What Harriet Sherwood missed while in Gaza: Hamas to demolish 75 ‘illegal’ Palestinian homes

Harriet Sherwood is quite drawn to stories about Arab and Palestinian homes, built without permission, demolished by Israeli authorities, and such Guardian reports are often accompanied by evocative photos of the women and children displaced by such demolitions. 

Here are just a few of her reports about home demolitions over the last few years:

july 14 2010

July 14, 2010

Aug. 3, 2010

Aug. 3, 2010

jan 14 2011

Jan. 14, 2011

Mar 1 2011

March 1, 2011

june 12 2011

June 12, 2011

dec 5 2011

Dec 5, 2011

Strangely, however, given Sherwood’s interest in such stories, her journalistic radar didn’t hone in on the following event, even though she just filed a report, on Feb. 13, directly from Gaza City.

Arab news sources such as Ma’an and Al-Akhbar reported the following on Feb. 12.

“Members of the Abu Amrah family in Gaza City demonstrated Tuesday in front of offices of the Palestinian Legislative Council protesting a decision by the Hamas-run government to demolish 75 houses belonging to the family in the al-Rimal neighborhood.

The government says it decided to demolish the houses because they were illegally built on public lands. The demolition is scheduled to be conducted Wednesday morning.”

According to Al-Akhbar, many of the Palestinians who will lose their homes are refugees.

“Bulldozers were stationed Wednesday outside the homes of nearly 75 families in al-Rimal neighborhood. Many of whom are Palestinian refugees displaced by Israel in 1948.”

One of the residents whose home is targeted for demolition by Palestinian authorities, Hazem Abu Hmeid, told Al-Akhbar:

“This is a great injustice, an act of persecution and a forceful imposition of Hamas’s own version of laws on refugees.”

A Gaza government official claimed the homes were built illegally on public land. However, as Al-Akhbar notes:

“Al-Rimal neighborhood lies in a busy commercial area where property values are among the highest in the coastal strip, and Many residents expect the government to open the area up to lucrative investments.”

I guess it’s safe to say that some Palestinian victims of home demolitions are more deserving of sympathy than others, at least according to the Guardian correspondent covering Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

78 replies »

  1. Dear Mr Levick, there’s a reason why Sherwood works for the Guardian and you don’t: She’s a journalist, she reports on FACTS and she does her research before writing.

    Hamas, the de-facto Palestinian authorities in Gaza, have the right to demolish Palestinian houses in the Palestinian territory if needed for public use.

    This cannot compare to Israel’s illegal demolitions of Palestinian houses in the Palestinian territory, outside Israel, which is a violation of international law.

    To make it easier for you, since you don’t seem familiar with international law: the UK Government can demolish houses in the UK if needed for public use; it cannot demolish houses in Israel.

    • Deportation or forcible transfer of population is defined as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 7).

      • Can you provide evidence to the effect that Israel has “deport[ed] or forcibl[y] transfer[ed] any Palestinians? Until you do that, your citing human rights law means absolutely nothing.

        • Did Mr Levick do research before writing this nonsensical, misinformed piece? No, he did not.

          That’s all the more surprising than in less than one minute online, one can learn that the 40 building sets for demolition in Gaza were built on public property, which is why a court of law declared that they would be demolished. Families will be given $1,000 each in compensation, and have been allotted pieces of land near Gaza’s border with Israel.

          This cannot compare to Israel’s demolition of Palestinian property in the Palestinian territory, where all Israeli settlements are a violation of international humanitarian law (article 49 (6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention) and considered illegal by the international community.

          • What does this have to do with “Settlements”, you trolling twit?
            Israel only demolishes structures in Area C, which it is obligated to do under the Oslo Accords.
            Funny, are you now instructed to shield Hamas from criticism? Or is it that you don’t have any compassion for the families that will invariably be displaced by this move?
            You’re a sickening troll.
            I bet you’ve already banked more than $1,000 for your trolling here. Can’t you spare some of your wealth for the poor Gazans?

          • How is this response in any way answering my question. Keep regurgitating the BS you swallow from websites like occupypalestine.

            • Nat is clearly not a nazi. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please let us know. Nor is he a troll by any generally accepted definition; he just happens to disagree with you. Since most of your posts consist of mindless abuse I would suggest that you, Fritz, fit the ‘troll’ label much more closely.

