Il logo dell’Unione Europea non protegge dalle ruspe israeliane

026silviaboarini_51-131E.I. Bilal Hammadin guarda oltre le esili baracche del villaggio di Abu Nuwwar, nella Cisgiordania occupata, che ospita circa 600 palestinesi, verso i tetti rossi delle abitazioni di Maleh Adumim, un insediamento israeliano in cui vivono circa 40 mila persone.
«Crescendo vedevo l’insediamento ingrandirsi. Si potrebbe dire che siamo cresciuti insieme», egli dice ridendo della propria osservazione ironica.
Hamaddin sa molto bene che l’espansione dell’insediamento – edificato violando il diritto internazionale, che proibisce a una potenza occupante quale Israele di trasferire la propria popolazione nel territorio che essa occupa – ha causato il costante indebolimento della sua comunità.
A febbraio l’esercito israeliano ha demolito due caravan che erano utilizzati come scuola primaria e scuola media. Sui caravan, regalati da un’organizzazione non governativa francese tramite finanziamento dell’Unione Europea, era stampato ben visibile il logo dell’UE.

Demolite 150 strutture fornite da donatori

Alcune settimane fa la Francia ha condannato la demolizione da parte di Israele degli edifici del villaggio di Nabi Samuel, finanziate tramite aiuti umanitari francesi. Israele ha distrutto o confiscato strutture finanziate dalla Francia, compresa una scuola, tre volte, ad oggi, dall’inizio dell’anno.
In passato il logo dell’UE ha rappresentato una relativa protezione dalle demolizioni. Ma nel primo trimestre di quest’anno almeno 150 strutture finanziate dall’UE sono già state demolite dalle ruspe israeliane in Cisgiordania.
Alcuni osservatori – tra i quali un politico dell’estrema destra israeliana che ha sostenuto le demolizioni – ritengono che l’impennata delle demolizioni di strutture finanziate dall’UE sia una rappresaglia per le nuove regole dell’UE, emesse alla fine dello scorso anno, che richiedono l’etichettatura delle merci prodotte negli insediamenti israeliani.
La distruzione da parte di Israele di strutture palestinesi in Cisgiordania è triplicata nel primo trimestre del 2016, rispetto ai dati del triennio 2012-2015.
La maggior parte delle demolizioni è avvenuta nell’area C, il 60% della Cisgiordania sotto controllo totale israeliano in base agli accordi di Oslo, siglati nel 1993 da Israele e l’Organizzazione per la liberazione della Palestina.
Israele emette ordini di demolizione sul pretesto che le strutture sono state edificate senza permesso. Ma tra il 2010 e il 2014 le autorità israeliane hanno approvato solo l’1,5% delle richieste palestinesi di edificazione nell’area C.

Proteste, ma nessuna responsabilità

In una lettera all’esercito israeliano 8 ambasciatori in Israele hanno protestato per lo «smantellamento e la confisca» di rifugi finanziati dall’Unione Europea nel maggio e nel giugno scorsi.
Israele «deve fermare le demolizioni di case e proprietà palestinesi, in base agli obblighi dovuti dal diritto umanitario internazionale in quanto potenza occupante», ha aggiunto il portavoce, e deve «mettere fine alla politica di costruzione ed espansione degli insediamenti, di appropriazione di terre ad uso esclusivo israeliano e di impedimento allo sviluppo palestinese».
Ma finora non c’è stata reazione, da parte dell’UE – che elargisce finanziamenti a Israele, anche a progetti di ricerca su terreni occupati – alla responsabilità delle demolizioni.

Silvia Boarini è una fotogiornalista che risiede a Gerusalemme, coregistra del documentario «Empty Desert».

