Activities of the kindergarten of Huda Bechashem al Darag And a review (not planned) of the destruction of Sarura

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Mira Balaban (reporting) and Muhammad (driver and and part of the activity); Translator: Natanya

We had not been  at Huda’s kindergarten for a long time. We came two days  before Ramadan. Today the kindergarten is closing down for this year. There are only a few children there. This is now examination time, the classes end early and the small children go with their older  siblings. Huda and Hula are at the kindergarten with her daughter of about a year old, retag.  When we arrived the children ran to us and there was much rivalry to hold our hands. We organized a short activity with music, percussion intruments, bells, ? , etc. The main enjoyment  of the  children was in using the instruments. We also tried a little repetition of rhythms. Both the teachers and the children seemed to like it, even more than melodic songs. interesting. The activity was short because the children came from the school, peered through the windows, and it was difficult to concentrate.

Afterwards, when the children had left, Huda and Hula spoke of the problems in joining the days at the sea and also the organization of taking women for a trip to Jerusalem.  We phoned Ayal of the Village Group, as he had already helped to arrange a similar trip to the women of Umm Al Kheir . He promised to try to help  and also told us that there are demolitions at Sarura - the renewed settlement in the cave village.

We arrived there through Tuwani. The village is situated between Tuwani and Havat Maon. When we arrived there the forces of the Border Police were present and also the Coordination and Liaison Administration, police and army.  All this for the covering which had been put over the cave and the two tents next to it. There are also present Palestinians from Sarura, Susiya, Umm Al Kheir, and volunteers and activists from Israel and the abroad and also members of the Palestinian Red Crescent. As was already told yesterday the story of Surara started 20 years ago as a result of pressure from the authorities and harassment by the settlers around them. People started slowly leaving and moving to Yatta. That is and in so many words the villagers were driven away by the slow but constant pressure. Now some of the villagers have decided tp  return. Muhammed and his father are part of the residents of the village and they have lands there. They returned to their cave and put a cover over it as shade from the sun.

The forces arrived in the morning to drive out the new “invaders.” How did they know? The "Regavim" organization has air-borne cameras that photograph the area and they push and initiate activities of this kind. They are of course well connected. The official forces arrived without a warrant declaring this area closed military area, without an eviction order and without a demolition order. A confrontation began. Several volunteers were arrested. A number of Israeli activists tried to mediate and  reach an agreement with an officer of higher rank who had reached the area. We arrived at this point. It was agreed that the army would allow the residents of Sarura to stay in the cave but without the covering. The army would release the activists who had been arrested and return the tent which they had taken on condition that the residents themselves took down the second tent. After some time with more  discussions, with much lack of  trust amongst those present, the conditions were implemented by both sides and the incident slowly ended without further violence. In the meantime Muhammad’s father felt sick and needed an infusion which was given by the Red Crescent.

The end?….no end. This is an area belonging to the Palestinian residents. It is located between Mitzpeh Abigail and Havat Maon, which are illegal settlements - according to international law (like all settlements) and Israeli law (unauthorized outposts, in the official “ laundered” language). But the army drives people away, and destroys tents only in Sarura. Mitzpe-Avigail and Ma'on Farm have access roads, electricity, water, caravans and even permanent structures, a bus stop, and all over – and what is that that is  the last straw  the army guards the outpost! So now is only the question of who will wear down who faster: the "most moral army in the world” or the Palestinian residents. And the most disturbing question arises: For this you enlisted in the army?