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June 15, 2009

What a Difference Location Makes

When Israeli authorities demolish the homes of Palestinians, it garners attention. Amnesty International issues condemnations and recently even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton weighed in denouncing an Israeli plan to demolish unpermitted homes in East Jerusalem as "unhelpful." Do a Google search on stories and images of home demolitions and page after page of stories and photos appear of demolished Palestinian homes.

But, home demolitions in another Middle Eastern capital received scant attention and no denunciations. A report by the Syrian Reform Party described what happened when Syrian municipal authorities decided to demolish 71 homes in a town outside of Damascus and forcibly remove its occupants:

Washington - June 3, 2009 (RPS News) -- Clashes erupted Monday between the municipality town of government and the civilians populating the Rohaebah town outside Damascus when the municipality issued a decree to demolish 71 homes. The order was issued the same day preparations were made for demolition.

Amid the crying of children and the waling of women being forcefully evacuated from their dwellings, the heavy equipment could not demolish more than two homes. By the third one, civilians succeeded in stopping the operation by attacking the equipment; they also to the Mayor's car and stoned his home.

The concerted civilian effort then started stoning the security forces accompanying the operation who had no choice but to retreat. Reinforcements could not reach the municipality building because roads leading to the entrance of the town were blocked.

It is rare to see an "intifada" in Syria. Such expression is usually met with deadly force. The government has not been able to demolish the dwellings as of today.

The Rohaebah town is known to house mostly Arabs and Turkmen.

Do a google search for stories or photos of home demolitions in Syria. No photos and a handful of items come up.

Posted by SS at June 15, 2009 04:02 PM

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