Shirabe Yamada

Miyasar's fear: The Aftermath

Although the house is still standing, the engineers have declared it was too fragile and dangerous, as its foundation has severely been damaged in the explosion by the Israeli army last week.  Impact of the bombs left its fatal marks everywhere; cracks run through every surface, windows and doorframes are blown out, walls are crumbling. As people continue to empty the house for the second and final demolition, this time by workers of UNRWA, Shirabe Yamada spent countless days and nights for the last five years since she has become a close friend of the Hammash family —- rolling stuffed grape leaves with the mother and daughers, conversations on the rooftop over mint tea, laughers and tears. 

Photostory: Hebrew University to displace Palestinian families

On Sunday, November 21 at 7:15AM, bulldozers and armed security guards arrived at the home of Al-Helou family in Jerusalem to announce that their land will be confiscated for the expansion of the university dormitories. The Al-Helou family is among seven families whose houses are trapped among the university dormitory buildings. They have lived in this area, called Ard Al-Samar, since 1948 when they were forced out of the Jerusalem village of Lifta. The dormitory buildings have been closing in on the families, who are now confined in small pockets of land surrounded by the fences. Shirabe Yamada witnessed the destruction. 

"Dismantlement 101: Introduction to removing an outpost"

The government says it is an extremeley difficult task. Those illegal hilltop outposts are just so impossible to remove. Each time IDF tries they are met with such violent resistance from settlers, as one may have seen it on evening news. Even if they are an obstacle to peace, required for the removal under the Road Map and other agreements, and even at the cost of international criticism, those outposts are left to grow, further unabling a viable peace. “If the government says can’t do it, why don’t I show it’s easy and possible?” Dror Etkes, Coordinator for the Settlement Watch Project at Peace Now thinks outloud, “I will pick up a trailer from an outpost and dump it in front of the Ministry of Defense, to make my point.” Shirabe Yamada reports. 

Back in Dheisheh: Miyasar's fear

It has been almost a month since Miyasar’s sleeping pattern has changed. Her back neighbor’s house was dynamited by the Israeli army in the early morning of July 13th in the densely populated West Bank refugee camp of Dheisheh. The rumor has it that the next demolition will be her next door neighbor’s house. Every night, Miyasar lays awake in her bed in the fearful anticipation of the arrival of troops. “I wait until around 2AM to fall a sleep, because if they don’t come until then, we know we are saved for the night,” says the mother of 5 children. Shirabe Yamada is back in Dheisheh refugee camp. 

Bethlehem After The Withdrawal

Quiet nights have returned to Bethlehem after the Israeli withdrawal from the area on the 20th. No more waking up to the roaring tanks, sudden burst of explosions and shootings, or not being able to sleep in anticipation of military operations. 

Another Sleepless Night

Curfew was lifted from 9AM to 6PM today, after the terrifying night of house demolitions. In fact, right after I had sent out my last email, another blast vibrated the air, bringing the total number of demolitions to three. The last one was in Aida refugee camp, near the city of Bethlehem. 

Hi from Gaza

I am writing from gaza, where I have been for the last three days to coordinate a volunteer program with youth groups here. Compared to the West Bank, Gaza is not so popular for internationals to come and work.