mushakhis Bani Maniya:

"We have been living in Khirbet Ein Karzaliyah  for 25 years.  During this time, the military has come and demolished our tents and sheep-pens a few times.  The most massive demolition, up to this year, was in 2008 and we applied to the Israeli courts. Although life here is very hard because there are no paved roads, electricity and other services, we keep on living here because we have flocks of sheep that need to graze. 

About two or three weeks ago, my husband told me that the Israeli authorities had decided to demolish our homes. I got very upset and worried. We have nowhere else to live. We have nowhere to go.

On 8 January 2014, a large force of the Israeli military came with bulldozers and demolished all of our structures. We were left without any shelter. The children were exposed to the elements. The lambs got mixed in with the adult sheep and their hay got covered with dirt. Everything was ruined. It was an awful sight. We decided to stay put. We rebuilt the pens, mostly to protect the young sheep from the elements and predators. The Red Cross gave us small tents and we put them up.

At around 6:00 o’clock this morning, soldiers came and dismantled even the six tents we got from the Red Cross. Again, we set up the sheep-pens and took the animals out to graze. Again we have no shelter. It’s winter and we’re out in the open, exposed to the elements. So is our property. We don't know what to do. 

But despite it all, this morning I lit the fire, kneaded dough and baked bread and cooked for my children. See, now I'm making cheese, with the wind and the dust. It's not easy."