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The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) launched its ninth Summer Rebuilding Camp on July 11th, 2011. More than 30 volunteers from Europe and North America joined Palestinians and Israelis in rebuilding a Palestinian family home demolished by Israel in the West Bank town of Anata.


The construction of the Abu Omar family home, long waited since the 2005 demolition by Israel, was completed on Sunday, July 24th. The keys to the home were handed over to the family in a celebratory dedication ceremony marking the end of a two week rebuild. Volunteers were joined by members of the larger Anata community, civil society activists and Palestinian Authority high ranking officials, as family members began life in their rebuilt home.

 

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Rebuilding Camp participants looked back at what was accomplished and share their accounts of rebuilding a family home, and exploring the Occupation form within.

 

Bruno recalls: “I can say our group started the rebuilding with exactly the right attitude and spirit. Rebuilding a house, as part of our struggle, from the beginning to the end with these people will be one of those memories that will matter when I’m in my sixties.”



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Teodora, tells the story of a solidifying relationship with the Abu Omar family, whose home we rebuild: “The house’s concrete columns had set successfully and we were ready to begin work on the roof. Some of us helped with putting up the scaffolding, while others were clearing rocks from the grounds that were to become the family’s garden. The work was going successfully and everyone was in a great mood due to the experience of rebuilding a home together and in solidarity with the family who had waited for over 6 y
ears since their home was demolished.”



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“Only the previous day Umm Omar, the mother of the family, had told us how she was frightened that even our effort at building might be stopped by the Civil Administration. Her fear of her home being demolished yet again and in a stage of such infancy was incredibly difficult to witness. We tried to reassure her that we would not allow this to happen and that we will stand by her family shoulder to shoulder in solidarity if any threats were made to the family’s home.” Teodora adds.


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Rachel recalls a day full of building and educating encounters: “We began the day’s activities with a ‘Matrix of Control’ tour, to see real facts on the ground: from the road system which separates Palestinians from Israelis, to the checkpoints and settlements, we were able to learn so much from Jeff. One of the starkest signs of the occupation was the distribution of water – we drove from desert and Palestinian areas where people have to collect water on their roofs, to the settlement of Ma’ale Adummim, which has fountains, plant borders at the roadside and four olympic-sized swimming pools. Hearing that settler’s use 85% of the water is shocking, but seeing this separation actually built into the landscape will stay with me. The afternoon was filled with building, and it was exciting to see the structure really begin to take shape – with good teamwork, the outside walls were started, and the garden cleared and the walls re-filled.” 


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Finally, Rachel reminiscences of another encounter: “We spent the evening with Dana from ‘Breaking the Silence’, a group of ex-soldiers who give and collect testimonies, with the intention of introducing them to the Israeli discourse, and resisting occupation by providing alternative information. We watched a moving film of women telling their experiences serving in the occupied territories, and Dana spoke about her own experiences. There was time for questions, followed by a lively discussion; we are not only witnessing, watching and learning, but also constantly discussing and learning from each other. Another good day of resistance!”

 

“Our work will continue tomorrow, fueled by more delicious mint tea and cardamom coffee prepared by Umm Omar.” Concluded Teodora.  


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