YOUNG PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD
REBUILD BEIT ARABIYA FOR THE 6TH TIME
The sixth rebuilding of Beit Arabiya was celebrated on 5th July. In just two and half days, 85 young people from around the world, brought to the site by Sabeel, a Palestinian Christian liberation theology organization, rebuilt the home of Arabiya and Salim Shawamreh and their family. Supported by the Swedish development agency Diakonia, they joined with ICAHD to complete the 187th Palestinian home that ICAHD has rebuilt as a political act of resistance to the Israeli Occupation. You can watch a movie here
Next month during ICAHD’s annual rebuilding camp for internationals, activists will complete the site as a memorial of the 28,000 homes demolished (so far), including a rock garden (whose “rocks” will be pieces of demolished Palestinian homes) and meeting places for groups.
If you would like to support this key piece of ICAHD’s work on the ground, now is the perfect time to give. Your donation will go towards the rebuilding costs and the preparation of educational resources for the new centre. Donations can be made to ICAHD via the Paypal button our website or by cheque. Please inform us that your donation is for this purpose.
ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF ICAHD GERMANY
In November 2012 a couple from Bremen, Germany participated in one of our extended study tours to Israel and Palestine and returned home deeply impressed and uneasy. Before the tour they thought they were well-informed politically, however having witnessed the situation on the ground, met the locals from both sides of the divide and heard analysis about the political situation, they found that by the end of the tour their political world view with respect to the Middle East changed quite a bit and they decided that wanted to pursue further involvement with this subject.
Claus Walischewski and Doris Flack are both retired teachers and have time on their hands so after attending the ICAHD UK conference in March and engaging in discussions with Jeff and Linda they decided to take their first steps in setting up an ICAHD support group in Germany. It was announced at a conference about Palestine in Stuttgart in May and since then they have begun networking with others in Germany. The ICAHD Germany website has now gone live and on it will be found many articles translated into German from ICAHD’s Jerusalem website and Amos Gwirtz’ “Don’t Say You Didn’t Know” alerts about demolitions and evictions.
The overall aims of the ICAHD Germany support group are to:
- Network to spread information on what is happing in the Occupied Palestine Territory allowing more information that does not, or only in an incomplete or distorted way, appear in the German media.
- Promote ICAHD’s re-building camps for internationals
- Advertise the extended study tours
- Organize talks and meetings to present ICAHD’s information and analysis
- Provide financial support for ICAHD (to begin with donations will be channelled via ICAHD UK for ICAHD Israel)
Claus and Doris have already had several speaking engagements and are keen to do more talks. They would like to meet other Germans who support ICAHD and to link with organizations with similar aims and objectives based on non-violence, human rights, ending the occupation and a just peace in Palestine/Israel. To visit the new website go to www.icahd.de and they can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com.
ICAHD ACTIVITY IN EUROPE
ICAHD support groups are developing their work across Europe and a recent development has been joining the European Coordinating Committee on Palestine (ECCP), a network of European organizations and solidarity movements dedicated to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom and justice.
Lea Pakkanen and Linda Ramsden represented ICAHD Finland and ICAHD UK respectively at the May ECCP meeting in Brussels. Lea presented information about Finland’s involvement with Israel in the arms trade. She explained that ICAHD Finland’s campaign has been featured in numerous Finnish mainstream media outlets and debated in a plenary session in the Finnish parliament. Lea joined the ICAHD Finnish Board after participating in the ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Camp and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel.
As well as providing a brief overview of ICAHD UK’s work, Linda explained that as the UK is already involved in lobbying at the EU and the UN, it would be advantageous to be part of ECCP to share information and lobbying initiatives with other European organisations as we all seek to strengthen our campaigns and get the EU to remain true to its commitment to human rights, especially in its relationship to Israel.
Since the meeting both ICAHD Finland and ICAHD UK signed a letter in support of French activists who face legal charges for demonstrating against Israel’s violations of international law.
ANOTHER ATTACK ON THE JABER FAMILY BY ISRAELI SETTLERS
ICAHD is launching a campaign to help protect the Atta Jaber family following a series of threats and attacks that began on 6 June. Since that date either the Israeli civil administration or aggressive settlers from Givat Harsina, a suburb of the large Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron have invaded their property in al-Baqaa on an almost weekly basis. The latest appearance was the fifth and happened on Friday, 12th July, when the settlers – including Malaci Levinger, the mayor of Kiryat Arba – uprooted Atta’s vegetables and replaced his with theirs. The Jaber family has experienced two house demolitions and many acts of terror as the settlers attempt to confiscate the last 16 of their original 100 acres and drive them from land that has been in their family for over 600 years.
