Palestinian mother says Government's demolition of her home 'taught my children to hate'

Thumb_full_size_geraint-vincent
Moran gazes at the pile of rubbish that used to be her family's home.
Moran gazes at the pile of rubbish that used to be her family's home. Photo: ITV/On Assignment

Moran hugs her children close as she gazes at the pile of rubble that used to be their home. Her husband Muhammed has his head bowed in humiliation.

They say soldiers came with a bulldozer yesterday morning, and that it took them a little over one hour to destroy the house.

Muhammed says his family have lived on this land in East Jerusalem for generations, and that he built the house 18 years ago.

The Israeli authorities say the house did not have planning permission, and was therefore an illegal structure, which was demolished at the end of a prolonged legal process.

Moran and Muhammed’s house stood on land in a part of the city which Israel won during the war of 1967.

So for the Palestinian political leadership, Israeli planning law in East Jerusalem is simply the law of the occupier.

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation goes even further - it says the demolition of Palestinian homes on occupied territory is part of a policy of "ethnic cleansing’.

Officers wait nearby as the demolition is underway.
Officers wait nearby as the demolition is underway. Credit: ITV/On Assignment

The Israeli government says such claims are just part of an attempt to demonise Israel, and to undermine the chances of a peace agreement.

It is literally in the middle of this old and ugly quarrel that Moran finds herself.

She was born an Israeli Jew. She fell in love with Muhammed shortly after she finished her military service 15 years ago, and married him after converting to Islam.

Moran brought her children up to believe that Jews and Arabs are all the same, and to respect the government of Israel, which she taught them to think of as "their" government.

Now she says all that has been ruined by the demolition of their home. “I taught my children to love,” she says. “My government taught them to hate.”

Two months after the demolition, Moran and Muhammed are building their own new house - on exactly the same patch of ground where the old one once stood. “This land is ours, not theirs,” says Moran.

They are defiant on their new doorstep, but they are uncertain too. As long as their house is illegal, the bulldozer will be back.

Watch On Assignment, Wednesday, 10.35pm on ITV