Wanton Thievery and Demolitions in Hizma

00:30 May 29 2012 Hizma

By Dylan Collins for Palestine Monitor

Hizma, occupied Palestinian Territories—Around 12:30 AM on Tuesday 29 May 2012 upwards more than of 60 Israeli army soldiers raided the village of Hizma. Included within the greater East Jerusalem municipality, the village lies on the opposite (West Bank) side of Israel’s Apartheid Wall. With jeeps blocking all entrances and exits, the entire village was closed within minutes.

The soldiers then split up into smaller units and went about their night’s task.

The village’s three gas stations suffered the worst. Three gasoline pumps were extirpated and taken from Abdel Salam’s gas station. The soldiers then went around the side of the station and drained the main petrol tank, estimated to have held upwards of $25,000 (USD) worth of fuel.

“Ten families survive off the money from this one gas station alone,” said Abdel Salam, “I really don’t know what will happen to us now.”

Simultaneously, another group of soldiers went to work at the neighboring gas station, uprooting an additional two gas pumps. Muayad Al-Helo, an accountant for the station estimates each pump to have cost upwards of $7,000 (USD). Soldiers also reportedly pilfered a brand new air pump ($1,000), a variety of car supplies such as motor oil and cleaning products ($2,000), as well as all the equipment pertaining to the station’s makeshift car wash stand ($2,500).

Mustafa Al-Khatib’s fuel station, located across the street from the two filling stations mentioned above, was completely destroyed. “They ripped out my seven gas pumps and then drained my two 15,000 Liter tanks,” said Al-Khatib. “They were full! They held about $60,000 dollars worth of gasoline.”

Soldiers additionally looted Al-Khatib’s cafeteria, car wash stand, and car service supplies, collectively price tagged at about $4,000.

“I tried to stop them but they started beating me with their rifle butts,” Al-Khatib added. Left almost unconscious, Al-Khatib was made to wait four hours for an ambulance to be let into the village to transport him to the nearby Ramallah hospital.

As his eight-year-old son Ahmad wandered around the rubble of what was once his father’s place of work, Al-Khatib spoke his thoughts out loud, wondering how he will continue to provide for his family.

“Do you know what Ahmad asked me this morning?,” said Al-Khatib. “He said, ‘Dad, everyday you give me money to buy lunch with at school. Where will you get my lunch money from now?’”

In addition to the three gas stations, Israeli soldiers demolished a small restaurant and fruit stand as well as pilfering an estimated $10,000 worth of auto supplies (including a mechanic lift) from Khaled Al-Nafah’s ‘Peace Garage.’

The Israeli army never presented any official orders or stated reasons for the demolitions and expropriations, known anywhere else by the term of “thievery.”

The nighttime raid was wrapped up around 4:30 AM.
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