Haaretz's Amira Hass last week claimed that Israel "sweep[s] away" the Palestinian population ("Israel's Right to Sweep Away Palestinians," June 8).
With evocative phrases, Hass introduced various examples of Israel allegedly "sweeping away" Palestinians. Under the heading "The right to dismantle a kindergarten," for example, Hass recounted the alleged fate of the Hamadin Bedouin community of Sateh al-Bahr. According to Hass, on June 5, Israels Civil Administration in the West Bank dismantled "six prefab houses and one prefab [caravan] that served as a kindergarten for 12 children." As a result, she wrote, "Twenty-six people, including 13 children, lost their homes."
What facts did Hass omit in this apparently dramatic and heart-wrenching story? In fact, the real story is neither dramatic nor heart-wrenching. In response to an inquiry by Presspectiva, CAMERA's Hebrew department, Israel's Civil Administration noted that the illegal buildings were built only four days before they were dismantled. On the morning of June 2, Regavim, an Israeli NGO, informed the authorities of the illegal construction. Three days later, Israeli authorities dismantled the structures.
To avoid detection, Bedouin covered the "prefab" buildings with clothe to disguise the buildings as tents. The pictures below document the buildings as they appeared before dismantling (photos byYaniv Aharoni):
Here are the same buildings a few days later as Israeli authorities dismantled them (Photo: Yaniv Aharoni):
The destroyed "homes" were illegal structures constructed just days before they were dismantled. It's not clear whether or not people actually managed to live in them or to use one of the caravans as a kindergarten during the brief period before they were dismantled.
Amira Hass did not respond to Presspectiva's queries about the article.
To click here to view this article in Hebrew at Presspectiva.