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The Human Side of the Coin- Ha'aretz

Our translation of a short piece by author Eyal Megged

September 12 2012

The Human Side of the Coin

Just below Kfar Adumim is Al Khan al Ahmar. Just below the villas are a few huts.  Just below the public buildings rich with concrete and parquet wood floors is a school built of mud and car tires. On Thursday the Supreme Court will decide whether or not to accept a petition filed by the residents of Kfar Adumim, demanding the execution of the demolition order issued against the school attended by their neighbors’ children.

Until three or four years ago, these kids were sent to school on donkey back; a journey that lasted two hours in each direction. The roof and walls of the school were made of tin which emitted boiling heat in the summer and chilling frost in the winter. A few good people fromItalybuilt a handful of more humane structures for the children, so they wouldn’t have to freeze in the winter or boil in the summer. The residents of Kfar Adumim petitioned the Supreme Court immediately, demanding the demolition of the “ecological” school that appeared under their noses.

Why demolish? Because the structures are illegal. And that is “legally” correct. The structures are not legal, because there was no other choice. They couldn’t let another winter freeze the kids and another summer boil them.  They couldn’t allow the kids to wait for an occasional ride to the school in Azariya, on the side of the deadly highway that connectsJerusalemandJericho.

But it just so happens that the area in question is the holy of holies, the “territorial continuity” between the capital and Maale Adumim, which of course, is also the foundation of our existence. A foundation that erases all traces of our humanity. And it just so happens to be land that Kfar Adumim has its eyes on for the construction of a new neighborhood.

You might ask what the difference is between illegal construction here and illegal construction there. The difference is that since 1967 the Bedouins residing in theJudeanDeserthave not been given a single building permit; and since the declaration of Area C the building and planning laws have become a tool for their routine removal from there and for Jews to take over land inhabited by non-Jews. The Civil Administration shirks all responsibility for their living conditions.  The Civil Administration says openly that it is not interested in what happens to these people, it is not interested in that wretched population, which is being bullied on a daily basis just to make their lives unbearable, as simple as that.

Every time I visited that school with my wife I met dozens of children, dressed in rags, but proud and happy in the structures they themselves took part in building. We wrote the Minister of Defense that the fact that a demolition order was issued against these innocent structures, adjacent to the humble and sorry hut neighborhood, should bring shame to every single Israeli. We asked him to speak for a weak population which endangers none and demands nothing, and to allow the existence of a humble educational project, that gives neglected, impoverished children the sense that they are human and that their lives have value.

The Minister of Defense has yet to answer, but this week three judges of the Supreme Court are to decide whether to destroy theschool orlet the structures be. One can only hope that the honorable judges will only see one side of the coin – the human side.

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