              • In fact, prof-manqué, you and ‘nat’ are the perfect trolls around, with a pathological obsession with Israel, masking a deep-seated Jew-hatred. Sieg heil to you both.

              • I see…
                This is a rather unexpected turn.
                So what would you call someone, like “Nat”, who spends his days posting at precise and defined intervals, on a tightly-run schedule, nearly every day, with formulaic, cut-and-paste messages, and s’pamming of threads?
                Of course, since you and He are partners in destroying threads here, I am not surprised by your support of him.
                But I thought you wouldn’t really wish to stoop so low, as to ally yourself with a blatant, and obviously paid troll…
                I guess, when it comes to hatred of Israel, you find unlikely comrades… Well then, carry on.

                • 101, this is a public website, and it is open for debate. Should Mr Levick wish to restrict debates, he’s free to do so, but so far he has not and has left the forum open to everyone, so that people can discuss.

                  I support the two-state solution because I sincerely believe that a Jewish and a Palestinian state is the best solution for peace, in line with the Road Map for Peace. You don’t seem to support the two-state solution, and that’s your right, but it does not mean you should not engage in respectful debate,

                • You, pathetic troll that you are, only support Israel’s destruction, by any means.
                  Tell us, what does this have have to do with the Netherlands? What business is any of this of yours?
                  Secondly you’re not “debating” anything… You’re copying and pasting off-topic, prewritten scripted nonsense.
                  So, in short, you’ll be ejected from here, soon enough.
                  And care to tell whoever’s reading why you’re trolling on a week old thread?
                  Must be the Marijuana, right?

              • Nat may not be a Nazi, but he or she is definitely an antisemite, as are you. Your obsessions with Israel’s alleged crimes against humanity is proof in the pudding. If either of you had bother to research your stances, you’d realize their built on quicksand. That’s why you’re feeling the squeeze in here–you and Nat both. We took the time to research a topic near and dear to us and thus look for every possible bit of information we can digest, while you are motivated by hate and thus cherry pick circumstances, take everything out of context, and demonize a whole nation (a democratic one at that) all too satisfy your bloodlust for Jews. That is bigotry of the worst kind.

                • “Your obsessions with Israel’s alleged crimes against humanity is proof in the pudding.”

                  I NEVER accused Israel of committing “crimes against humanity”, you’re lying.

                  Crimes against humanity is what the Nazis did to the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

                • @Nat You may not have said it in those words but you insinuate it in every breath you take, every splotch of diarrhea that emanates from your esophagus. And do not even bring up the Holocaust. You clearly don’t empathize with Jews. You voted down comments which had videos of Hamas dragging Palestinians in the street, all because you hate Jews. You disgust me.

    • Nat,
      That’s what I call double standards.
      In other examples Sherwood did write about demolitions and court orders against Israeli bedouins in the Negev.
      I think you actualy wrote some comments on the CIFW article on this.
      Can you confirm that you agree with Israel decisions to dismental Israeli arab homes if deemed illegal under its own laws?

      You should make up your mind.

    • Dear Nat, There’s a good reason why Mr Levick works on CW and you don’t:
      He uses common sense, logic and objectivity.

      You, however, have precious little of these qualities, I would say – besides which you suffer from an imperfect grasp of the English language. On the other hand, you seem to have unlimited time at your disposal. What a pity you choose to squander it here where your efforts are about as useful as a pain in head or butt.

    • lol….you are so absurd. Israel has every right to demolish homes that are being built illegally. What is this? The Wild West? Israel is no shanty town. We have laws, and the land is not theirs. They didn’t pay for it. A terrorist fund paid for it and the stipulation is to stockpile weapons in your basement. Now, Nat, go jump off a bridge.

      • Deportation or forcible transfer of population is defined as a crime against humanity by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (Article 7). The Rome Statute applies to all countries, Israel included.

        • And your trolling continues unabated…
          When did Israel “forcibly deport or transfer” anyone, you idiot?!
          Have you handlers now told you to switch to the Rome Statute?(To which, Israel is not a party).
          Does that mean extra payment this week?

        • So if you were to build your home in Central Park it would be illegal for the NYPD to forcibly remove you and perhaps even arrest you? Is that what you’re saying?

