Thursday, February 4, 2016

PCG's Brent Nagtegaal Bizarrely Justifying the Demolition of a Palestinian Home (2011)

Back on November 18, 2011 PCG's Brent Nagtegaal posted the following tweet saying (I strongly suspect incorrectly) that some a Palestinian house in East Jerusalem scheduled for demolition was in the way of excavations of King David's palace. I strongly suspect he is incorrect but that still does not justify his apparent attitude about the demolition.

The article links to a Huffington Post article describing a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem protesting against the scheduled demolition of their home in a week's time.

Reading it I suspect his assertion that the house needed to be demolished to continue excavations is incorrect. We need to be careful not to spread incorrect information to others.

The article makes no mention of its demolition being needed for excavation. But it is right next door to Elad (City of David), an Israeli settler organization dedicated to filling predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem with Israeli Jews. It acquisition would strengthen the position of the Israeli settlers compared with the Palestinian majority in Silwan, East Jerusalem.
The Sumarin family has been living for decades at the entrance to the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan, not far from Al-Aqsa Mosque. Two months ago, the court scheduled their eviction for November 28, 2011 in a ruling handed down in the absence of defense by the Sumarins. Their house is considered by the authorities as a property of an absentee, and therefore, it was transferred to the hands of the Himanuta company which requested the eviction.
In Silwan there is a fight over nationality, history and also religion. For the Palestinians, it is a Palestinian neighborhood, next to Al-Aqsa Mosque where thousands of Palestinians have been living for ages. The settlers are trying to make it into "The City of David," using archaeology and tourism to change the public domain in Silwan. The visitors center of the "City of David" tourism site was built by the settlers next to the house of the Sumarin family. If taken by the settlers, the Sumarin house would give them a large contiguous area at the very entrance to Silwan and dramatically change the character of the neighborhood. (Hagit Ofran, "The Eviction of One Palestinian Family Might Cause the Next Political Crisis Over East Jerusalem," Huffington Post, November 17, 2011.)
Ms. Ofran was disgusted and horrified that this Palestinian family was about to be evicted.
As a Jew, I feel ashamed that [certain organizations], which are claiming to act in the name of the Jewish people, are continuing to use their organization in order to kick out Palestinian families from their homes, and to bring in Jewish families instead. This is not only politically wrong and dangerous, but also immoral. 
It is astounding that Nagtegaal failed to express any sympathy to this distressed Palestinian family.

How dare he should talk about this without even expressing any sense of shame or sadness about these innocent people who are about to lose their homes.

He does not even suggest that they had done anything wrong. They are not described as people who are greatly distressed that their home is about to be destroyed. They are described as an obstacle to be removed.

And he appears to have been incorrect about it as well. The house does not appear to be near the excavations anyway.

467 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem have been demolished between 2009 and 2014. It is shameful that Nagtegaal should talk of a demolition in the way he did.

We need peace now.

Credit: The IMEU via Haaretz.

For more this topic see:

PCG and the Dark Side of Politicized Archaeology in East Jerusalem.

PCG: Brad MacDonald's Vilification of the Palestinians of Silwan in East Jerusalem (2009).

467 Palestinian Homes Demolished in Jerusalem (2009-14).

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