Susan Templeman MP – spoke out against Israel’s plans to demolition a Bedouin village in the West Bank

photo of Susan Templeman MP
September 17, 2018

This is a village where Bedouins who’ve relocated from their traditional grazing lands have created a very modest home: small shacks; no land for their goats to graze on, so they’re hand feeding; and a school built from recycled tyres, with funding from the international aid community, where their children can have a hope of an education. It is unthinkable that this small community won’t even be allowed to exist, simply so an Israeli settlement can expand. My thoughts are with them and I cannot let this happen in silence.

Full speech

Ms TEMPLEMAN (Macquarie) (10:36): There are reports out of Palestine that dozens of human rights activists—Bedouin, Palestinian and Israeli—are currently camped out at the Bedouin village of Khan al-Amar. I visited this village in the West Bank nearly a year ago as it came under threat of demolition. After months of appeals, the Supreme Court has ruled that the Israeli Defense Forces can legally evacuate the village so demolition can go ahead.

The European Union has warned against these actions. This is a village where Bedouins who’ve relocated from their traditional grazing lands have created a very modest home: small shacks; no land for their goats to graze on, so they’re hand feeding; and a school built from recycled tyres, with funding from the international aid community, where their children can have a hope of an education. It is unthinkable that this small community won’t even be allowed to exist, simply so an Israeli settlement can expand. My thoughts are with them and I cannot let this happen in silence.

Soccer is probably the most popular sport in the Blue Mountains, despite the fact that finding a flat piece of land to play on is a challenge. I was privileged to present prizes in the last few weeks at both Hazelbrook Hawks and the Blue Mountains Club. At Hazelbrook I presented the TLC award, named in honour of the Colbrans who provided St John Ambulance Services to the players for years. This year, the award went to Mary Carr, who’s active TLC benefited the Glenbrook based Blue Mountains Club. Their team had arrived without jerseys—a parents’ nightmare, to forget the laundry bag!—and the game was due to be forfeited. While Hazelbrook, who were right at the top of the ladder, really wanted the points, more than that they wanted to play soccer. So after frantic phone calls and a mad dash, Mary was able to get an extra set of uniforms for the visiting team and the match went on. To her great disappointment the rival team won, but for her act of generosity and sportsmanship she deserves the award I was able to present her with.

At the Glenbrook presentation I was struck by the ongoing resilience of the club in coping with their clearly inadequate Knapsack ground. It’s the dirt car park that is a liability for parents as they try to safely deliver their kids to the grounds. And they need a new clubhouse. In 1979 an old clubhouse was delivered from Leonay Country Club and moved to Knapsack Park. It must now be close to 50 or 60 years old and is not serving the needs of the club. It really is time for safety to come first, and the new car park needs to happen as soon as possible, and a new clubhouse is needed to give this group of volunteers a suitable place to store equipment, to run their canteen and to service one of the biggest soccer clubs that we have in our Blue Mountains.

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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