    • Wait a minute, Natie boy, you will not deny that Israel has the right to demolish houses of Bedouins in the Negev, wudnt you? So your argument above doesnt hold, does it? So let’s phrase it again – the houses of some arabs mean more to Sherwood then others EVEN if the state has the right to demolish them. Natie?

  2. Nat, the position in International law is clear, and you refer to it as if you are an authority on the subject. And we must bow to that knowledge(?)
    There are Human Rights issues but not land right issues to be determined here. Hamas has no code for Human Rights Law and there is no redress for the “citizens” in Gaza to complain or challenge the Hamas authority, nor should I say, is there any right of “citizens” to challenge the PA its arbitrary decisions. So the point Nat is, whether Adam’s comment is valid about honest and fair reporting by the Guardian. You seem to think it is and you are happy with Hamas to escape the public eye for oppressing its own people. That’s you Nat: one law to excuse Hamas and another standard for israel. You’d make a good judge in North Korea.

  3. Highly selective in your quotes from Al-Akhbar, Adam, as can be seen here:

    You didn’t mention that the demolitions follow a court order and a period of negotiation or that those displaced will receive alternative land and financial compensation. This is a rather different procedure to the IDF demolitions as collective punishment that made thousands homeless with no warning and certainly no offer of alternative accommodation.

        • Mr Levick has the right to criticize what the Guardian journalists write. However he misses a thing: Guardian journalists base their stories on international law, which is considered the universal standard by the international community, including all Western governments.

          In Israel, some people support the settlement policy, others don’t – there’s no unanimity,

    • If one year went by since it was deemed by the court to be public land, why was nothing done about relocating these families? Hamas has the responsibility of relocating the families they displace. “Families will be given $1,000 each in compensation, and have been allotted pieces of land near Gaza’s borders. Abu Hmeid says the government’s remuneration “falls very short” of the money invested in their houses.” That is hardly just.

    • Talk about selective quoting. “Those displaced will receive alternative land and financial compensation”. You fail to mention that “families will be being given $1,000 each” (for their home in prime land in which they claim to have invested $50,000 – hmm, that sounds like value) “and have been allotted pieces of land near Gaza’s borders” (which presumably is a really nice place to live).

      The point is – these homes are being demolished because they have been illegally built, exactly as many of the homes in Sherwood’s articles listed above were (following court orders etc). So why didn’t she report on this?

      • For example, Al Arakib (the subject of two of Sherwood’s reports above) is in Israel proper, and there was a 6-year court case to decide the ownership of the land. The Court ruled in the State’s favour. So how does this match your picture of “collective punishment with no warning”?

        If Sherwood saw fit to write about this (at least twice) why does she not see fit to write about the demolitions in Gaza?

    • What an extraordinary comment sencar. You almost had me believing that fair and due process of law was applied in this case before a worthy Court of appointed judges from the rank and file of a legal academy in Gaza or Judicial body independent from the legislative and executive bodies that adjudicated to demolish homes in this very painful case. All representations were heard in front of a panel and you can tell me, Sencar, who represented the homeowners in what must have been a very long case? What were the legal issues?Building a school? Building a hospital? An orphanage perhaps? Care home for the elderly?Another shopping mall and hotel for everyday folk ? OR more likely more wasteland to develop sites to launch the next wave of missiles!?
      Do me a favour…

  4. CiFWatch complains about one-sided coverage.

    CiFWatch is itself guilty of one-sided coverage.

    A BTL comment saying that “peace will happen when all the Arabs go back to Saudi Arabia” got the big thumbs up.
    And CiFW complains about “Guardian reader” posts at CiF????

    Pound for pound there’s more bigotry here than at CiF.

    • I will argue that hating Muslims is not bigotry at all. Their Qur’an is filled with passages commanding Muslims to kill Jews and Christians and polytheists. Their hadiths command them to kill all Jews on the Day of Judgement. Granted, the OT is pretty gruesome as well. But it doesn’t command the Jews, or the Christians, to murder anyone. There are stories related to the Hebrews annihilating whole towns and peoples, yes. However, it is not a clear verbal command such as in the hadith: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews , when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” How is it bigotry to hate these people? How can you call me a bigot when I am merely posting things from their own Qur’an and hadiths. These are the core teachings of their society, of their culture! A “moderate” may rise every now and again, but the clergy, the devout Muslims and spiritual leaders, who influence their governments, will always be “radical.” The fact is a Muslim cannot be moderate unless he rejects a good deal of the Qur’an and the hadiths. Tell me again how I’m a bigot, Mr. Politically Correct.

