Saturday, November 18, 2017

The fight for the land: Al Mufaqara’s mosque destroyed again

Juicebox Gallery

By Jessica Purkiss - December 07, 2012
TAGS:
Section: [Main News] [In Pictures] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Mufaqarah] [Area C] [South Hebron Hills] [Popular struggle committee]

On the desolate and stark Hebron hills villagers gathered around the remains of their mosque.
 
On Tuesday morning at 6.30 AM, Israeli soldiers closed the road leading to the small village of Al Mufaqara, situated in the South Hebron Hills, which lies within a proclaimed 'firing Zone’ adjacent to the green line.
 
By the end of the morning two bulldozers had demolished the small mosque, built with the villagers own hands and determination.
 
The roof had only just been completed on the new mosque, which was built to replace the old mosque the Israeli forces destroyed in November last year, along with two houses, a cattle shed and generator building. In November last year Israeli authorities also arrested two girls who they released in Jerusalem, some distance from their village, with no transportation home.
 
The morning after the destruction, men of Al Mufaqara came together and began to build once again.
 
The village resides in Area C, a region which constitutes approximately 60% of the West Bank and falls under complete Israeli military and administrative control. Israel denies Palestinian citizens the right to build on 70% of this land.
 
This means that the villagers are forced to reside in cave dwellings, with no access to the basic amenities, whilst the four illegal Israeli settlements surrounding Al Mufaqara enjoy electricity and water.
 
For the villagers of Al Mufaqara, this is yet another chapter in their fight to remain on their land, they are the very embodiment of the saying 'existence is resistance.’
 
Whilst building the replacement mosque for the one previously destroyed, the village received stop building orders for the Israeli Civil Administration in December 2011, saying they needed the necessary permits. The residents gathered the necessary paperwork and gave it to a lawyer, at a cost the residents struggled to pay. After several trials the permission to build the mosque was rejected in October of this year.
 
With the support of the Popular Resistance Co-ordination Committee, the 15 families of Al Mufaqara will continue to build brick structures to legitimize their existence, defying stop-working and demolition orders, to continue living on land their ancestors have farmed for over 200 years.
 
Hafez Huraini, coordinator of the popular committee in the South Hebron Hills, told the Electronic Intifada “We believe that the soldiers will come and demolish these buildings but we will challenge that, we will build them again and again and again.”
 
“We are on our land, we will never give up,” said Huraini.
 
Sitting on the floor in one of the only brick structures in the village, we share a tea with one of the resident of Al Mufaqara, speaking on this sad day he said, “we were shocked when the court refused our permit – a refusal which led to today’s demolition of our mosque. But then again- It’s a settler court. It’s a settler government.”
 
And again the villagers of Al Mufaqara will re-build their mosque.



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