The home was rebuilt during ICAHD’s tenth annual rebuilding camp that attracted more than thirty internationals that stood side by side with Israelis and Palestinians who refuse to be enemies, demonstrating that there are partners for peace. Within two weeks, the pile of rubble left after the demolition of the house in the middle of night on 23 January earlier this year, was transformed into a fully functioning house with extensive terrace, made possible by nearly one hundred additional volunteers, including international youth, part of summer delegations to Palestine who worked with temperatures soaring over 30 degrees C and with limited water supplies.
“This has been an intensely emotional experience. We’ve rebuilt a home, which is great – but knowing that we’ve rebuilt Beit Arabiya, the symbol of hope to all Palestinians, enabled us to participate in their steadfastness,” added Galen from the UK.
Every year hundreds of Palestinians are forced from their homes, homes built on land they own. Since 1967 Israel has demolished more than 26,000 Palestinian homes in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. ICAHD has rebuilt a total of 186 Palestinian homes illegally demolished by Israel and is determined to see this cruel policy stop. ICAHD Director, Prof. Jeff Halper, calls the rebuilding “an overtly political act of defiance. By rebuilding, we set alternative facts on the ground.” The Shawamreh family applied three times to the Israeli Civil Administration for a building permit and was refused each time, as were 94% of Palestinian permit applications since 1993. Having no other alternative, they proceeded, as have thousands of other Palestinian families, to build their home, in which they lived for five years despite having been issued a demolition order.