Do Unto Others focuses on the Middle East, (nonviolent) social movements, and how I make sense of my place in the world. I'm currently based in Cairo, Egypt doing peacebuilding and community development.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

From Demolished Bathrooms to Spacious Settlements

From Israeli Amos Gvirtz' ongoing 'truth-telling blurb' called Don't say we did not know.
An outcome of the expansion of the settlement Carmel is the matter of privacy of the Bedouin women from nearby Umm El-Kher.

Umm El-Kher is surrounded from three sides by the settlement. On the fourth side there's a road.


Previously, the absence of toilets was never the problem that it is today. To solve this, it was decided to build 10 toilets. A few months ago an Italian organization purchased the building materials, but before the construction began the Civil Administration came and confiscated those materials.

Ta'ayush activists built four toilets. This week, Civil Administration workers issued demolition orders on the toilets...
As the piece suggests (and the map fails to show), Umm El-Kher is has virtually been built-over by Karmel settlement (which you see here on the map). As a bit of additional background, bathrooms were previously built in Umm Al-Kher and were demolished. This is at least second round of bathrooms that have received demolition orders. Hopefully they won't be the second round of bathrooms to actually be demolished. But sadly, I am not holding my breath.

The real tragedy is that you can stand on the concrete rubble and twisted rebar of these Bedouins' bathrooms and look beyond the chain link fence topped with razor wire at the spacious settlement homes, green trees, and happy children riding their bikes down paved roads illuminated by street lights.

The juxtaposition makes you bite your lip and take a deep, comforting breath, because you sort of feel sick you your stomach.

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