ICAHD’s association with the Jaber family began in 1998 when the Jaber home was demolished by the Israeli authorities for the first time for lack of building permit, which Israel’s Civil Administration, its military government, refuses to issue to Palestinians. The house was rebuilt with help from ICAHD and CPT (Christian Peacemaker Teams), but was demolished a second time the next month. In that violent demolition Atta was severely injured
and arrested. Having nowhere else to go, Atta insisted on rebuilding, and their home still stands but then in 2002 the home of Atta’s brother, Jawdi, was demolished.
The family has suffered from many acts of terrorism from the extreme religious settlers of Kiryat Arba which is built on Jaber family land. Over the years Jeff Halper and others from ICAHD have participated acts of non-violent resistance as they have faced Israeli bulldozers on the site – see the movie below
ICAHD has helped to highlight the family’s story and has brought many delegations to meet the Jaber family, especially during the extended study tours and on field trips as part of its annual rebuilding camps.
More information can be found on our website and Facebook page where several photos are also posted. It will be updated during the coming days as our campaign develops.
KNESSET INTENDS TO LEGALISE
FORCED BEDOUIN DISPLACEMENT IN THE NEGEV
Amos Gwirtz, former ICAHD Chair, is spearheading our focus on the threat of displacement faced by Bedouins in the Negev and his articles can be found on our website. He writes, “The Israeli government is expecting the Knesset (parliament) to pass a law regulating the resettlement of Bedouins in the Negev, by which tens of thousands of Bedouins will be expelled from their homes, villages and lands, and concentrated in several more townships to be founded at sites of villages recognized for this purpose. Please appeal to the Israeli ambassador in your countries, requiring him to act against this new law. Please appeal as well to your own Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking to apply pressure on the Israeli government and prevent this draconian law from being legislated.”
Amos as well as Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Director, Rabbis for Human Rights, former member of ICAHD’s board, are mobilizing Israelis to resist the displacement but international support is also vital to stop this action that would destroy the lives of at least 40,000 Israeli Bedouin citizens as they are relocated to poverty stricken outposts in order to establish more communities for Jewish Israelis in the Negev.
Sign the Avaaz petition here to stop forced displacement of the Bedouins from the Negev:
EXTENDED STUDY TOURS
“I thought I knew a lot about the conflict, but the tour changed some of my views quite a bit. If you care for peace and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis this tour is an absolute must to deepen your understanding.”
— C. Walischewski, Bremen, Germany (just one of the hundreds of recommendations that we have received from participants in our study tours.
Two tours are offered for November 2013 which go beyond the traditional tourist sites as the political realities that affect Palestinians and Israelis are explored. Participants witness the situation on both sides of the divide and travel to different geographical areas. Unique opportunities are provided to meet ICAHD staff, and other key leaders and organisations to gain first-hand, in-depth knowledge and some of the latest analysis. Participants also sit with local people and hear their stories.
These tours are designed for internationals and there is the choice of joining either a seven-day tour that provides a general overview of some of the main issues or a longer eleven-day tour which goes into more depth and has additional visits, including to the Galilee. A wide range of subjects are covered including house demolitions, displacement, education under occupation, refugees, water, women’s issues and more.
Price: £665 for seven days and £880 for eleven days.
The fee per person includes the full tour programme and staying at good three star hotels at half board (bed, breakfast and evening meal), sharing a twin-bedded room with ensuite facilities, tour leader, guides and tips inclusive. Not included are flights, lunches and travel insurance. The tours are facilitated by ICAHD UK and for more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joyce Mishaan has produced a moving 8-minute film on home demolitions, focusing on ICAHD’s 2012 rebuilding of Beit Arabia, in which Arabia, for the first time on film, discusses what the demolition of her home meant to her and her family. Joyce, who is an independent director, media artist and a Master’s candidate at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, participated in the 2012 rebuilding camp. Her short film, available below is idea for presentations in schools or in gatherings where the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is discussed. We also encourage you all to upload it onto your facebook pages and websites, and send it to those who think should see it.
For those of you who know Italian, Il Manifesto, the influential newspaper of the left in Italy, just published in its week-end cultural supplement Alias an extensive story on ICAHD’s work, thanks to Beatrice Cassina, our person in Milan.
And in case you missed it, you can read Jeff’s piece on the Kerry initiative, why governments do not resolve conflicts and the necessity of civil society to pressure them to do the right thing, published in Mondoweiss
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
Write to your political representatives in protest of the threat to the Bedouins in the Negev (racial discrimination against citizens of Israel) and the Atta Jaber family.
Spread the word thr
ough your facebook pages and other social media.
Donate to ICAHD to help it continue to resist Israel’s demolition and displacement policies.
Join ICAHD UK’s sponsored walk in October to help us raise core funding for our work in the UK. Joining the walk will be Frank Barat, one of the coordinators of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine. For more information and to reserve your place go here
Participate in one of the extended study tours in November to connect with ICAHD on the ground and meet with people such as Atta Jaber.
Till the rebuilding camp!