      • “I will argue that hating Muslims is not bigotry at all”

        You could argue that hating those commands to murder in the hadith is justified but that wouldn’t justify hating Islam (any more than Old Testament violence justifies hating Judaism) still less hating Muslims. Most of them haven’t even read the hadith, any more than most Christians have read the complete Old Testament. No, Daniel, you condemn yourself as a bigot out of your own mouth.

        As for your attempts to defend the general smiting and bloodlust that is in the Old Testament – they are truly pathetic.

        • Hating Islam is justified. Why? Because so long as their core teachings contain incitement to violence against Jews, Christians, and polytheists we are in danger and at war. Clergy members will continue to rise to influence a new round of Muslim youth to hate and violence against all non-Muslims. And so the cycle continues. Your Political Correctness agenda does not bother me. I am speaking the truth. And if it sounds like bigotry to you then you need to ask yourself if my anger and hatred is based on truths and rationale or merely based in falsities and complete irrationality. Since I have demonstrated both that my hatred is based on truth and that I am completely rational in my hate for Islam, you cannot make the claim that I am a bigot.

      • For the record – and in case by my silence I am seen to support these appalling views – I disassociate myself entirely from Daniel’s comments.

        Daniel – can you not see there is a fundamental difference between criticising aspects of Islam, or criticising the attitudes of some Muslims and “hating Muslims”? The former is rational, the latter is pure bigotry.

        • Labenal, I am in agreement with your more nuanced point.In WW2, not all Germans were Nazis, and plenty of non-Germans were Nazis. Much the same point, when trying to deal with language and clear definition and what is being objected to is what one can legitimately oppose , and that should not be deemed to be bigotry. In my view, unfortunately there is very little that is being done to hold back the extreme and backward looking tenets of Islam, that Muslims who do not go along with this kind of thinking, either must bravely challenge those teachings and take charge or become victims of where that ideological thinking takes them.

          There are some brave Muslims who will persist in taking that stance and we must support them. They are very alone in this fight.

        • It is not bigotry. My hatred is based on what I see in front of me. Can you force someone to love a Nazi? You can’t. Nazi and Muslim ideologies have striking similarities. Both believe their “race” is superior. Both call for the destruction of the Jews. Who are you to call me a bigot for disliking and trying to promote intense dislike in others of this heinous ideology embraced by billions? It’s not bigotry. It’s realism and awareness without your rosy coloured lenses.

    • The truth of the matter is their Qur’an and hadiths are bigoted to the core. Tell me how I’m a bigot. I love how you feel the need to level these accusations against Jews, but you are never to be seen on Islamic forums and criticizing them for their clearly bigoted hate speech and incitement to violence in the name of their Allah and his donkey Muhammad. Get lost, bigot.

    • Are you married to an Arab? No – so why come here and defend them?
      Clear off and close the door behind you!

  5. Nat: You are not welcome and neither are your opinions. You keep levelling accusations against Israel without providing any proof (Op-ed articles do not count as proof–find the source). Until you can behave like a moderately intelligent adult, see yourself and your propaganda and lies out of this forum.

    • Israel National News, aka Arutz Sheva, is a settler website based in the Beit El settlenent, built in violation of international law in the state of Palestine.

      It was granted a license to broadcast neither by the government of Israel, nor by the government of the state of Palestine.

      • Don’t cry for me, Palestina,

        Keep using the margarina –

        Nat the brat saw some ants

        And promptly shat in his pants.

        Dank u wel

      • What do you mean when you say “settler website?” Is that another one of your antisemitic euphemisms devised to brainwash your readers? Take your bigoted self elsewhere. What does it matter where the website is based? How was the Beit El settlement “built in violation of international law?” Can you provide citations and references? Also, provide proof that Arutz Sheva was not “granted a license to broadcast.” Do you not understand your words hold no weight. Back ’em up or get lost.

