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.

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