In an early Wednesday morning, at 5.30 a.m., residents of Khirbet Umm al-Kheir were woken by the noise of bulldozers. The children were terrified, their parents alerted. Sheik Sulaiman Hathaleen, an elder of Umm al-Kheir, ran out of his makeshift tin house and stood in front of a bulldozer to stop it from destroying his home.
This was not the first time that he confronted bulldozers, however. The village of Umm al-Kheir has been demolished at least eight times over. Each time the Sheik has stood in front of the bulldozer, military forces pull him aside. There were times when they beat him as a warning, but the old Sheik keeps getting on their way.
"They say Israel is a democracy. But what kind of democracy sends soldiers to people's homes at five in the morning, when the kids are still sleeping?", he added. On that day, April 9, 2016, seven houses in Khirbet Umm al-Kheir were demolished, leaving 35 residents homeless.
After the 1993 Oslo Accords, the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) were fractured into Area A, Area B, and Area C. Area C encompasses approximately 60 percent of the West Bank, where Israel exercises full civil and military authority. There are about 300,000 Palestinians living in Area C. The village of Umm al-Kheir falls in Area C, surrounded by an Israeli settlement of Karmel and Israel's declared closed military zones in the southeastern side.
Hebron, April 2016