        • “Arutz Sheva is an Israeli media network identifying with Religious Zionism. (…) The Israeli government has never granted it a license to broadcast. (…) Based in Beit El, an Israeli settlement in the West Bank, Arutz Sheva is regarded as the voice of the Israeli settlement movement.”

          • What’s your point? Is the “Israeli settlement movement” like a derogatory term or something. And who says it’s the voice of the “Israeli settlement movement?” Is “Religious Zionism” supposed to be like something that’s terribly bad? Do explain how it’s bad, and I’m not looking for your opinion. By the way, ad hominems prove how unintelligent you really are. Now go copy and paste elsewhere.

      • Nat, there was never in history any state called Palestine governed by Palestinians.
        Hamas top dog Fathi Hammad: “Palestinians Are Not From Palestine!”
        MAY 30, 2012

        “FATHI HAMMAD” admits Palestinians are an invented people and are really Arabs from other Arab countries.
        Hamas official reveals where Palestinians came from.
        Hamas Minister of the Interior Fathi Hammad Slams Egypt over Fuel Shortage in Gaza Strip, and Says:
        “Half of the Palestinians Are Egyptians and the Other Half Are Saudis”
        Al-Hekma TV (Egypt) – March 23, 2012

  6. “Al-Rimal neighborhood lies in a busy commercial area where property values are among the highest in the coastal strip, and Many residents expect the government to open the area up to lucrative investments.”
    Imagine this happening anywhere else. People being thrown out of their homes by some greedy investors. Wouldn’t the very type of people who read the Guardian be the most outraged?

    • Double standards! It shows, clearly and unambiguously, the classic, deep, and raw hatred for Jews. They only like us if we are willing to throw our dignity and pride away by keeping quiet about the troubles our brothers and sisters are experiencing overseas. They only like us if we are willing to defame our own nation by tacitly agreeing with their venomous lies. They only like us if we laugh or don’t speak up for ourselves when they make antisemitic jokes. They only like us when we dance in the court like jesters. I for one am no court jester. I will speak up for Israel and deter anyone who would speak ill of my people. I will shame retards like Nat every opportunity I get. It’s our job to stop the socialist agenda from allowing a Islamofascist world to emerge. They are both parasites. They spread and they take over.

  7. Classic CIF report, showing the hypocrisy of Harriet Sherwood again.
    What Harriet Sherwood won’t report: Hamas police beat peaceful female protesters in Gaza
    Nov 13, 2012

    On March 8, the Guardian published “International Women’s Day highlights hurdles obstructing women“, (co-authored by 12 Guardian correspondents, including the paper’s Jerusalem correspondent, Harriet Sherwood), on the subjugation of women around the world.

    Sherwood’s contribution, on the abrogation of women’s rights in the region she covers, didn’t mention female genital mutilation, honor killings , an endemic culture of misogyny, nor the impunity granted to men who physically and sexually abuse their spouses, throughout in Gaza and the PA.

    Harriet Sherwood not only ignored the egregious violation of womens’ rights in the Palestinian territories, but, instead, devoted 118 words to the alleged injustice meted out to a female Palestinian terrorist affiliated with Islamic Jihad held in an Israeli jail named Hana Shalabi.

    So, it’s not surprising that neither Sherwood, nor any of her Guardian colleagues, have reported the following about an incident in Gaza on Nov. 6:

    Hamas police violently attacked a group of women who were peacefully protesting on Tuesday in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza. The women were calling for Palestinian reconciliation and sent a request to protest to Hamas which was ignored. Using sticks and batons, Hamas police attacked the women and dispersed the protest.

  8. If Harriet Sherwood isn’t bothered by Hamas lynching supposed informers and dragging their bodies through the streets of Gaza behind a motorcycle. As it turned out the people Hamas murdered were just rivals of Hamas.
    Then i don’t expect Harriet to be upset at Hamas demolishing 75 homes without a permit.
    Hamas victim dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by motorcycle was no collaborator, widow says
    It was a sight that shocked the world — the corpse of Ribhi Badawi being dragged through the streets of Gaza City Tuesday by a motorcycle as Hamas gunmen fired into the air.
    Comments (26)
    Matthew Kalman
    NOVEMBER 26, 2012

    • The fact that your post is not at 5 stars shows the hypocrisy of these left-wing Nazis. It’s too disgusting and overt for me to want to dissect here. Keep on spreading the truth.