Ma'an News Agency
February 23, 2011 - 1:00am

Residents of the tiny Bedouin hamlet of Amniyr crowded into a small cave in the rocky hills south of Hebron to sleep on Wednesday night, after their tent homes were destroyed by Israeli demolition crews claiming the hamlet as state land.

Village elder Hajj Mahmoud said the three families that live in the area spent the day in the open air, trying to salvage items from the buried heaps left by Israeli demolition crews.

Hajj Mahmoud said the International Committee for the Red Cross had attempted to deliver aid and supplies, after calls from residents and observers from the Christian Peacemaker Teams to provide new shelters.

The elder said he was unsure what the ICRC had brought, however, because Israeli troops prevented ICRC crews from unloading the supplies.

An informed official in Hebron confirmed to Ma'an that the ICRC encountered difficulties delivering the supplies, which were sent back.

An attempt was made to deliver several housing kits, food and blankets to the families, the official said, adding that it was the first time such a delivery had been barred.

"We stayed out in the air until late," Hajj Mahmoud said, explaining that the families retired to a small cave.

"We found a snake inside the cave, we had to kill it before we slept."

The five tent shelters, a cistern and water well were buried on Monday, and olive trees uprooted then covered with earth.

Residents had moved back to the area during the winter, saying settler harassment at a second location one kilometer away had driven them out. Years earlier the same harassment had forced them from the location where the tents were demolished.

Ownership papers for the land existed at one point, residents said, but according to the CPT observer every week for the past month Israeli officials from the Civil Administration have delivered notices saying the community was living on state land and must evacuate.

On Tuesday morning, CPT observers published a video of the destruction in the hamlet, and issued a release saying teams would continue to have a presence in the area.


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