Traduzione di Stefano Di Felice
Jabal al-Baba is a village home to some 300 members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe, who were forcibly transferred from Tel Arad in the south of present-day Israel following the establishment of the state in 1948. The area is named Jabal al-Baba, literally the Pope’s Mountain, because the hill was bequeathed by King Hussein of Jordan, which administered the West Bank between 1948 and 1967, to the Vatican on the occasion of a papal visit in 1964. The Bedouin village is next to Vatican property on land that is privately owned by Palestinians in al-Eizariya but which since 1967, the year Israel occupied the West Bank, has partly been declared state land.
Once completed, Israel’s wall in the West Bank, which in this location currently consists of barbed wire, will sever Jabal al-Baba from the town of al-Eizariya. The Bedouin community depends on the town for services such as education and health clinics, and the wall will effectively trap the Bedouins on the “Israeli” side. The wall has already limited the grazing areas accessible to the agrarian community.
“We have no more space to graze our flocks, the wall is all around us and they demolish our homes. Israel is strangling us,” says Atallah Mazara, head of the village committee in Jabal al-Baba. Since its establishment in 1975, Maaleh Adumim settlement, to the east of Jabal al-Baba, has expanded, taking over land previously used for grazing livestock by the local Bedouin communities.
One of the EU-funded shelters demolished by Israel in Jabal al-Baba on 16 May 2016. A total of 10 structures were dismantled and confiscated, leaving some 49 people without shelter. Jabal al-Baba is one of many Bedouin hamlets that Israel views as an obstacle to territorial continuity in the corridor known as E1, which if developed would connect Maaleh Adumim settlement with Jerusalem. Bedouin communities in E1 are not accommodated for in Israel’s master plan for the area.
Boys from Jabal al-Baba take part in a summer camp. The Bedouin community has been able to set up a tent for guests on Vatican land. The structure is used for community activities and to welcome international guests.
An empty concrete slab is the former site of two trailers serving as classrooms in the village of Abu Nuwwar, also in the E1 corridor. The EU-funded structures were confiscated in the early morning of 20 February 2016, just one day after they had been installed by a French non-governmental group.
Elementary school students in Abu Nuwwar must travel by donkey to Wadi Abu Hindi, more than two kilometers away, for class. “It takes half an hour each way. If there was a bus it would be much easier, especially when it rains in winter,” says Bara Hammadin, 16 years old, seen here in the Abu Nuwwar kindergarten. Residents explain that an Israeli court ruling protects structures built prior to 2010, such as this kindergarten and most of the homes in Abu Nuwwar, from being demolished. But a ban on new construction does not accommodate the natural growth of the village, including building a primary school. The Jahalin are involved in a number of legal battles for the right to remain and expand where they currently reside.
To the south, beyond the shacks of Abu Nuwwar, lies the settlement of Kedar. Like Jabal al-Baba, Abu Nuwwar is viewed by Israel as an obstacle to settlement expansion in the E1 corridor.
Younes Hamadeen of Abu Nuwwar sits outside the kindergarten. “They would like us to live somewhere between the ground and the sky,” he jokes, referring to the obstacles that Israel imposes to prevent the development of the Jahalin communities. “We don’t want anything from Israel, just that they let us be. We have our own system, our own way of living, we just want to stay where we are.”
Khalil Hathaleen outside his home in Umm al-Kheir village in the South Hebron Hills. “They tell us we are all the same, blacks and whites, but here, we are really not,” he says. With a population of approximately 200 people belonging to the Jahalin clan, Umm al-Kheir is an Area C community under full Israeli control; next to it is the Israeli settlement of Carmel. Residents in Umm al-Kheir are not connected to the water or electricity networks, while the settlement enjoys these services.
Khalil Hathaleen in his home. Gesturing eastwards towards a nearby hamlet also known as Umm al-Kheir, which is included in Israel’s master plan for the area, he says: “They want us to move over there but that land is not ours, it belongs to other families, we can’t just go there.”
“Having the EU logo on the homes helped us for a while but in reality Israel is not scared of the EU,” says Umm al-Kheir resident Eid Hathaleen, who uses debris from demolitions to build models of machinery used by Israel to destroy homes and infrastructure. His work will be featured in an upcoming exhibition curated by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Berlin. “You can see it, life is very hard here, it’s like the far West,” he says, noting that settlers coming to remote areas like the South Hebron Hills believe they are on a mission to conquer land. “They tend to be aggressive types, not interested in conversation,” he adds.
The traditional *taboun* oven in Umm al-Kheir, seen in the foreground, has been the subject of many disputes with settlers in Carmel, seen in the background. The oven, used to bake bread, has been a central feature of the village for decades but since the expansion of the settlement 10 years ago, a legal battle has raged over its fate. Settlers have sought to have the oven removed, claiming that the fumes were a nuisance and health hazard. Settlers have raided the village multiple times — once in the company of Israeli soldiers — and extinguished the oven.