On May Day, 1 May, at 7:45 a.m., the Christian Peacemaker Team in Hebron received a phone call from Noah al-Rajabi in Bani Naim who reported that the army and bulldozers were demolishing his cousin’s home and threatening to demolish the family’s farm. He urged CPT to come and to call the media and other internationals to bear witness to what was happening.Two CPTers arrived at the main road near the house and saw six military jeeps, three police vehicles, and three intelligence service vehicles at the site. Initially, the Israeli authorities prevented CPTers from approaching the scene. When they asked soldiers why they were demolishing the farm, a soldier replied, “Because we are the army.”
From the place where they could view the demolition, the CPTers could see Caterpillar and Hyundai bulldozers destroying a farm building and a caravan (mobile home) in which the family lived. The children of the family came to the main road and one of the boys told them that he could take them through the fields to get a closer view of the destruction of his father’s farm.
By now, the two bulldozers had started to demolish a large corrugated iron barn where the family kept their cows; it destroyed milking machines and other equipment worth over 8000 USD in the process.
The farmer told CPTers, “Destroying my home…I can rebuild and while I am rebuilding I can stay with another family member but destroying my farm—it’s not only destroying my livelihood but also the livelihoods of three other families; our farm is our bread and butter.”
The farmer has two wives and fifteen children to support and now he is worried how he will manage financially. He was looking at his one hundred cows, who were sitting in the oppressive heat. The farmer said that if they were not milked soon, they would die.
On May Day, all Israeli government offices are closed; the Israeli military evidently was not observing this national holiday when it destroyed the livelihoods of these four families.