Sunday, January 20, 2013

The destruction of Al Maleh

This has been happening slowly for a long time, but yesterday I read that the Bedouin community next to Al Aqaba, called Al Maleh, was demolished. 

Al Maleh means "the Salt," for the salty hot springs that used to run next to it. People used to come from all over to heal their maladies (I'm going to the Salt! they'd say). Now the springs have mostly dried up, because water is directed to Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley. Below, you can see the news from the last few days. Most of the structures have been torn down. I'm keeping tabs on the situation through friends at Jordan Valley Solidarity and the Maan Development Agency. There are solidarity actions happening, and also some rebuilding. 


I only visited the community once, after taking a two-and-a-half hour walk with a woman from Al Aqaba. We ended up at the Roman ruins that sat high on a hill, then descended into the Bedouin encampment. There we sat with the women of Al-Maleh, who were remarkably beautiful. They had amazing smiles. They fed me fresh bread and goat cheese and soup, and grilled me on where I was from, what I do, why on Earth I live in Al Aqaba when I could live in America, if I had a boyfriend..."3adi," one of them said, "it's normal, don't worry." Before I left, they suggested I marry one of their men and live in Al Maleh with them.

I had such a good time with these women. It wouldn't have been appropriate for me to take their pictures, but I wish I had one to show just how beautiful and happy they were.

This was the post from that walk and visit:

Walk to Al-Maleh


Jan 18th-55 Buildings Demolished in Al Maleh

Upon arrival, the army declared Al-Maleh a closed military zone, and refused entry to residents, observers and a delegation of medical staff whilst the demolitions took place. The masked, unidentifiable workers accompanying the army assisted in removing possessions from residents' homes.

Jan 19th-IOF Escalates Repression of Al Maleh Community

Following widescale demolitions in Al Maleh on Thursday 17th January the Israeli occupation forces returned to confiscate all the community's possessions, including food, bedding, and tents that had been demolished, leaving families with no means to rebuild their lives. In addition the whole area has remained a Closed Military Zone since the demolitions and the road has been closed off.